The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Kelly, H. Ansgar. "Sacraments, Sacramentals, and Lay Piety in Chaucer's England." 28 (1993): 5-22.
All members of the laity were required to attend Matins, Lauds, and Mass on Sundays and to abstain from working on such holydays. Women were required to attend additional holydays. Absolon was the holy water clerk for his parish; Jankyn was the parish clerk. Both offices required that the clerk be unmarried or only married once and that the clerk continue to wear his surplice and tonsure. Parish clerks were also responsible for the education of the laity, though most often they educated the boys. Parishioners were required to take Communion once a year, but the devout, like Margery Kempe, might take Communion up to once a week. Holy water was considered only a sacramental, not capable of removing venial sins. Relics were rarely owned by the laity. Most often they were kept in churches so that the laity could venerate them.