In 1584, Thomas Bentley, a wealthy gentleman and lawyer from the parish of St. Andrew Holborn, compiled his ‘Monumentes of Antiquities’, a manuscript of selected extracts “worthy memory” drawn from the churchwardens’ accounts and other records of St. Andrew Holborn from the reign of Henry VI to 1584. This study argues that that Bentley wrote a chronicle of the parish’s history for a variety of reasons. Chief among them was the desire to preserve the past for posterity, to cultivate piety in the community, to guide future churchwardens in their responsibilities, and to enforce conformity to the Elizabethan settlement in the parish. The ideals attached to Bentley’s social status as a gentleman, his occupation as a lawyer, and his conformist faith defined how he lived and what he determined was important to record in his manuscript. His identity shaped how he perceived and remembered the past.
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Thesis advisor: Craig, John
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