Every church has a dedication - but what is the significance of the chosen dedication, what did it mean to the local people when the church was built? Dr Jones, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford, shows how much of the history of Britain's homesteads, villages, towns and regions is bound up in the identities of the patron saints chosen for churches, chapels, altars, festivals, fairs, and features of the landscape.
We learn that even the most popular cults, beginning with devotion to Mary, have geographical patterns, which can only be explained as the result of deliberate choices, often made by local people. Case studies show how the choice of patrons helped individuals and communities to make sense of themselves, their surroundings and the circling seasons of the agrarian year.
From the purpose and potency of dedications, and how best to study them, the focus moves on to the calendar, religious conversion, places of worship, healing and pilgrimage and to sacred landscapes.
This original and engagingly written book is aimed at anyone interested in the history of their town or village.