Book Series Sermo, vol. 5

Late Medieval Popular Preaching in Britain and Ireland

Texts, Studies, and Interpretations

Alan John Fletcher

  • Pages: 339 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:3 b/w, 5 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English, Latin, Middle English
  • Publication Year:2010

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52391-0
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55894-3
  • E-book
  • Available

This study of late-medieval popular preaching explores the diverse forms of preaching used by each of the major wings of the late-medieval orthodox Church.


"This book is a welcome addition to the field of sermon studies and is testimony to Fletcher's own expertise, deep knowledge and ability to disseminate information. The strengths of his work lie in his choice of sermons and his insightful examination of them."    (Kathryn Smithies, in Parergon 27.2, 2010, p. 224)

"The author's extensive knowledge of the critical literature is impressive, and his own contribution to it is enlightening. (...) This book will find a welcome place in the library of all specialists of the medieval sermon, as well as those interested in social history, English-Irish relations in the Middle Ages, codicology, and the Middle English lyric." (L. Carruthers, in: Sehepunkte, Ausgabe 12 (2012), Nr. 4,

"This book is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on late-medieval preaching. Fletcher provides an anthology of critically edited sermon texts along with interpretive essays discussing significant features of each exemplar, as well as several broader essays." (Anne T. Thayer, in Speculum, vol. 86 (4), 2011, p. 1068)


Sermons and preaching played a key role in forming the religious mentality and outlook of many late medieval men and women. Yet the practice of preaching depended on many variables: the nature and disposition of the audience, the competence of the preacher, and even the stylistic variations that different Orders developed to distinguish their preachers from others. This study and anthology of late medieval popular preaching intended for the laity explores aspects of this diversity by presenting examples of sermons from each of the major wings of the late medieval orthodox Church: the friars, the regulars, the canons regular, the secular canons, and the seculars. It also reveals some of the ways in which this diversity in forms of preaching finds its correlate in the codicological diversity that existed between sermon manuscripts themselves. Late Medieval Popular Preaching in Britain and Ireland illustrates something of the formidable and culturally constitutive force of preaching, and also examines ways in which it impinged on the production of vernacular literature, ultimately revealing the widespread influence of sermon discourse on contingent forms of cultural production and activity. 



 List of Illustrations


 Note to Reader

 List of Abbreviations

 Chapter 1: Introduction

 Chapter 2: Sermon Manuscripts from Late Medieval Britain and Ireland: A Codicological Typology

 Chapter 3: The Friars: An Anonymous Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent

 Chapter 4: The Regulars: A Sermon of Hugh Legat for the Third Sunday in Lent

 Chapter 5: The Regular Canons: Two Anonymous Sermons for Lent and for Easter

 Chapter 6: The Secular Canons: A Sermon of Thomas Cyrcetur for Good Friday

 Chapter 7: The Seculars: Four Sermon Variations on a Theme Attributed to Robert Holcot

 Chapter 8: Preaching in Late Medieval Ireland: The English and the Latin Traditions

 Chapter 9: Literature and Pulpit: The Lyric in the Sermon

 Chapter 10: ‘Good Men and Women’


 Index of Persons and Places