Tudor & Stuart England
The Voices of Morebath
1. In Morebath, what was a store? For what purposes were stores used? Stores in Morebath were places that laymen and laywomen helped manage various funds that were used for church upkeep and adornment along with other needs of the parish. Since these stores were given funds, annual accounts of income and expenditure were read out loud for each store. These accounts were read aloud on Sunday nearest All Saints but because there were so many different stores they were read throughout different times of the year. There were several stores in Morebath and each served a different purpose. The stores for Sidewell, Jesus and the Alms Light were simply lamp funds. Their income came from the sale of wool that given for the act of piety. The Maiden store contained girls who were unmarried and around the age of 12. The store itself didn’t have any sheep so the income came from an annual gathering which were acts of devotion, and they also accepted goodwill donations. Another store was known as the Young Men’s store, which had bachelors that were communicant age, generally around 14 or older. This store played a major role in both the parish finances and social life of Morebath. Most of the stores income came from the ‘grooming of ale’ it was possibly an event for the youth and the unestablished people of the parish. The most important store in the parish was ‘Our Lady’. Like all the other stores it maintained a light but for this particular store it represented the image of the virgin. Most of the income came from the sheep, the sheep itself were distributed among the parishioners and they were responsible for the care and shearing of the sheep. Every single profit went directly to the church but sometimes people were allowed to purchase a sheep at a less expensive price. When the accounts for the store were read at the end of the year, all the details and whereabouts of each sheep was...