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The Bishop and the beggar

Posted in Architecture, History, Philanthropy, Religion on Thursday, 31 March 2011

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A Bishop and a beggar in a Norman Church, by Peter Jackson

During the Middle Ages the growth of prosperity was widespread both in England and throughout Europe, with each nation state engaging in trade when not at war. For the English wool was a major source of revenue. The church also prospered by making considerable financial demands on the nobles and people, and in most countries it was by far the richest institution. Needless to say, beneath the prosperous mercantile class and the privileged prelates and churchmen, lay the undeserving poor, and many of them took to begging as their only means of survival. Beggars were often rebuked and even shunned among their own class, and there is still embarrassment and distaste where street beggars are concerned in modern times, nearly a thousand years after the Norman conquest.

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