Current Students

Andrew Poxon

My research explores the congregational singing of metrical psalms in the parish churches of England from 1560 to 1700. One of the most interesting developments during the Reformation was the desire of ordinary parishioners to sing metrical psalms as an integral part of the worship service. By exploring both the text and tunes of the English Metrical Psalter (and the relationship between the two), I will argue that this neglected book was a vital means of communicating Protestant theology to the English population, and in creating an English Protestant society. The Sternhold and Hopkins Whole Booke of Psalmes was probably published more often than any other work in the early modern period, and was used in parish worship services, particularly from the reign of Elizabeth I until the end of the seventeenth century. I argue that the relationship between melodies and words is vital if we are to assess how Protestantism spread in England. In addition, I will argue that the tunes and the texts must both be studied alongside the locations of psalm-singing to understand how the Psalter communicated theology to the population, and how it became popular culture as people sang psalms during work and in their homes.

Supervisory Team: Prof. Alec Ryrie, Theology and Religion (Durham), Prof. Bennett Zon, Music (Durham).

Start Date: October 2018