Indeed the profit-driven nature of transactions at festive events such as church-ales was a point of contention in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Stubbes essentially was right: his railing against the extortion at church-ales, while polemical, accurately represented questionable practices in some parishes.
In her extensive work on church-ales, Judith Bennett has shown that commerce and charity at festivities, with their attendant heavy drinking in crowded, convivial settings, changed the nature of the reciprocity inherent in church-ales.
24) Bride-ales, church-ales, help-ales, and the numerous other charity ales of medieval and early modern England rightly direct our attention away from the charitable provisions of the rich and towards the charitable institutions of ordinary people.
Piers's letter describes all sorts of charity ales; at this point, he was specifically discussing church-ales.