Inward Purity and Outward Splendour: Death and Remembrance in the Deanery of Dunwich, Suffolk, 1370-1547

Inward Purity and Outward Splendour: Death and Remembrance in the Deanery of Dunwich, Suffolk, 1370-1547

Inward Purity and Outward Splendour: Death and Remembrance in the Deanery of Dunwich, Suffolk, 1370-1547

Inward Purity and Outward Splendour: Death and Remembrance in the Deanery of Dunwich, Suffolk, 1370-1547

Synopsis

"Reads like a medieval detective story. A splendid book... should be treated as a companion volume to The Stripping of the Altars."
-JULIAN LITTEN, CHURCH TIMES

In the late medieval churches of the former deanery of Dunwich there are many features which were provided by testamentary gifts; this study of three thousand wills from fifty-two Suffolk parishes, written between 1370 and 1547, records such material and spiritual bequests. Many purchased prayer (the prayers of the poor being particularly sought), vital for the swift passage of the soul through Purgatory; other testators left instructions for the acquisition of liturgical books, church plate and embroidered vestments. Gifts and outright donations also provided stained glass, seven-sacrament fonts and rood-screens which have survived. The wills give no hint of the destruction that was to come - a medieval chancel with vacant niches and whitewashed walls says more than the wills are prepared to tell - but the pennies and shillings which had helped towards building expenses in this coastal district of East Anglia produced at least two of the finest parish churches in the country within a few decades of the Reformation. The late JUDITH MIDDLETON-STEWART was a tutor for the Board of Continuing Education for the universities of Cambridge and East Anglia.

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