St. George's Chapel Windsor in the Fourteenth Century

Article excerpt

St. George's Chapel Windsor in the Fourteenth Century. Edited by Nigel Saul. (Rochester, New York: The Boydell Press. 2005. Pp. xviii, 241. $90.00.)

Edward III's foundations at Windsor (the chivalric Order of the Garter and associated coEege of secular canons) centered on St. George's Chapel, in the lower ward of Windsor castle. St. George's Chapel Windsor in the Fourteenth Century seeks to demonstrate Edward's motivation for these extraordinary foundations, and their impact.

This book is, in fact, one of several recently published on St. George's. In 2001 St. George's Chapel in the Late Middle Ages edited by Richmond and Scarff, was published, based on a conference of the same name. Following that the British Archaeological Association published the proceedings of its Windsor-based conference. In the same year a further conference took place, and from this the latest offering has emerged. Is there room, one might ask, for a further substantial volume? The series of eleven fascinating and highly informative papers in this book confirms that there is. The first three papers focus on Edward III; they are followed by five on the College and three on architecture and building.

The first three papers focus on the Order of the Garter; topics include the relationship of Edward's Order to his political maneuverings, the construction of a public image of monarchy, and iconography. A brief but fascinating contribution by D.A. L. Morgan subtitled "How God became an Englishman revisited" covers the rise in status of St. George and the Blessed Virgin Mary under the Plantagenets and its association with a sense of nationalism.

A more substantive contribution is made by Clive Burgess in his excellent and important account of collegiate foundations. Following this is A. K. B. Evans on litigation, a fascinating story of an obstinate vicar-highly revealing about legal cases in the late Middle Ages. It follows the editor's own contribution on the canons of the collegiate foundation, a clear and concise account of their careers.These papers tell us much about the personalities and people involved in the institution, additionally identifying what was exceptional or otherwise at St. …


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