Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Medieval Chantry in England

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Medieval Chantry in England

Article excerpt

The Medieval Chantry in England. Edited by Julian M. Luxford and John McNeill. (Leeds, UK: Maney Publishing and the British Archaeological Association. Distrib. David Brown Book Company, Oakville, CT. 2012. Pp. x, 313. $88.00. ISBN 978-1-907975-16-5.)

The chantry was a foundation and endowment of a Mass by one or more benefactors, to be celebrated at an altar, for the souls of the founders and other specified persons.The religious basis for the foundation of a chantry concerned medieval beliefs in the afterlife, specifically the idea of purgatory, which by the late-medieval period had come to dominate both the religious beliefs of medieval society and its artistic and architectural representations. The study of chantries and chantry chapels has much to offer the student of medieval history and religion, and overall this volume has much to contribute here. Eleven essays are presented in this volume and lead the reader through a wide spectrum of monuments, foundations, and patterns of patronage. Individual papers include a consideration of the earliest evidence for chantry foundation, the origins of stone-cage chapels, royal patronage and commemorative architecture, the role and impact of chantry foundation in the late-medieval parish, and the provision of music and textiles. A series of papers focuses on specific and particularly impressive monuments and includes those founded for William and Abbot Islip's monument at Westminster Abbey. The book concludes with an important reassessment of the eventual dissolution and suppression of chantries in the mid-sixteenth century, and the wider implications for both church and society.

Overall, this well-illustrated book offers a scholarly and fresh approach to the historical and architectural study of medieval chantries. …

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