Cathedral shrines of medieval England by Ben Nilson

By Ben Nilson

Just about all of the good medieval shrines disappeared on the Reformation, but for a number of centuries they have been the outward and visual signal of the religious advantages believed to move from proximity to the saint's physique, and an immense witness to the religious lifetime of the center a while. They have been the point of interest of prayer and pilgrimage, but additionally a severe fiscal think about the lifetime of the church. dedicated to the cathedral shrines of the center a long time, this ebook attracts on surviving cathedral files to explain their nature and improvement in England from round 1066 to 1540, exhibiting how the shrine itself - the monument enclosing the saint's physique - turned increasingly more difficult. the writer discusses the connections among the chapel round the shrine - often within the such a lot sacred and significant sector of the church, at the back of the excessive altar - and alterations in church structure. ultimately he seems on the cathedral clergy who equipped and controlled the shrines, the pilgrims who visited them, and the fluctuating fortunes of the cathedrals which housed them.

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45 Although tombs in general gradually became higher and more elaborate during the middle ages, until they rivalled and in some cases exceeded shrines in magnificence of structure, the body remained, in almost all cases, buried beneath the level of the floor. The bulk of a tomb monument was therefore a superstructure, while a shrine monument was a base for a reliquary chest. The process of elevation (the raising of a body into a shrine without changing its horizontal location) may originally have been separate from translation proper.

They have not been so examined before, and require careful consideration, both as to their general nature and trustworthiness. Each cathedral's records are then discussed in turn. Chapter 7 is involved with analysing the results of this survey. In particular, it puts forward a model of the rise and fall of shrine income over the centuries, along with certain theories to explain the fluctuations revealed. The last chapter also examines the importance of the offerings to the finances of a cathedral, weighing the profit and loss, and concludes that (despite some previous views to the contrary) shrines were very profitable for almost all of their history.

198 (1975), pp. 110, for an interesting historiographic survey. His Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England (London, 1977) is a standard reference work for this subject, as is J. Sumption's Pilgrimage: An Image of Medieval Religion (London, 1975). , Aldershot, 1987) is a valuable work on miracles and their perception. 5 Especially useful has been R. Willis's The Architectural History of Canterbury (London, 1845). For J. Crook's works see especially 'St Swithun of Winchester', in Winchester Cathedral; Nine Hundred Years, 10931993 (Chichester, 1993), pp.

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