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    Death, commemoration and patronage in fourteenth-century Oxfordshire: the chantry chapels at Cogges, Witney and Ducklington

    Lowe, Nicola Anne (2021) Death, commemoration and patronage in fourteenth-century Oxfordshire: the chantry chapels at Cogges, Witney and Ducklington. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    N Lowe Final Submission V. 1 Text 01.03.20.pdf - Full Version

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    Abstract

    This inquiry concerns a cluster of sculpturally-embellished chantry chapels in Oxfordshire at the neighbouring parish churches of Cogges, Witney and Ducklington. Each is distinguished by a fine funerary monument and other, high-quality carvings—sacred and profane—in the Decorated style. The fabric is much battered and the monuments no longer identify those they commemorate but they testify nonetheless to imaginative, even unique image programmes, expressing patronal concerns in highly individual ways. Furthermore, the ‘tomb-scape’ in each case includes proximity to a medieval charnel crypt, where the bones of the parish dead were cared for until Judgement Day, an overlooked feature of commemoration at parish church level. The phenomenon of the chantry (at its height between 1250 and 1350) coincides with the ornate Decorated period in English ecclesiastical architecture. Both have been explored in terms of aesthetic, social and religious expression. However, gentry foundations in rural parish churches remain under-researched. The study operates in this gap, taking up the challenge of studying incomplete, undocumented material and demonstrating the value of researching parish-level art. The methodology is holistic and multi-disciplinary, applying art-historical approaches that foreground the surviving fabric, combined with archival research and reference to recent trends in archaeology and social history. The study sites are shown to demonstrate different models of patronage: male, female, individual, familial and corporate. They reveal the influence of devotional books and demonstrate a sophisticated relationship with liturgy as well as a concern for social display. Innovative Decorated techniques (such as combining figure sculpture with window tracery) usually associated with great churches are employed to good effect, employing light, location and sightlines to amplify meaning, serving the interests of both patron and parish in tailor-made ways. The findings contribute to our understanding of Decorated-era chantry provision in Oxfordshire in particular, and to the field of commemoration studies more generally.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: Two Volumes: Volume One: Text, Volume Two: Images
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 10:35
    Last Modified: 06 Oct 2021 06:52
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/46176

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