medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Jon Cannon wrote:
> I agree with you about the Willis and Hearn paper - it has many, er,
> lacunae, in which are a few nuggets (eg the idea of Augustinian
> communities being linked to 'shoulder' Lady Chapels on the Walsingham
> model is intriguing with reference to the Bristol Elder Lady Chapel
> but seems to me to fall down as a generalization) - and it also
> includes the reference I mentioned concerning the whole community
> attending Lady Mass at Salisbury.
> Oddly enough I was going to post this this week, as promised. Hearn
> and Willis give a quote whose Latin does not seem to me to be as
> unequivocal about all-community attendance as their English
> statement. But that is because my Latin is quite frankly appalling.
> Any comments?: 'in parte orientali in honorem sanctae et individuae
> trinitatis et omniem sanctorum , super quo de cetero cantabitur misa
> de beata virgine singulis diebus' - the Register of st Osmund ed W H
> Rich Jones, Rolls Series lxxviii 1883-4 ii 38, quoted here on p 45.
If I was going to be charitable to them, I would suggest that Hearn & Willis
did not intend us to assume that their statement about the whole chapter
attending the daily Ladymass was to be inferred from their reference -
rather that it was perhaps something that 'everyone knows'. As to what
meaning *we* should take from that quotation, I would be inclined to say
that we need rather more context. My Latin isn't particularly good, but a
dictionary suggests that "de cetero" can mean 'finally'. I am puzzled by
"super" (over, above? Perhaps it just means over the altar?) - but my
dictionary suggests that it can mean 'moreover', although perhaps not
necessarily in this case.
> On this theme, the number of stalls at Henry VII's [Lady] Chapel at
> Westminster Abbey, when put together with known practice at the
> community, has been used to suggest that only half a dozen monks and
> the professional choir were present for the daily Marian offices
> there - but that the whole community did indeed attend for Principal
> Feasts of the Virgin celebrated there. Such a model would work in
> many places, though this is a reasonable guess for just one place.
It would perhaps be more useful if we knew the layout of Henry III's Lady
Chapel (I am excited by Hearn & Willis's suggestion that it was Henry III
himself who popularised Marian devotions of this type). I would be very
surprised if principal Feasts of the Virgin were celebrated anywhere other
than at the High Altar. (With perhaps a procession to the Lady Chapel altar
before First Vespers of a Marian feast.) But the fact remains that the High
Altar at Salisbury was dedicated to the Virgin, so the principal feasts
would be celebrated at that location in any event.
> I'm interested in this question because on 'theme' I will be proposing
> is that Lady Chapels can have a corporate dimension, embodying the
> community as a whole seeking the Virgin's protection.
That must be true in some sense - the problem is working out what the
practical consequences were.
> The question of the origin of lady chapels vis a vis liturgy - indeed
> the origin of the axial lady chapel per se - has been absorbing much
> of my time. John's suggestion that the chapels stimulated the office,
> rather than vice versa, seems to me to be taking things too far: but I
> take from it a very valued point [for which thanks], that the
> relationship may have been symbiotic: both liturgical practice and
> architecture developed and proliferated very rapidly and very possibly
> stimulated each other.
Well, I would see the Lady Chapels as connected with the development of
[square-ended] retrochoirs at around the same time - and we don't really
know the reason for them. But axial chapels pre-date this period. The
cathedral at Old Sarum had a prominent axial chapel. And there is the
remarkable instance of Chichester where the [presumed] Lady Chapel pre-dated
the retrochoir, but was retained when the fire-damaged main apse was
replaced by the square-ended retrochoir. But the fact remains that the
axial chapel at New Sarum was designed and dedicated to the Holy Trinity
(and All Saints), before the institution of the daily Ladymass there - or
anywhere else, as far as we know.
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