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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  October 2007

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION October 2007

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Subject:

Re: Archaeologists and the Liturgy

From:

John Briggs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 17 Oct 2007 16:30:32 +0100

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Jon Cannon wrote:
> While tending more to the natural enthusiast than the natural
> sceptic, I agree with John's caution about the Remigius link. I too
> cannot see a connection with the Decreta Lanfranci;

The Decreta Lanfranci does specify a bell tolling until the moment that the 
monk's body is placed in the grave - when the candles are also instantly 
extinguished.  But there is no way of telling whether that is an innovation. 
No mention of St Michael - so I have no idea where *that* came from.

> more to the point - and this is as ever from memory - I don't believe we 
> have any firm liturgical evidence for Lincoln before the c13.

It's worse than that - we have no clear liturgical evidence for Lincoln at 
*any* period!  Lincoln cathedral had statutes early on, and these were 
adopted by some Scottish dioceses which went on to adopt the Sarum Use!  We 
still don't know for sure that the Use of Lincoln ever existed, or how 
widely it was used.

> It seems to me the apparent coincidence with archdeaconries is in itself 
> the strongest evidence that some kind of episcopal, or episcopally-related 
> authority may be involved; especially as these were created in the late 
> c11 by Remigius himself, at a time when the bishop's authority beyond 
> Lincolnshire in this vast diocese may well have not run very deep (ie 
> archdeaconries elsehwere in the diocese need not show the same evidence).

Maybe.  But as it was Remigius himself who removed his seat from 
Dorchester-on-Thames to Lincoln, I would suggest that the problem was 
actually the opposite - that Lincolnshire was too independent, and that he 
wished to impose his authority upon it.  There is some suggestion that it 
was the former diocese of Lindsey, so it may always have had a distinct 
liturgy.  Even those who believe in the Use of Lincoln concede that it was 
probably not adopted outside Lincolnshire - those other areas certainly seem 
to have adopted the Use of Sarum by the late middle ages.

> Also, Lincoln cathedral itself provides some ballast
> for connecting architectural form and liturgy at this time: it seems
> to me that the case for Remigius' remarkable 5-arched west front
> being driven by (Palm Sunday? Ascension Day?) liturgy is at least as
> strong as the current Stocker/Gem/Fernie concensus, that it was
> quasi-military in design. Both theories could of course be true.

Definitely Palm Sunday - cf Salisbury, and the Palm Sunday Procession in the 
Regularis Concordia.  The west front would represent the gates of Jerusalem: 
it would be *symbolically* military!  Ironically, the Decreta Lanfranci 
specifies that the Palm Sunday Procession should take in the whole of the 
city of Canterbury, and that the actual city gates should stand in for the 
gates of Jerusalem, and it  is pretty clear that this was followed at 
Winchester.  So, we have the paradox that for two monastic cathedrals the 
procession spanned the whole city, whereas for two secular cathedrals 
(Salisbury and Lincoln) it may have been confined to the cathedral 
precincts!

> Having said that, I'd be curious to know whether/how the authors
> rejected the possibility that these liturgies and their designs are
> not local and pre-Conquest in origin.

Quite. Although I would be reluctant to give support to folk beliefs about 
the survival of pre-Conquest liturgies :-)

> As for my book, I can only comment that the scale of publishing in
> our field over the last few years has been astonishing, and Summoning
> St Michael was in a pile of last-minute, is
> there-anything-unmissable-here things I checked through. In the
> quarter-of-an-hour or so I had available :(, I decided that while the
> author's arguments would be perfect for a similar work on parish
> churches (any publishers out there?), their material on cathedrals
> was not quite strong enough to warrant late changes to a completed
> manuscript. A year earlier, and it may well have got 'under the
> wire.'
> But it did add fuel to the fire for several of my own interests. The
> precise articulation of funerary/mourning-related routes offers rich
> pickings in churches large and small, and the authors' work suggests
> approaches for a reanalysis of slypes, etc that I have long
> fantasized about. And my thoughts immediately turned to a remarkable
> doorway at St Peter's Gloucester (now the cathedral). It is part of
> the c14 recasing of the south transept, and it features two headless,
> near-lifesize stone figures leaning over the doorframe , as if
> intended to look 'real', in a manner more reminscent of c18 tastes
> than c14 ones. I believe one could argue - the evidence is
> fragmentary - that one is an angel and one a layman. It is a very
> extraordinary thing. Anyway, the door sits perfectly on any route
> from the south transept chapel of the cathedral to the lay cemetery,
> and faces the main entrance from the lay cemetery to the town; I have
> often wondered whether monks or mourners would have accessed the
> church in some way during funerals. It is utterly plain on the
> exterior; the chapel within (sadly for the Stocker/Everson theory) is
> (now) dedicated to St Andrew.

That sounds very likely as an exit route for a funeral procession. 
('Pevsner' suggests a lost sacristy!) I would suggest that it could access 
either the lay cemetery or the monks' cemetery.

John Briggs

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