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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

 
> Jim, do you have evidence for multiple burials in the Rochester Lady
> Chapel? I believe the previous Lady Chapel was against the west wall of
> the transept, and the new one could almost be viewed as a kind of 'nave'
> for it. I would love to get to the bottom of its intended function. 

Dear Jon,
My information on the Rochester Lady Chapel comes from W. St John Hope, "The 
Architectural History of the Cathedral Church and Monastery of St Andrew at 
Rochester," Archaeologia Cantiana, XXIII (1898), pp. 194-328 (continued in the next 
issue), at pp. 293-98.  As I understand it, the south transept at Rochester was rebuilt 
in the later 13th century as a Lady Chapel.  Before the rebuilding, there had been 
two altars in the south transept, one of which was dedicated to the Virgin; at this 
time the other altar was removed.  Then, in the early 16th century a western 
extension, planned with fan vaulting, was added to the transept forming a choir.  St 
John Hope had researched burials in the Lady Chapel and an interesting line of 
development seems to appear.  The earliest recorded burials are those of bishops.  
The will of Bishop Thomas Trillek, dated 11 Dec. 1372, requests burial in the Lady 
Chapel, as does that of his successor, Thomas of Brinton, dated 30 Apr. 1389, and 
that of Bishop Richard Young, of 17 Oct. 1418.  From early in the 15th century, 
members of the nobility were also requesting burial in the Lady Chapel.  One of the 
earliest was Sir William Rikhill in 1407; he also gave L100 for the celebration of 
daily requiem masses in the Lady Chapel in perpetuity for himself, his wife and 
others.  His wife requested to be buried beside him in her will of 28 Apr. 1418, and 
Sir Richard de Arundell, by his will of 8 July 1417, also desired burial in the Lady 
Chapel.  Later in the century, any citizen who could afford the privilege seems to 
have been able to request burial in the Lady Chapel.  It is also likely that the 
privilege was becoming more and more affordable.  In 1518, one Thomas Harlow 
left only 6s 8d by his will to be buried next to his wife in the Lady Chapel.  It was 
thus probably to accommodate this growing trend that the Lady Chapel at Rochester 
was extended westward in the early 16th century, more than doubling its size.  St. 
John Hope suggests that this extension was meant to furnish a choir in the chapel.  
This is certainly possible, for stalls appeared in the Lady Chapels of Westminster 
(as you noted) and Winchester in the early 16th century.
	Much of this came from research done for my MA thesis.  More recently, 
Philip McAleer has published his Rochester Cathedral, 604-1540: An Architectural 
History (Toronto, 1999), which I haven't had the leisure to read yet, but I note that 
he is somewhat more ascerbic about the identity of the chapel than St John Hope, 
referring to it as "the So-Called Lady Chapel".  It was too much, at the time, for me 
to investigate the liturgy of Lady Chapels (not to mention outside of my training), but 
it seemed interesting to me at the time that, according to H.T. Henry's article on the 
"Salve Regina" in the old Catholic Encyclopedia, the Salve might have formed a 
bridge between "secular devotion" in Lady Chapels and the devotion of 
confraternities.  I didn't know then, and still don't, what to make of that or where to 
take it.  Anyway, Lady Chapels are long overdue for research such as you are 
doing, so good luck with it.
Cheers

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