Chapter

Function and Meaning

Nigel Saul

in English Church Monuments in the Middle Ages

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199215980
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191710001 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215980.003.0006
 Function and Meaning

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The chapter argues that the main function of monuments in the Middle Ages was liturgical: to prompt intercessory prayer for the soul(s) of the person(s) commemorated. The commissioning of monuments was therefore often associated with the foundation of chantries, institutions of intercessory prayer. A secondary, but still very important function, was to attest the commemorated's social station in life. In practice, the two functions overlapped. When, as was often the case, chantries were established for the benefit of the souls of a founder's ancestors, piety reinforced lineage.

Keywords: intercession; lineage; chantries; status; ancestors

Chapter.  10503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Religion

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