Chapter

Prospect and Retrospect

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/9780199215980.003.0015
 Prospect and Retrospect

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With the Reformation there came a major shift in popular attitudes to funerary monuments. The notion of memorialization was redefined in a more secular direction which stressed the honour of the person commemorated, dispensing with the Catholic notion of purgatory. This chapter argues that the practice of commemoration was woven deeply into the fabric of English medieval society. As early as the 10th century the production of monuments was approaching levels which matched those in the pre-Reformation centuries. The suggestion is made that commemoration may have been spread more widespread in England than in neighbouring societies, partly because of the competitiveness of English society and partly because its closely meshed structure made for easy dissemination of elite commemorative practices.

Keywords: memorialization; commemoration; Reformation; competitiveness; honour; Catholic; purgatory; medieval society

Chapter.  3874 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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