Patterns of Burial

Nigel Saul

in Lordship and Faith

Published in print January 2017 | ISBN: 9780198706199
Published online February 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191775291 | DOI:
Patterns of Burial

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
  • History of Religion


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This chapter looks at two notable trends in the burial patterns of the gentry that are observable in the late Middle Ages—the first, the shift away from burial with the monks and friars to burial in the local parish church; and, the second, the gradual migration of gentry burials within that church after 1300 away from the nave and side chapels and into the chancel. The chapter suggests that the former trend is to be explained in terms of the growing territorialization of gentry power in the thirteenth century, and the latter by a combination of factors, chief among them the increasing recognition of church rebuilders as ‘founders’ in the legal sense; the example set by the higher nobility, who were increasingly seeking chancel burial in this period; and the mood of intense Eucharistic fervour that characterized the late Middle Ages.

Keywords: burial; mass; tombs; monuments; chancel; chantries

Chapter.  11329 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; History of Religion

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