Tag Archives: Norfolk

Conference: Pilgrimage: Location and Imagination in Medieval England


The Taymouth Hours, courtesy of The British Library

Conference: Pilgrimage: Location and Imagination in Medieval England, Lee Hall, Wolfson College, Cambridge CB3 9BB, April 16, 2016.


The Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust in association with Cambridge University announce the programme of their 2016 conference:

09.30am     Registration
10.00am     Welcome and Introduction
10.05am     Indulgences, Images and Pilgrimage, with Dr Jessica Berenbeim (Magdalen College, Oxford)

11.00am     Coffee

11.25am     Over The Edge: Medieval travel and the experience of elsewhere, with Miguel Ayres de Campos (Courtauld Institute of Art)

12.20pm     Sandwich Lunch (for those who have pre-booked it)

1.10pm        The Work of the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust, with The Rt Revd David Thomson, Trust Chairman
1.35pm         The Digital Pilgrim Project at the British Museum, with Amy Jeffs (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge), and Robert Kaleta (University College, London)

2.20pm        Short Break

2.30pm        Scholarly Peregrinations among the Parish Churches of Norfolk, with Bryan Ayres, Clare Haynes, Prof. Sandy Heslop, and Dr Helen Lunnon (University of East Anglia)

3.25pm        Tea

3.50pm        Crossing the Threshold: the layperson’s experience in the Parish Church Chancel with Dr James Cameron (Alumnus of the Courtauld Institute of Art)

4.45pm        Closing Remarks

Directions to the Conference location can be found here.

A booking form can be found here.

Ticket prices are: £15 (CHCT members & guests);  £20 (non-members) £10 (undergraduates). Sandwich lunches can be booked for £9.50.




Wymondham Abbey: Medieval Architectural Design Uncovered

Fellow Roland Harris reported to Salon, the Society of Antiquaries newsletter, about the following discovery from Wymondham Abbey. Current work there, for construction of new buildings at the east end of the church, has been accompanied by excavation and building recording. As anticipated this has revealed more of the plan and detail of the Norman Benedictine priory (founded as a cell of St Albans in 1107), and a few tantalizing details of an earlier church: the origins of Wymondham Abbey probably lie in a Saxon minster on the site. More unexpected has been the sheer quantity of Gothic architectural mouldings recovered from the excavation and from above ground, which is providing new insight into the later development of the medieval priory. The most substantial quantity of worked stone has come from the unblocking of the former opening from the 12th-century nave north aisle into the north transept. More exciting still, this unblocking has revealed a substantial incised architectural design on the newly exposed respond (also forming the rear of the north-western 12th-century crossing pier).

The incised design measures 1.9m x 1.3m and is a scale drawing for a gable and window tracery. The design is largely complete, with gaps in the lines mostly due to surviving patches of later medieval paint, and includes various setting-out lines, circles and points (see the images below).

unnamed (1) unnamed

The significance of the discovery is threefold. First, the completeness of the design is remarkable—indeed, rather more complete than well-known examples such as those in the Galilee Porch at Ely Cathedral, the Roslin chapel crypt, and Christchurch Priory. Second, the design does not relate to surviving Gothic additions to Wymondham Abbey and, therefore, almost certainly relates to the monastic buildings or, much more probably, the eastern arm of the abbey church, demolished at the Dissolution: as such, it provides an important insight into the lost parts of the building. Third, and more tentatively, the combination of elements suggests a date before the end of the 13th century and raises the question as to whether—like its sister cell at Binham Priory with its precocious west front design of c.1240—Wymondham was at the forefront of bar tracery design in England in the mid-13th century.

Please note that the incised design is not accessible at present, as it is in the middle of a construction site, but visitors will be able to see it from the new room on the site of the medieval St Margaret’s chapel when this opens in the autumn of 2015.

Text taken from Salon, the Society of Antiquaries newsletter. Sign up here.