Tag Archives: Parish church

Conference: Towards an Art History of the Parish Church, 1200-1399

Parish ChurchFriday 2 June 2017
Saturday 3 June 2017

Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art

Organised by

Dr James Alexander Cameron: The Courtauld Institute of Art

Meg Bernstein: University of California, Los Angeles / The Courtauld Institute Kress Fellow, 2015-2017

Ticket / entry details:

£26 (general admission to both days) £16 (students and over-60s)

Limited free places available for current Courtauld students (booking required)

Book now via Eventbrite: http://taahotpc.eventbrite.co.uk

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CFP: Towards an Art History of the Parish Church, 1200-1399, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 2-3 June 2017

St John the Baptist, WinchesterOrganised by: Dr James Alexander Cameron (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Meg Bernstein (University of California, Los Angeles/The Courtauld Institute Kress Fellow, 2015-2017)

Paul Binski, in his 1999 Studies in Iconography article, “The English Parish Church and its Art in the Later Middle Ages,” asked “how, and in what ways, we might place the imagery of the parish church at the centre of the study of medieval visual culture rather than seeing it as some unfathomable, and perhaps embarrassing, epiphenomenon of something that was ‘really’ going on elsewhere.” Though some 8,000 parish churches in England can be said to consist largely of medieval fabric, no overarching study of English medieval church architecture is available. Instead, scholarship is generally limited to descriptions of single buildings and their furnishings, and the broader historical significance of this building type has largely gone unaddressed.

Towards an Art History of the Parish Church, 1200-1399, to be held on 2-3 June, 2017 at The Courtauld Institute of Art, will gather scholars to revisit the question of the parish church and its relationship to medieval visual culture. Participants will contribute to a vibrant discussion of the Gothic parish church, its utility as an object of study, and the insights offered on the subject by diverse methodologies. In particular, the conference will prioritise ways in which scholars might think about Gothic parish churches collectively, profiting from the rapidly expanding technologies of the digital age. We are pleased to announce that Professor Paul Binski has agreed to give the closing remarks for the conference, and reflect upon how scholarship has progressed since his Studies in Iconography article.Heckington chancel

The conference draws its temporal focus from the most notable lacuna in scholarship, which concerns the introduction and flowering of Gothic architecture across the English parish church in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The thirteenth century saw a broadly Gothic style replace the Romanesque across England; although this has been studied with regard to great church architecture, the mechanics of what amounts to a major stylistic shift at parish level remain largely uninvestigated. Likewise, the quantity of fourteenth-century work in parish churches further shaped the manifestation of the Gothic style, particularly in features such as sedilia which were originally developed in outside of cathedrals and great monasteries. Given the impact of the English Decorated Style on Late Gothic architectural developments across Europe, the parish church promises to illuminate art historical questions beyond the borders of England. These lacunae are in stark contrast to the smaller corpus of the Romanesque period, which has had a large amount of attention via resources such as CRSBI; and the late medieval church after 1400, which draws on greater availability of documentary evidence.

The organisers invite postgraduate, early-career and established researchers to propose papers representing a revitalised approach to the study of parish churches of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and strategies for dealing with the vast amount of material evidence in tandem with a paucity of written records. They welcome contributions especially regarding architecture but also elements of sculpture, painting and glass, as well as their internal (and external) fittings and furnishings. Papers must be foremost concerned with buildings that are primarily parochial, as distinct from abbeys and cathedrals. Possible areas of inquiry include but are not limited to:

  • Sutterton naveBig data and the understanding of artistic processes through comprehensive regional surveys and categorisation, including the use of online crowd-sourcing techniques
  • The intersection of liturgical function and architectural form, perhaps through innovative strategies such as practical re-enactment
  • Understanding architectural spaces through visual and other sensory perception
  • Aesthetics and allegory: the ’period eye’ approach to understanding medieval art through contemporary literature
  • Formal analysis, and its use in understanding the operation of architectural workshops
  • Archaeology and structural investigation
  • Interactions or distinctions between rural and urban parish churches
  • The geography and topography of the parish church in relation to its surroundings
  • The effect of funerary monuments and individual commemoration.
  • Lay sponsorship and creative involvement in parochial architecture
  • Replacement, retention or adaption of older fabric
  • Comparisons of English parochial architecture with that of the Continent

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words, as well as a current c.v., to Dr James Alexander Cameron and Meg Bernstein at TAAHOTPC@gmail.com by December 15, 2016. There may be limited funds available to defray costs of travel for speakers. It is intended that conference transactions will be published.

For more updates on the conference, watch the page on The Courtauld website

Study Day: Exploring the Heritage of St Michael and All Angels Church, Great Tew (18 June 2016)

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 7.45.14 PMSaturday 18th June 2016 at 2.00pm

The architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described the village of Great Tew as ‘unforgettable’ and the same can be said of the parish church dedicated to St Michael and All Angels. Much of its medieval fabric remains including the shadows of a Passion cycle of wall paintings in the south aisle and the magnificent funerary brass to the county sheriff, John Wilcotes (d. 1422) and his first wife Alice in the chancel of the church. More recent features of interest include the 19th century sculptured effigy for Mary Anne Boulton (1834) in the north of the chancel.

This fund raising event for the fabric of the church will take place in the church and is intended to celebrate Great Tew’s heritage with a series of four talks from experts in their field.

2.00pm Welcome and introduction
by Ginny Thomas (Vicar of Great Tew)

2.15pm An Introduction to Great Tew Church
by Nicola Coldstream (Past President, British Archaeological Association)

2.45pm Narrating the Passion: the Great Tew Cycle
by Miriam Gill (Lecturer, University of Leicester)

3.15pm The Medieval Brass of John Wilcotes Re-examined
by Nigel Saul (Emeritus Professor, Royal Holloway University of London)

3.45pm Afternoon tea and an opportunity to view the church

4.30pm Sir Francis Chantrey and the Monument to Mary Anne Boulton
by Greg Sullivan (Curator, Tate Britain)

5.00pm A Short Recital of Medieval Vocal Music
by Benjamin Thompson (Fellow and Tutor, Somerville College)

5.45pm Concluding remarks
by Caroline M. Barron (Hon. Fellow, Somerville College)

The church will be open beforehand for ‘early birds’.

To book please complete the form below and return to Patrick Thomas, The Vicarage, New Road, Great Tew, Chipping Norton, OX7 4AG with your payment of £20.00 per person (£25.00 on the day). Please make cheques payable to ‘The Great Tew PCC’ and enclose a S.A.E. for confirmation of booking or include your email address below.

Name: ________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________

Telephone number and email: _______________________________________________

I wish to book ______ place(s) at the Great Tew Day and I enclose my cheque for £_______

Window on a Parish: The Stained Glass of St Laurence, Ludlow (25 June 2016)

West-Window_1A One-Day Conference
Saturday, 25 June 2016
In St Laurence’s Church, Ludlow

Dr Jasmine Allen, The Stained Glass Museum, Ely
Professor Tim Ayers, University of York
Sarah Brown, The York Glaziers Trust
Bridget Cherry, Independent Scholar
Dr Christian Liddy, University of Durham
Emma Woolfrey, University of York

Tickets including refreshments and lunch:
standard £50
members of supporting organisations £45
local residents £45
Ludlow Palmers £40


Book at http://ludlowglass.eventbrite.co.uk or send a cheque made out to CTSLL to Ludlow Palmers, 2 College St, Ludlow SY8 1AN

Enquiries to info@ludlowpalmers.uk

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).

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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.

Call for participants: BAA Study Day, Llancarfan and Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan

imagesThe parish churches of St Cadoc at Llancarfan and St Illtud at Llantwit Major are among the most historically significant religious sites in south-east Wales. In the pre-Conquest period, both were the sites of important ‘monastic’ communities. After the Conquest, they were held by the great Benedictine abbeys at Gloucester and Tewkesbury. The standing medieval fabric at each church holds a wealth of architectural and artistic detail bearing witness to centuries of use and renewal. During this study day we will consider some of the points of comparison and contrast between the two churches.

The day will start at Llancarfan, where St Cadog’s monastery was mentioned in the Book of Llandaff over a long period (c.6501075). The present church was probably begun in the 12th century. The focus of our attention will be the extensive medieval wall paintings which are currently being conserved and researched by Jane Rutherfoord. Led by Jane, the morning session will offer an insight into the practical, technical and sensitive nature of wall painting conservation, including an introduction to medieval wall painting techniques and the methods used to sustain these works in situ.

The afternoon will be spent at Llantwit Major, where, according to the Life of St Samson, an important monastery (and school) was established in the early 6th century by St Illtud. The site retains a major group of inscribed and sculptured stones ranging in date from the late 8th/early 9th to the 11th century. The 12th-century and later church is complex, and requires both archaeological and art historical approaches to untangle the development of its fabric. David Robinson will guide us through some of the problems of interpreting such a complicated site and introduce techniques by which investigation and analysis can be successfully carried out.

By the end of the day we will have enjoyed, in the company of experts, a detailed study of two remarkable medieval buildings. We will have come to understand something of their pre-Conquest foundation, considered their medieval development, and studied the extent of their artistic ambition.

The cost of the day will be £20 for members. The event is free for students.

A private coach will collect participants from Cardiff mainline station in the morning and return there at the end of the day. Please bring a picnic lunch as refreshments will not be provided, although toilet facilities will be available. Full details will be sent out to participants closer to the event.

Places are limited to 20, of which 10 are reserved for students. To apply please email Helen Lunnon (h.lunnon@uea.ac.uk) by Wednesday 30 April, stating if you are a student. In the case of a greater number of applications being received a ballot will be used to allocate places. Successful candidates will be contacted by email by Friday 2 May, with a request for payment.