Memorials and commemoration in the parish churches of late medieval York
The commemoration of individuals in the parish churches of late medieval York was primarily embodied in chantdes, funerary monuments and windows, although other forms, such as misericordes and roof bosses, were also included. This thesis is based on the evidence of late sixteenth- to late eighteenth-century antiquarians who visited the parish churches and noted monuments, windows and other church fittings, most of which no longer exist. In addition the thesis uses medieval testamentary and other documentary evidence as well as surviving visual evidence to flesh out a portrait of the commemorated, particularly with regard to their professional and social activities. Chapter 1 introducest he topic and discussesth e limits of the thesis,r eviews the secondary literature on the topic and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the primary evidence, i. e. the antiquarian evidence, the medieval documentary evidence and the surviving visual material. Chapter 2 sets the parish churches into their historical context and discusses the origins, development and decay of the church fabrics. Chapter 3 discusses general problems of dating and identification, the mechanics of commemoration, and the heraldic evidence; it then analyzes the evidence regarding the commemorated to indicate the social categories involved in parish church commemoration, their activities over the late medieval period and what factors they had in common; it discusses absent social groups; it places commemoration into context by discussing the objects which were found in the late medieval churches and by analyzing testamentary evidence of bequests to parish churches as wells as to friaries and the Minster; the chapter concludes with an overview of commemorative genres over time. Chapter 4 discusses the visual components of monuments and windows and their development over time; the use of status symbols in commemorative panels; the iconography of heraldry and merchants' marks; the role of inscriptions and scrolls; and the way in which all the different components of memorials worked together. Chapter 5 concludes the thesis with some observations about the interaction of religious and secular aims in the memorials and with suggestions for further study. Two appendices are also included - the first contains a full transcription of the antiquarian evidence on a church-by-church basis; the second lists the names of the commemorated alphabetically and each entry includes biographical notes and details of their commemoration in the parish churches.