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Title: Dances of life and death : interpretations of early modern religious identity from rural parish chuches and their landscapes along the Hampshire/Sussex border 1500-1800
Author: Jones, Judith Frances
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis enters a territory infrequently visited by English archaeologists – the early modern period. I have chosen a research area encompassing fifty neighbouring parish churches along the border of East Hampshire and West Sussex and studied what survives of their post-medieval material culture. Though these medieval churches have generally been altered in the 19th century many of them still retain material, architectural, landscape and documentary clues which reveal important aspects of their early modern condition and the religious experiences of their parishioners in life and death. A major aim has been to show that far from being stripped of imagery and cultural artefacts, other materials were introduced, designed to communicate new forms of Protestant ritual to parishioners who may frequently have been bewildered by the rapid religious changes of the 16th and 17th centuries. Having described the area and visited its historical biography in Part One and in order to capture a sense of what it was like to participate in parish religion, I concentrate on four themes emanating from my studies of these churches: space, sensory experience, the performance of memory and gender. Thus Part Two deals with the spatial qualities of new architectural innovations and the effects of the reorganisation of church furniture and is followed by an account of the sensory experiences which religious participation evoked. These discussions centre on the lives of parishioners. Part Three turns to parishioners’ encounters with death and their understandings of the ways in which the church and churchyard framed and enabled the performance of social memory. The final discussion chapter is a series of case studies centred on tombs commissioned by individual gentlewomen for their families and themselves and their nuanced interpretations of mortuary imagery. A major element of this study lies in the way it develops contemporary methodological frameworks within early modern social archaeology. This allows a wider synthesis to be achieved using thematic regional approaches which run alongside the contextual exploration of the sample’s locales over this long transitional period. My approach is also informed by theoretical issues emanating from a number of associated disciplines such as history, art history and anthropology. This is an unusual standpoint which aims to provide a particularly multilayered exploration of an area and time rich in archaeological material which builds on and develops current scholarly thinking in this particular realm of social archaeology.
Supervisor: Johnson, Matthew ; Revell, Louise Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BL Religion ; CC Archaeology