Cathedral Shrines of Medieval England
Almost all the great medieval shrines disappeared at the Reformation, yet for several centuries they were the outward and visible sign of the spiritual benefits believed to flow from proximity to the saint's body, and an important witness to the spiritual life of the middle ages. They were the focal point of prayer and pilgrimage, but also a critical economic factor in the life of the church. This first study devoted to cathedral shrines draws on surviving cathedral records to describe their nature and development in England from around 1066 to 1540. The development of the shrine itself, the monument enclosing the saint's body, is followed, and the connections between the chapel around the shrine and changes in church architecture considered. Accounts of the cathedral clergy who built and managed the shrines, the pilgrims who visited them, and the fluctuating fortunes of the cathedrals which housed them complete the book. BEN NILSON is College Professor at Okanagan University College, Canada.
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