St Stephen's College, Westminster
A Royal Chapel and English Kingship, 1348-1548
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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of Pages: 262
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
First full-length account of St Stephen's Chapel, bringing out its full importance and influence throughout the Middle Ages. In St Stephen's College, the royally-favoured religious institution at the heart of the busy administrative world of the Palace of Westminster, church and state met and collaborated for two centuries, from its foundation to pray for the royal dead by Edward III in 1348, until it was swept away by the second wave of the Reformation in 1548. Monarchs and visitors worshipped in the distinctive chapel on the Thames riverfront. Even when the king and his household were absent, the college's architecture, liturgy and musical strength proclaimed royal piety and royal support for the Church to all who passed by. This monograph recreates a lost institution, whose spectacular cloister still survives deep within the modern Houses of Parliament. It examines its relationship with every English king from Edward III to Edward VI, how it defined itself as the "king's chief chapel" through turbulent dynastic politics,and its contributions to the early years of the English Reformation. It offers a new perspective on the workings of political, administrative and court life in medieval and early modern Westminster.
Biggs handles the limited material with deftness, on the way evoking the business and bustle of an institution that has remained largely unknown until now. She is to be congratulated on making a significant contribution to the history of the palace of Westminster and its complex workings. * ECCLESIOLOGY TODAY * Not only tells the story of this important institution, but [also] offers a compelling analysis of comparative royal piety. * LONDON JOURNAL * This examination of St Stephen's gains immensely from the author's research of multiple sources, negating the disadvantages of a paucity of direct documentation. It departs from the traditional approaches to a college's story - and is all the better for it. What emerges is the unique role that St Stephen's was able to play, over two centuries, in foregrounding the liminal space between church and state. * Peregrinations *