'Vicars Choral at English Cathedrals: Cantate Domino: History, Architecture and Archaeology

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Overview

Staffing medieval cathedrals was always a problem. Some English cathedrals introduced monks, but almost half of them put themselves in the hands of secular priests (canons). As cathedrals became complex 'prayer factories' between the 12th and 16th centuries, the canons appointed Vicars Choral to perform liturgical functions in their stead. From the moment of their first appearance in the 12th century, there was concern about the vicars' morals and behaviour and, for more than 400 years, cathedral deans struggled to impose discipline. Eventually all of the English cathedral vicars were subjected to quasi-monastic discipline in carefully regulated colleges, which were strategically located within the close and formed a very distinctive group of ecclesiastical buildings, which were ancestors of the Oxbridge colleges. Several of these important medieval building complexes have survived, but significant traces of all nine colleges - Chichester, Exeter, Hereford, Lichfield, Lincoln, St Paul's London, Salisbury, Wells and York - have been recovered in this study. As these colleges survived the Reformation, most retain extraordinarily rich archives, which modern historical scholarship is only just starting to explore. For the first time, this volume brings together the wealth of architectural, archaeological and historical information relating to these major, but little known, medieval institutions. It reveals an extraordinary interdisciplinary resource that can be used to understand, not just the working of individual colleges and cathedrals, but also the life and work of the lower orders of medieval clergy in England.
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Editorial Reviews

Northern History
An impressive volume.'
Church Times - Nicholas Orme
this is an excellent, ground-breaking book.'
Journal of Ecclesiastical History - Stamford Lehmberg
presents important new evidence about the vicars choral and their physical accommodation'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842171530
  • Publisher: Oxbow Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Pages: 224

Table of Contents

List of contributors
Preface & Acknowledgements (Richard Hall)
Part One - Introduction: The Vicars' identity
The English vicars choral and their colleges (Barrie Dobson)
The origins of vicars choral in the period up to c.1300 (Julia Barrow)
Cantate Domino: singing in the stalls - the music of the medieval cathedral (John Harper)
Part Two - The Vicars' accommodation
Recent investigations in the vicar's hall and close at Chichester (Tim Tatton Brown)
The college of the vicars choral at Exeter (John Allan)
'A brave and ancient priviledg'd place': The Hereford Vicars Choral College (Ron Shoesmith)
'A small quadrangle of old low-built houses… ': The Vicars' Close at Lichfield (Warwick Rodwell)
The development of the college of vicars choral of Lincoln Minster (David Stocker , with an annex by Naomi Field)
The vicars choral at St Paul's, London, and their context in the churchyard (John Schofield)
Where was the vicars' close at Salisbury? (Tim Tatton Brown)
'Begun while the Black Death raged …': The Vicars' Close at Wells (Warwick Rodwell, with a contribution by Frances Neale)
The vicars choral at Ripon, Beverley and Southwell (Philip Dixon)
Part Three - The Vicars' College at York: A case study
The vicars choral of York: a summary and interpretation of recent archaeological work (David Stocker)
'Wine women and song': artefacts from the excavations at the college of vicars choral at Bedern, York (Nicola Rogers)
At home in the Bedern: the domestic life of the vicars choral of York Minster (Nigel Tringham)
God and Mammon: the role of the city estate of the vicars choral in the religious life of York Minster (Sarah Rees Jones)
Consolidated bibliography
Index
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