Death and Burial in Medieval England 1066-1550 by Christopher Daniell

By Christopher Daniell

Loss of life had a tremendous and pervasive presence within the center a while. It was once a topic in medieval public existence, discovering expression either in literature and paintings. The ideals and methods accompanying dying have been either complicated and fascinating.Christopher Daniell's appproach to this topic is rare 1n bringing jointly wisdom accrued from historic, archaeological and literary assets. The e-book contains the very most modern examine, either one of the writer and of others operating during this zone. the result's a finished and bright photo of the complete phenomenon of medieval dying and burial.

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This was called the Dirige (from which the English word ‘dirge’ derives) as it was the first word of the first anthem of the service (Dirige Dominus meus in conspectu tuo viam meam). Another service, such as the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Mass of the Trinity, was occasionally said. After breakfast a solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated. Increasingly through the fifteenth century the offices and Mass were sung (‘by note’), although it was not yet universal (Burgess 1987a: 184). Only then was the body interred: usually three days after death (Burgess 1987b:841).

There were two alternatives to a simple shroud, both of which were applicable only for the very rich. The first was for the person to be dressed in clothes of appropriate rank: Wolsey was dressed in, and probably buried with, ‘all such vestures and ornaments… such as mitre, crozier, ring and pall, with all other things belonging to his profession’ (Lockyer 1962:228). The second was for the body to be embalmed: the body of Jane Seymour, was ‘leaded, soldered and chested’ (Byrne 1981: 180). Both of these methods were rare and only occurred for the highest ranks of society.

In return for this gift the chaplain was to pray for the souls of ‘Mr Husee, his friends and all the brethren and sisters of the Vintners’ four times a year, for which he got 4d. (Byrne 1981: 354). Once the body lay before the altar the Office of the Dead could take place. A manuscript from Lincoln Cathedral shows a service in progress. A priest reads from a book whilst two clerks either read or sprinkle water. The coffin is draped in a hearse cloth and the candles are lit. The hooded mourners stand at one end of the coffin, (front cover).

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