Beliefs in the afterlife dominated the images, literature and liturgy of medieval church and society. In particular, the concept of purgatory was a central element. Barring a life of extraordinary saintliness, most medieval people anticipated a long stay in purgatory, which could be lessened by various strategies for intercession including a range of memorial and commemorative practices and, particularly, the foundation of chantry chapels. Chantry chapels were often outstanding additions to parish and monastic church spaces and many still survive. These structures, much altered with time, are still a ticeable feature of many churches and cathedrals.This book combines archaeological evidence with relevant documentary sources and discusses aspects of chantry chapel foundation, design and spatial arrangements, as well as their origins and the effects of the Reformation, with reference to some of the best surviving examples. It will also consider the various types of chantry chapel. Overall it discusses how such monuments were devised as medieval strategies for the afterlife and were one of the most important and influential institutions of the medieval period.
Dr Simon Roffey has been Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Winchester since 2002 where he lectures on Church Archaeology, the Archaeology of Monasticism, Public Archaeology, Buildings Archaeology, Theory and Research Methods and Archaeological Fieldwork Methodologies.