9 January 2010

Holy Houses

I refer to my post of 1 December about Walsingham and Glastonbury. See now a NLM article on baroque South-German examples at Grussau and Schonenberg.

My instinct is that the fashion began in the mid-fifteenth century. Has anybody ever done any work on this?

3 comments:

John Whitehead said...

The Glastonbury Loretto chapel was an addition by Abbot Richard Bere following a visit to the Italian shrine about 1500, so that ties in with a fifteenth century interest in these things. However, as I understand it, the archaeological evidence from Walsingham suggests that the historic Holy House there was built of split tree trunks like the sole surviving example of late Anglo-Saxon timber work at Greenstead. The Holy House was then enclosed in the fifteenth century by a brick building - still unglazed when that dodgy Dutch liberal Erasmus was being a bit sniffy about traditional devotions on his pilgrimage to Walsingham - though we must be grateful to him for his description of that and the Canterbury pilgrimage - I give credit where it is due. This building, whose foundations have been recovered may, of course, have replaced an earlier enclosure around the Holy House itself which has not left traces, or may have been a response to the pastoral needs at the shrine during the fifteenth or early sixteenth century. The effect of this enclosing structure was to link the Holy House to the priory church. I do not know if it is significant, a result of practical considerations of space or mere coincidence that Abbot Bere's chapel at Glastonbury was in a similar location, that is, west of the north transept of the conventual church.

John Whitehead said...

The Glastonbury Loretto chapel was an addition by Abbot Richard Bere following a visit to the Italian shrine about 1500, so that ties in with a fifteenth century interest in these things. However, as I understand it, the archaeological evidence from Walsingham suggests that the historic Holy House there was built of split tree trunks like the sole surviving example of late Anglo-Saxon timber work at Greenstead. The Holy House was then enclosed in the fifteenth century by a brick building - still unglazed when that dodgy Dutch liberal Erasmus was being a bit sniffy about traditional devotions on his pilgrimage to Walsingham - though we must be grateful to him for his description of that and the Canterbury pilgrimage - I give credit where it is due. This building, whose foundations have been recovered may, of course, have replaced an earlier enclosure around the Holy House itself which has not left traces, or may have been a response to the pastoral needs at the shrine during the fifteenth or early sixteenth century. The effect of this enclosing structure was to link the Holy House to the priory church. I do not know if it is significant, a result of practical considerations of space or mere coincidence that Abbot Bere's chapel at Glastonbury was in a similar location, that is, west of the north transept of the conventual church.

Austin said...

What day were these posted on NLM? One chapter in the new book by Edward Hollis, 'The Secret Lives of Buildings' is on the multiplication of Loreto chapels in late medieval Europe. It is a fine book, well worth reading (if you like purple prose). It was reviewed in this week's Church Times, but I expect Father reads The Remnant....