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Buildings of Secular and Religious Lordship: Anglo-Saxon Tower-nave Churches

Shapland, M; (2013) Buildings of Secular and Religious Lordship: Anglo-Saxon Tower-nave Churches. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Tower-nave churches are essentially free-standing towers which incorporated chapels, and are characteristically Anglo-Saxon in date and construction. Due to their elaborate form and limited capacity they have been suggested as having a dual ecclesiastical and secular high-status function. This study has identified thirty-five examples, dating mainly to the 10th and 11th centuries, both standing and known from documentary sources and excavation. A thorough study of each site has been undertaken: a review of previous work on the site, extant fabric drawn and described, documentary sources investigated, and each site placed in its settlement and landscape contexts. All but two tower-naves were constructed at the behest of powerful secular or ecclesiastical lords, either at their residences or at major early medieval monasteries. The monastic tower-naves are more heterogeneous in size and form than the lordly examples, which are almost uniformly small and square. Both monastic and lordly tower-naves can be related to the highest ranks of early medieval society. Monastic tower-naves functioned as funerary structures, gateways, high-status private chapels or burial-chapels. Lordly tower-naves were private chapels and architectural embodiments of aristocratic status, many of which would have made useful watchtowers and articulated with landscapes of social power. The construction of tower-naves largely ceased after c. 1100. Monastic tower-naves endured as free-standing monastic belltowers, which shared their gateway and mortuary functions, whilst lordly tower-naves are argued to have influenced the development of the early Norman tower-keep.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Buildings of Secular and Religious Lordship: Anglo-Saxon Tower-nave Churches
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology
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URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1396780
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