As part of its development and outreach, the project will be involved in a number of conferences, events and initiatives during its lifespan. Information on these will be presented below as it becomes available.
See below for a timeline detailing the various milestones for both the project itself, and various associated initiatives.
This provides an outline of the project's aims and structure, and highlights the significance of St Stephen's Chapel within both the medieval and modern Palaces of Westminster. Introduced by Principal Investigator, Dr John Cooper, this event features case studies of findings by Project researchers Dr James Jago and Elizabeth Biggs.
Project members and associate researchers join forces to re-examine the surviving painted fragments of St Stephen’s Chapel in the British Museum. Associate researcher James Hillson considers the original architectural context for these fragments, supported by Tim Ayers and Maureen Jurkowski, who address the question of documentary evidence from the building accounts. Jane Spooner of the Courtauld Institute of Art considers the materials and techniques evident on the fragments, which includes the famous murals and architectural elements not on display.
Dr James Jago explores the political career of William Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons during the Long Parliament and Commonwealth, and what light his private chapel at Burford Priory, Oxfordshire throws upon his posthumous reputation. This little known building is presented as an articulate response to notions of the sacred in the seventeenth century and as a deeply personal statement by its patron.
Elizabeth Biggs addresses the problems of reconstructing the life and history of St Stephen's College, given the absence of surviving College muniments and accounts. Drawing upon a host of comparative archival sources, her research persuasively posits ways to overcome this obstacle and recover information on the College's lands, revenues and members before its dissolution under Edward VI.
Presented by Drs John Cooper, James Jago and Elizabeth Biggs, this session addresses key themes surrounding the use of St Stephen's from the close of the medieval era to the rise of the early modern period. Central to the discussion are the roles of the College of Canons as a component part of late medieval kingship and the later association between the Commons as a collective body and the Chamber that housed them. The College's last dean, John Chamber, is also a significant figure in the transition from sacred to secular usage.
Associate researcher James Hillson presents an overview of antiquarian sketches which record the medieval murals on the east wall of St Stephen’s Chapel. The depiction of royal figures in perspective niches and their relationship to the actual architecture of the building are discussed with reference to patronal and aesthetic decisions. Why such visual forms were selected is also considered.
Elizabeth Biggs examines the St Stephen’s as a place of prayer and liturgy both before and after the foundation of the college in 1348. Particular attention is paid to how the space of the Chapel governed the available liturgy, and the ways in which Edward III shaped the College’s prayers to his own self-presentation.
For our second Study Day, Project members and associate researchers meet at the Society of Antiquaries for an introductory talk by Rosemary Hill on Antiquarians. This is followed by close examination of John Carter’s original drawings of St Stephen’s, Richard Smirke’s copy of the murals and comparable engraved sources. At the Undercroft Chapel, Elizabeth Wooley of the Courtauld Institute of Art presents her findings on the nineteenth century east wall murals and decorative paintwork scheme, followed by an inspection of EW Tristram’s twentieth century reconstructions of lost murals from St Stephen’s.
Presented by Drs John Cooper and James Jago, this session explores the questions posed by attempting to reconstruction the medieval St Stephen’s Chapel, and later Commons Chamber, with reference to researches undertaken by Elizabeth Biggs and James Hillson. Special points for consideration inclu