The Building Accounts for St Stephen's Chapel, Palace of Westminster, 1292-1366

Detail of a 13th-century account roll (© The National Archives).

The AHRC St Stephen’s Chapel project builds on research conducted by a Leverhulme-funded project at the University of York.

This project will make available for the first time, in a full critical edition and translation, the fabric accounts for St Stephen’s Chapel. Produced by the royal Exchequer and now in The National Archives (TNA), the manuscript accounts are exceptionally full, comprising about 640 feet of rolls. Although used often by scholars, the relevant records have never been fully published, probably because they are widely scattered within the archive. The aim is therefore to create a lasting work of reference for future researchers.

The accounts have a special significance for the study of the place of St Stephen’s Chapel within the history of England, providing important evidence for art historians, but also for historians of royal government and political culture. They document the processes of royal patronage. They are also of international importance as evidence for medieval crafts and their working practices, at the very highest level. For late medieval painters and glass painters, these are among the fullest and most important accounts to survive. For the 'St Stephen's Chapel' project, they have been an important source for the visualizations of the medieval interior.

The accounts project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, running between January 2013 and December 2014. The accounts are being edited for publication by Professor Tim Ayers, a scholar of English thirteenth and fourteenth-century art and architecture, at the University of York. He is also a Co-Investigator on the project 'St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster: Visual and Political Culture, 1292-1941', coordinating relations between the two. The rolls have been transcribed and translated by Dr Maureen Jurkowski, a medieval historian and archival researcher with particular expertise in documents from the royal Exchequer.