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Conclusions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2020

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Summary

What then does St Stephen's College say about the practices of kingship and the ways in which it was displayed at Westminster over the two centuries of the college's existence? First, that the college's work played out through liturgy and the politics of commemoration. St Stephen's offered legitimation to the kings of England at their principal palace through institutional identity and the maintenance of the liturgy. The kings of England could use the chapel as a place for liturgical ceremony and royal spectacle, as seen in the services for which there are surviving written descriptions. These events functioned as a way for the kings to associate themselves with their ancestors and with Edward III's vision of kingship. The college also offered them support after their deaths. St Stephen's was first and foremost an institution that offered prayers for the dead, and particularly prayers for the royal dynasty, as set by Edward III. It so happened that inclusion in the royal dynasty in this period was itself contested, and thus the college's remembrances were given added significance. Its round of liturgy, as added to financially or structurally by every king after Edward III, with the two obvious exceptions of Richard III and Edward V, served as another imagined mausoleum to parallel the mausoleum of Westminster Abbey as it developed over the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as the habitual resting place of the kings of England. The music of St Stephen’s, elaborated alongside the Chapel Royal in this period, emphasised the support given to the maintenance of the liturgy offered through gifts and through his presence by the king of England as a pious son of the Church. As a secular college, St Stephen's offered a continuous round of prayers and Masses, which could be augmented not just by the king, but also by others who wished to associate themselves with this royal chapel. The range of those who took up that offer was large, from William Lyndwood, bishop of St David’s, through to those individuals from Westminster and beyond who left money in the sixteenth century for prayers at the altar of Scala Coeli, as well as the canons and vicars themselves.

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St Stephen s College Westminster
A Royal Chapel and English Kingship, 1348–1548
, pp. 212 - 216
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Conclusions
  • Elizabeth Biggs
  • Book: St Stephen s College Westminster
  • Online publication: 28 April 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787448728.008
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  • Conclusions
  • Elizabeth Biggs
  • Book: St Stephen s College Westminster
  • Online publication: 28 April 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787448728.008
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusions
  • Elizabeth Biggs
  • Book: St Stephen s College Westminster
  • Online publication: 28 April 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787448728.008
Available formats
×