1st Edition

Late Medieval Liturgies Enacted The Experience of Worship in Cathedral and Parish Church

Edited By Sally Harper, P Barnwell, Magnus Williamson Copyright 2016
    392 Pages
    by Routledge

    392 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book critically explores ways in which our understanding of late medieval liturgy can be enhanced through present-day enactment. It is a direct outcome of a practice-led research project, led by Professor John Harper and undertaken at Bangor University between 2010 and 2013 in partnership with Salisbury Cathedral and St Fagans National History Museum, near Cardiff. The book seeks to address the complex of ritual, devotional, musical, physical and architectural elements that constitute medieval Latin liturgy, whose interaction can be so difficult to recover other than through practice. In contrast with previous studies of reconstructed liturgies, enactment was not the exclusive end-goal of the project; rather it has created a new set of data for interpretation and further enquiry. Though based on a foundation of historical, musicological, textual, architectural and archaeological research, new methods of investigation and interpretation are explored, tested and validated throughout. There is emphasis on practice-led investigation and making; the need for imagination and creativity; and the fact that enactment participants can only be of the present day. Discussion of the processes of preparation, analysis and interpretation of the enactments is complemented by contextual studies, with particular emphasis on the provision of music. A distinctive feature of the work is that it seeks to understand the experiences of different groups within the medieval church - the clergy, their assistants, the singers, and the laity - as they participated in different kinds of rituals in both a large cathedral and a small parish church. Some of the conclusions challenge interpretations of these experiences, which have been current since the Reformation. In addition, some consideration is given to the implications of understanding past liturgy for present-day worship.

    Introduction John Harper

    Part 1: Investigating the Experience of Late Medieval Worship in Medieval Church Buildings

    1. Investigating the Experience of Late Medieval Worship John Harper

    2. Enacting Late Medieval Worship: Locations, Processes and Outcomes John Harper

    Part 2: Past Evidence and Present Realisation

    3. The Church of St Teilo, Llandeilo Tal-y-bont – A Moving Story Gerallt Nash

    4. Clothing the Space: Making and Using the Artefacts and Vestments Sally Harper

    5. A New Pre-Reformation Organ for the Church of St Teilo Dominic Gwynn

    6. Establishing a Liturgical ‘Text’: Text for Performance, Performance as Text Matthew Cheung Salisbury

    7. How Did They Do Liturgy? Preparing Late Medieval Text for Modern Enactment Sally Harper and John Harper

    8. Quadring Cows: Resourcing Music in the Pre-Reformation Parish Magnus Williamson

    Part 3: Historical Foundations Three Case Studies

    9. The Reform of the Choir of Salisbury Cathedral, c.1450–1549 Roger Bowers

    10. The Musical Knowledge and Practice of Expert Tudor Descanters Jane Flynn

    11. The Holy Name of Jesus: A Literate Cult? Judith Aveling

    Part 4: Medieval Liturgy and Modern Enactment

    12. The Nature of Late Medieval Worship: The Mass P. S. Barnwell

    13. The Celebrant Reflects: Theological and Spiritual Priorities expressed through Sarum Use Jeremy Davies

    14. Enabling the Ritual: Aspects of the Experience of Assisting Clergy, Servers, Singers and Organ-Player John Harper

    15. How to do Without Rubrics: Experiments in Reconstructing Medieval Lay Experience P. S. Barnwell

    16. Reflections on the Enactments: Voices from the Nave Keith Beasley, Judith Aveling and John Francis Moss

    Part 5: Reflecting on Present Experience of Past Rituals

    17. Reconciling the Historical and the Contemporary in Liturgical Enactment Nils Holger Petersen

    18. The Ritual Enactments: Historical Validity, Measurable Outcomes, Experience and Engagement  John Harper

    19. Enactment and the Study of Late Medieval Liturgy John Harper


    A.1 Summary Narrative of Mass of the Day in Choir

    A.2 Summary narrative of simple sung Mass with priest, server and singers

    A.3 Plan of Salisbury Cathedral

    A.4 Plan of St Teilo’s Church.




    Sally Harper is senior lecturer in the School of Music at Bangor University, Wales, and an associate chaplain of Bangor Cathedral. She has written widely on music and culture in medieval and early modern Wales, and on medieval liturgy.

    P.S. Barnwell is Fellow in the Historic Environment at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, UK. His research interests include the relationships between theology, liturgy, lay devotion, and the evolution of the form of the English medieval parochial church.

    Magnus Williamson is senior lecturer at Newcastle University. His research focuses on the sources and contexts of Tudor polyphony, organs, improvisation, and critical editing. He is currently General Editor of the British Academy series Early English Church Music.

    John Harper, though not one of the editors, is the principal author, and has been the fons et origo of the practice-led research project from which this book flows and which exemplifies his career as a liturgical musician, scholar, teacher and administrator. Through honorary association with the University of Birmingham, UK, and emeritus associations with Bangor University and The Royal School of Church Music, he continues his work in sacred music studies and liturgy. He is perhaps most widely known for his useful guide The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century.

    "This substantial book is beautifully produced with numerous colour and black-and-white photographs and is very comprehensive. It fills a large gap in our knowledge." -- Peter Freeman, Anglo-Catholic History Society