Burial and Commemoration in Medieval London, c. 1140-1540

Christian Steer

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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It is the purpose of this thesis to examine the evidence, both surviving monuments and written records, for burial and commemoration in the medieval city of London. Much of London’s ecclesiastical landscape – its parish churches, religious houses, and cathedral of St Paul’s – was lost during the Reformation of the sixteenth century and the Great Fire of 1666. Almost all the city’s monuments to the dead were destroyed, and little survives by way of material remains. This thesis will argue that the redevelopment of the city’s churches in the fifteenth century also contributed to these losses. However, despite the loss of the physical tombs, much evidence has survived in the written records and through the chance finds of re-used brass memorials. This thesis has also made use of the surviving testamentary evidence, represented by some 550 wills, to demonstrate patterns of memorialization within the parish churches, St Paul’s Cathedral, the friaries, and London’s other religious houses, to demonstrate the preferences of particular social groups about where and how they wished to be remembered. Medieval tombs in the city of London were, however, only part of a much broader commemorative strategy which was concerned to secure intercession and remembrance as widely as possible.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Barron, Caroline M., Supervisor, External person
  • Saul, Nigel, Advisor
Award date1 Apr 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • monuments
  • brasses
  • medieval
  • London
  • church

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