This paper will introduce a study of the consecration documents from the 10th and 11th centuries of the Catalan bishopric of Urgell as the narratives of a singular occasion where we can find acting together the elites, lay and ecclesiastical, with the local communities gathered around these newly-built churches. The consecration became an exceptional point of interaction between the top and the base of the social and politcal structures enlightening the nature of their relationships and the opacity of the sources regarding the local communities, allowing to take hints about social organization, local economy, or managing of the lands.
In the northern Spanish city of Carrión de los Condes, the 12th-century parish church of Santiago exhibits an elaborate carved façade composed of local referents. Its composition borrows from another parish church located only steps away and one of its capitals portrays a re-worked motif from a city monastery; however, both original elements have been creatively altered in their employment at Santiago. This paper explores the church’s strategic appropriation and reinvention of local features, as well as its exploitation of civic memory to appeal to Carrionese viewers and assert Santiago’s claim as a premier spiritual institution within the city.
Drawing on evidence from English episcopal registers and acta, this paper argues that indulgences in the late medieval parish were aids to drawing parishioners into relationship with their communal past. Indulgences for parish dedication festivals recalled initial Edenic aims. In the parish church and cemetery one encountered a multitude of indulgenced monuments that functioned as physical mechanisms to keep active the memory of the deceased, as well as safeguards against forgetfulness, by promising spiritual benefit in return for prayers for the faithful departed. Thus, the parish church was a repository of local memory, and indulgences were an aid to unlock it.