|Paper 1231-b||Estate Materials and External Suppliers: John, Lord Wenlock's Chapel at St Mary's Church, Luton, Bedfordshire|
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - Sculpture, Lay Piety, Local History
While the vast majority of late medieval plate does not survive, many listings describe it sufficiently for us to identify both single items and groups that have their immediate source elsewhere than the current owner. Sometimes these items are purchases, but many are likely to result from gifts and bequests. This paper looks at the connections created by this traffic among the burgess classes, clergy, gentry, and aristocracy in late medieval England, the classes of plate involved and their significance, as a contribution to our understanding of the occasions and mentalities that underpinned this aspect of late medieval social life.
John, Lord Wenlock (c.1400-1471), builder of Someries Castle outside Luton, became undisputed owner of the Manor of Greathampstead Someries in 1464, which carried with it the burial rights to a chapel on the north side of the chancel of St Mary’s church, Luton. Almost immediately, he organised the enlargement of the chapel and providing an elaborate chalk screen between chapel and chancel under which he expected to be buried. The paper discusses the acquisition of materials for the construction of the chapel, contrasting what was provided from estate materials and what was purchased from external suppliers.