Obscure History of Long-Gone Westminster Abbey Royal Chapel Laid Bare in New Study

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Obscure History of Long-Gone Westminster Abbey Royal Chapel Laid Bare in New Study
Obscure History of Long-Gone Westminster Abbey Royal Chapel Laid Bare in New Study

Africa-Press – Lesotho. The chapel, which only existed for a couple of decades before being demolished, receives only “passing mention in abbey histories”. Some elements of this chapel apparently survived until today.

Research conducted by scholars in the United Kingdom has shed light on the history of a long-gone chapel that was once part of the famous Westminster Abbey. Dedicated to St.

Erasmus of Formia, the chapel was constructed in the 1470s at the behest of Queen Consort Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV, and was demolished in 1502 in order to clear space for the building of the new version of the Lady Chapel.

“Very little attention has been paid to this short-lived chapel,” explained Westminster Abbey archivist Matthew Payne and English historian and author John Goodall, authors of the new study published in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association on November 30. The royal chapel’s dedication to St.

Erasmus, patron saint of mariners, may reflect King Edward’s and Queen Elizabeth’s thanks for the monarch’s “safe passage over the sea in 1471” or perhaps for the health of their children, as one of the feats attributed to the saint was him resurrecting “the child of a gentleman”, the study noted.

Payne and Goodall also suggest that the chapel’s dedication reflects the “new and rapidly growing devotion” to the cult of St. Erasmus in England in the 15th century.

The scholars also argued that the presence of a statue of St. Erasmus at the Lady Chapel may be “a nod” towards the St. Erasmus chapel that once stood in nearly the same spot.

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