Stairway to Heaven: The Functions of Medieval Upper Spaces [Paperback]

Toby Huitson (Author)

ISBN: 9781842176658 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2014 | Language: English 264p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w & colour throughout

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Stairway to Heaven


Spiral stairs, galleries and upper chambers in medieval cathedrals, abbeys and parish churches have been an enduring source of fascination to scholars since the eighteenth century. But what were these secret stairs, mysterious galleries and hidden upper rooms actually used for – and how can we know? This book presents the evidence for the practical functions of ecclesiastical upper spaces from c. 1000-1550 as revealed through the widest selection of medieval visual, documentary, and artistic media ever assembled for the purpose, taking in treasuries to dovecotes, libraries to lights, and secret games of skittles over the vaults to the daring exploits of the twelfth-century 'Flying monk'. Toby Huitson considers these topics with many others, offering a radically new understanding of medieval high-level function.

Dr Toby Huitson teaches at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

Table of Contents

1. The Architecture of Medieval Upper Spaces
2. Devotional Spaces
Holy Spaces
Sacred Sights
3. Performing the Liturgy
4. Supporting the Liturgy
Organising the Liturgy
Intellectual Life
5. Behind the Scenes
Accommodating the Community
The Building Fabric
Hidden Assets
6. Beyond the Everyday
Dangerous Men
Experiment and Entertainment
7. Forms and Functions
8. Conclusions

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