Virtual Lecture: Holy Inappropriate? “Secular” uses of the medieval church - with Dr Emma Wells

3rd December 2020
19:00 Start
Free – donations welcome
Virtual event:
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In this year's Candida Lycett Green Memorial Lecture, we will consider an array of fascinating...

Dr Emma Wells, Lecturer in Ecclesiastical and Architectural History at the University of York, will deliver our 2020 Candida Lycett Green Memorial Lecture - Holy Inappropriate? “Secular” uses of the medieval church.

This will be a virtual event, taking place on Thursday 3rd December at 7pm live on our Facebook page. You do not need a Facebook account to access our page or the lecture.
In this unusually-titled lecture, Dr Wells will explore the sometimes surprising secular uses of churches in the medieval period, which included dances, dogs, football, bartering, trading, courting and gossiping- not how one would typically describe the everyday happenings of the medieval church.
Dances, dogs, football, bartering, trading, courting and gossiping: not how one would typically describe the everyday happenings of the medieval church—but this is no incorrect picture. Throughout the past, our ecclesiastical buildings and lands have been used for a multitude of what we may term “secular” activities or, at least, non-specifically devotional purposes. While the church was of course the holiest of places, ecclesiastical property was not often considered an entirely separate and sacred world—but rather a domain where the secular and sacred crossed paths.

This lecture will consider an array of these fascinating and sometimes shocking examples. It hopes to be a captivating adventure into the intersecting world of the cultural and religious history of medieval Christendom—one you may not have been privy to before!
Dr. Emma J. Wells, MCIfA, FRSA, SFHEA, specialises in the late medieval and reformation English parish church/cathedral, pilgrimage, the cult of saints, and the ‘senses’, as well as built heritage more generally. She is the Programme Leader for the PGDip in the History, Heritage and Fabric of the Parish Church in partnership with the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) and the collaborative MA in English Building History between the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Department of Archaeology.
This event is named in honour of the late Candida Lycett Green, renowned author, journalist, conservation campaigner and critically acclaimed editor of her father John Betjeman's letters.  A lifelong campaigner for conservation Candida was a commissioner for English Heritage and a much valued supporter and Vice President of the Churches Conservation Trust.  
To register your interest in attending this event, please visit 

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