Louth Museum – Corpus Christi Guilds

Tuesday, 20th February 2024 7:30pm by Dr Claire Kennan

Corpus Christi Guilds

This lecture will be held online, using Zoom.

Dr Claire Kennan is a Medieval Historian specialising in the social and cultural history of Britain between c. 1300 and c. 1500. Claire completed here PhD in 2018 and is currently working on a proposal for her first book; she is the co-editor of the Brepols series Reinterpreting the Middle Ages: From Medieval to Neo.  She has taught Medieval History at King’s College London, Royal Holloway, University of London and Bader College, Queen’s University (Canada). In 2019 she was one of the AHRC’s Creative Economy Engagement Fellows at The National Archives (London) and between 2017 and 2020 she was the Medieval Specialist on the £1 million National Lottery Heritage funded Citizens Project. Claire is currently the Research Impact Manager for King’s College London.

The 1388-9 guild enquiry ordered by Richard II’s government constitutes the first substantial body of evidence for the existence of parish guilds in England. While the evidence generated by the enquiry is geographically uneven and incomplete, it offers a unique window into guild activity at the end of the fourteenth century. One of the newer saints’ cults which was significantly represented in 1389 was that of Corpus Christi, the feast of which had only been established some sixty years before.  Out of the 507 surviving guild returns, forty-four guilds were dedicated to Corpus Christi, eighteen of which came from Lincolnshire. Therefore, over forty per cent of England’s Corpus Christi guilds, according to the enquiry evidence, were based in Lincolnshire. This lecture will focus on the prevalence of Corpus Christi guilds in the county, examining their foundation, location and, where possible, membership and office holders, along with their continental connections and influence in their localities. We will consider why Lincolnshire had so many Corpus Christi guilds and what this can tell us about patterns of popular piety in the county at the end of the C14th

The lectures in 2024 will be held either in the Methodist Church in Nichol Hill, LN11 9NQ, or online using Zoom. Visitors or members may request a Zoom link by emailing start.david@btinternet.com.

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