The aisleless cruciform church: its occurrence and meanings in romanesque Europe

Franklin, Jill (2013) The aisleless cruciform church: its occurrence and meanings in romanesque Europe. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This study aims to establish the foundation for the theory that the aisleless cruciform church was a building type exclusive to the priesthood until the late eleventh century, pointing to the distinctive identity of the intended occupants of such buildings in the eleventh and twelfth centuries—canons, rather than monks—and focusing on the hitherto undetected phenomena of the frequent appropriation of these churches by monks, as well as their replacement by aisled structures. A paradigm is proposed in the shape of the Basilica Apostolorum, an aisleless cruciform late-fourth-century church established in Milan by Bishop Ambrose, enduringly identified with the Cross. Acknowledged to have been the inspiration for similar examples into the following century, the plan of the Milanese building is said for the first time here to have been revived with the Carolingian Renaissance.

The plan of Ambrose’s building was retained, even though its superstructure was refurbished after 1075. Its ancient associations still acknowledged, the plan type appears to have been relaunched then, coincident with major papal reforms, its crucial symbolism doubtless also resonating among proponents of the crusades. It is argued that the plan type was used systematically in England in the twelfth century by newly regularised communities of priests observing the Rule of St Augustine, promoted by the Milanese pope Alexander II, the importance of whose contribution has been underestimated. The adoption of the building type for the canons at post-Conquest York Cathedral, always seen as surprising in the context of major Anglo-Norman church architecture, is shown to have been consistent with this revived tradition, especially given the city’s association with Constantine, known for his attachment to the sign of the Cross.

It is suggested that selection of the plan by reformed Benedictines in the twelfth century constituted its first use by monks, and that Stephen Harding’s circle was responsible for its deployment by early Cistercians, its Ambrosian connotations reflecting both the ethos of the reform movement and the new congregation’s desire for authenticity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Publication
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art History and World Art Studies
Depositing User: Users 5605 not found.
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2014 10:51
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2015 00:38

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