Dazzled by what Paul Binski has described as ‘the glamour of the great churches’, architectural historians have long struggled to appreciate the merits of the parish churches of late-medieval England, viewing even the most impressive examples, such as the stately market church of St. Peter Mancroft in Norwich, as products of architectural imitation versus architectural innovation (Fig. 1).1 Underlying this view is the idea that, for a relatively brief period during the late-thirteenth and early-fourteenth centuries, there existed a strong model-copy relationship between mendicant churches and parish churches that radically altered the way in which lay-oriented ecclesiastical space was conceptualised, planned, and constructed. The present paper, which adopts a sceptical attitude towards this all-encompassing ‘mendicant thesis’, offers a preliminary re-evaluation of the topic from several complementary perspectives. Its aims are threefold: to clarify the chronology of the relevant art-historical literature, to consider the limits of the architectural evidence, and to contemplate the advantages and disadvantages of deploying such a deterministic interpretive model. Only by engaging each of these issues, I would argue, can we begin to move—in keeping with the laudable objective of the present volume—towards a subtler, richer, and more comprehensive architectural history of the parish church.
The origins of the mendicant thesis: Clapham and Gerstenberg
Over a century ago, Alfred Clapham, then a young architectural historian working on behalf of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, published an essay titled ‘The Friars as Builders’, which articulated for the first time in a coherent fashion a ‘mendicant thesis’ regarding the origins of parish church architecture in late-medieval England.2 Clapham’s essay, enriched by his pioneering research on the London Whitefriars and the London Blackfriars, appeared during a period of renewed scholarly interest in the capital’s former mendicant priories: sites at which few traces of medieval buildings remained visible above ground due to the ravages of the Reformation and the Great Fire.3 It employed information gleaned from textual sources, visual sources, and past piecemeal excavations, along with supplementary evidence obtained from other mendicant sites throughout the country, to reconstruct what was argued were the three salient features of mendicant church architecture: wide naves frequently equipped with aisles, narrow chancels rarely equipped with aisles, and intermediary ‘walking spaces’ capped, in many cases, by polygonal bell towers (Fig. 2).4
Clapham further contended that, because they maximised lay space and minimised clerical space, mendicant churches constituted purpose-built preaching halls that facilitated the popular evangelising mission of the orders occupying them. Curiously, however, he also believed that the monument that most perfectly embodied the mendicant ideal was one deviating to some degree from the aforementioned formula, at least to the extent that it granted equal space to the nave and the choir. This was the second London Greyfriars, begun around 1300, which constituted the largest mendicant church in England.5 The building featured a simple rectangular floor plan defined at the west end by an aisled nave and at the east end by an aisled choir as well as a skeletal elevation distinguished by tall piers and large windows (Fig. 3). Clapham believed that this cavernous structure was nothing less than the ‘final expression’ of ‘what a congregational church should be’.6 Moreover, he speculated that it was this congregational character that made the building a convenient prototype for parish church design throughout England. In order to bolster this proposal, he pointed out that the construction of the Greyfriars coincided with a transitional period in the development of the parochial system, one involving a shift in foundation patterns in new urban centres from large numbers of smaller churches to small numbers of larger churches. Trendsetting in this regard, he contended, were the churches of new royal towns founded by Edward I.7 One example, located in the north, was the chapel of the Holy Trinity in Kingston-on-Hull (East Riding, Yorkshire) (Fig. 4).8 Another example, located in the south, was the parish church in Winchelsea (Sussex) (Fig. 5).9 These buildings then paved the way for later iterations in the old merchant cities of intermediate regions such as Lincolnshire and East Anglia (Fig. 1). Clapham drew special attention to what he considered the first major lay church derived from mendicant prototypes: the large chapel-of-ease in Hull. He suggested that the building had much in common with the London Greyfriars—large aisled vessels, attenuated piers, massive windows—because it, like the priory church, was a quasi-royal project (Figs. 3 and 4). Hull Holy Trinity enjoyed the patronage of Edward I and Edward II. The London Greyfriars enjoyed the patronage of Queen Margaret (Edward I’s second wife and Edward II’s stepmother). It was this instrumental royal connection, according to Clapham, that expedited the creation of a new kind of spacious parish church that would dominate architectural production in England until the end of the Middle Ages. Thus, in his assessment, ‘the great Perpendicular parish church’ was nothing other than ‘the direct outcome and lineal descendant of the friars’ buildings’.10
In the same year that Clapham published ‘The Friars as Builders’, Kurt Gerstenberg, then a young art historian teaching at the University of Munich, published a book titled Deutsche Sondergotik, which articulated for the first time in a coherent fashion a ‘mendicant thesis’ regarding the origins of parish church architecture in late-medieval Germany.11 Gerstenberg’s polemic, because it revolved around the bipartite idea that High Gothic architecture had been invented in France and that Late Gothic architecture had been invented in Germany, emphasised the difference between these two styles by deploying a series of highly charged oppositions.12 High Gothic, as a purportedly rational aesthetic, was discussed in terms of linear forms and hierarchical spaces. Late Gothic, as a purportedly irrational aesthetic, was discussed in terms of painterly forms and non-hierarchical spaces. Each of the two styles, according to Gerstenberg, found its quintessential expression in a specific architectural type: High Gothic in the basilican church format and Late Gothic in the hall church format. The High Gothic basilican church, because it featured three parallel volumes of unequal height, fostered single-axial movement that created a clear division between the primary space of the main vessel and the secondary spaces of the side aisles. The Late Gothic hall church, because it featured three parallel volumes of more or less equal height, fostered multi-axial movement that eroded and elided such distinctions. Few buildings were thought to better represent the inferiority of the former and the superiority of the latter than the early-sixteenth-century Annenkirche in Annaberg (Saxony), a photograph of which functioned as the frontispiece to Deutsche Sondergotik (Fig. 6).
Gerstenberg believed that the hall church type was initially employed in mendicant churches for the pragmatic objective of facilitating preaching but was subsequently employed in parish churches for the ideological objective of fostering anti-ecclesiastical lay identity.13 The former claim regarding mendicant hall churches had little precedent in previous scholarship.14 The latter claim regarding parish hall churches however had strong antecedents in the work of earlier German scholars like Wilhelm Lübke and Cornelius Gurlitt.15 Lübke, the first scholar to formally employ the designation ‘hall church’ as a stand-alone art-historical category, had interpreted the configuration in secular terms by associating it with what he claimed were the egalitarian values of the urban middle classes.16 Gurlitt, in a different vein, had interpreted the configuration in religious terms by contrasting what he argued were the highly divergent functions of High Gothic basilican churches and Late Gothic hall churches, the former Catholic ceremonial and the latter being proto-Protestant preaching.17 For both nineteenth-century authors, then, the hall church represented a transitional type that indexed large-scale social change between the late-medieval and early-modern eras.18 Gerstenberg’s contribution was to incorporate these ambitious accounts into a larger etiological narrative involving the mendicant orders by means of a working method that prioritised the central role of space in the creation of architectural form, an approach deeply indebted to the work of August Schmarsow.19 The result was a multifaceted paradigm that conflated, in a highly suggestive manner, issues of form and issues of meaning in the study of medieval ecclesiastical architecture.
The popularisation of the mendicant thesis: Pevsner and his contemporaries
A crucial link between these two versions of the mendicant thesis, English and German, was the work of the prolific émigré architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner.20 Nowhere, perhaps, were his attitudes on the subject made clearer than in his survey text, An Outline of European Architecture, published in a first edition in 1942 and in a second—and heavily revised—edition in 1945.21 Paul Crossley, in an essay contextualising Pevsner’s highly contested views on the hall choir of St. Augustine’s Abbey in Bristol (now Bristol Cathedral),22 argued that three major concepts guided Pevsner’s interpretation of medieval architectural history: a programmatic emphasis on ‘space’ and ‘spatial expression’ derived from his doctoral adviser Wilhelm Pinder (himself a former student of Schmarsow); an art-historical attention to ‘style’ as an active force guided by fundamental principles inspired by the work of Heinrich Wölfflin; and an attention to the ‘spirit of the age’ inspired, in a general way, by the work of Georg Hegel and, in a specific way, by the work of Max Dvořák.23 Crossley noted that the second concept of ‘style’ allowed Pevsner to superimpose hitherto discrete models of stylistic periodisation employed by medieval architectural historians in England and in Germany: ‘Early English’, ‘Decorated’, and ‘Perpendicular’ for insular material and ‘Early Gothic’, ‘High Gothic’, and ‘Late Gothic’ for continental material. Crossley also noted that the third concept relating to the ‘spirit of the age’ allowed Pevsner to apply Gerstenberg’s concept of Sondergotik to buildings erected in a wide variety of regions located outside the confines of Germany, most notably to the hall church choir at Bristol (Fig. 7). With these observations in mind, then, it is less than surprising to find that Pevsner, in a chapter dedicated to ‘The Late Gothic Style’ in the second edition of Outline, attributed to the mendicant orders the dissemination of architectural ensembles marked by ‘spatial openness’ throughout Europe.24 He later articulated this view, with special respect to England, in The Englishness of English Art; there he advocated that the ‘large, easily surveyable, wide open spaces’ of Perpendicular parish churches in England, like those of Late Gothic parish churches in many other parts of Europe, had their origin in the ‘large preaching spaces’ of mendicant churches.25
Pevsner’s influence on the reception of the mendicant thesis was profound to the extent that many, if not most, scholars who subsequently examined the relationship between mendicant church architecture and parish church architecture followed his lead by relating the two in terms of ‘openness’, a tactic that quietly elided the form-and-function approach of Clapham and the space-and-society approach of Gerstenberg. Geoffrey Webb endorsed the bulk of the mendicant thesis in what remains, to date, the most comprehensive history of medieval architecture in Britain; he described both mendicant ‘originals’ and parochial ‘copies’ in terms of ‘openness’, ‘lightness’, and ‘unity of space effect’.26 Jean Bony, in his monograph on the Decorated style, examined the mendicant side of the equation; he interpreted the spatial integration of mendicant churches as evidence of the ‘new freedom in the handling of interior space’ that defined architectural production during the later thirteenth and earlier fourteenth centuries.27 John Harvey, in his monograph on the Perpendicular style, examined the parochial side of the equation; he interpreted the spatial integration of parish churches as evidence of the ‘internal unity’ that defined architectural production during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.28
All three scholars—Webb, Bony, and Harvey—agreed that a desire for preaching space drove the creation of the open configurations in question but disagreed on what constituted a preaching church in concrete terms. This confusion went back, in large part, to Clapham since his theory suggested that the same architectural class encompassed buildings as divergent as the choir at Hull and the choir at Winchelsea: the former having a two-storey interior elevation (an arcade with a clerestory), a flat east end, and a shallowly pitched panelled roof and the latter having a one-storey interior elevation (an arcade without a clerestory), a staggered east end, and a steeply pitched tie-beam-and-crown-post roof (Figs. 4 and 5). Webb, on the one hand, accepted the idea of a single mendicant-inspired architectural tradition anchored by the example of the London Greyfriars. However, unlike Clapham, he confronted head-on the contradiction in equating Hull and Winchelsea. Hull, as a basilican church, looked more like the assumed form of the Greyfriars and was thus included in the mendicant series. Winchelsea, as a hall church, looked less like the assumed form of the Greyfriars and was thus excluded from the mendicant series. Bony, on the other hand, rejected the idea of a single mendicant-inspired architectural tradition issuing from the London Greyfriars. He posited, instead, the existence of not one but two different families of buildings. The first, comprising two-storey aisled structures, was derived from lost, and hence undocumented, mendicant churches in the north. The second, comprising one-storey aisled structures, was derived from extant or partially extant, and hence documented, mendicant churches in the south. Both accounts, despite their admirable intent to improve the mendicant thesis, suffered serious flaws. Webb’s model neglected to grapple with the diversity of church types employed by the mendicants. Bony’s model, in attempting to address this very issue, imposed an artificial order on the archaeological record: it not only invented a ‘northern group’ of basilican churches for which there was no architectural evidence but also ignored, within a ‘southern group’ of hall churches, what were believed to be two-storey outliers (most notably the London Greyfriars). In light of these shortcomings, it comes as little surprise that Harvey, when he waded into the subject at all, took a very different approach, focusing not on the relationship between basilican churches and hall churches but on architectural motifs such as moulding profiles, arch types, and tracery patterns.
The limits of the evidence: the London Austin Friars and the Norwich Blackfriars
That there should exist a persistent ambiguity concerning hall churches and basilican churches in the literature associated with the mendicant thesis is less than surprising given the fact that too few monuments remain standing to provide a clear sense of the fundamental characteristics of mendicant architecture in medieval Britain. Indeed, in the case of aisled friary churches, only two out of what may have been dozens of pertinent examples survived into the modern era. The first, destroyed in the Second World War, was the nave of the Austin Friars in London (Fig. 8). The second, still standing, is the nave of the Blackfriars in Norwich (Fig. 9). Other aisled mendicant churches, many of which were either Dominican or Franciscan, are known only from fragmentary evidence gleaned from above-ground observation or below-ground excavation. To the Dominicans belonged examples in Bristol, Cardiff, Ipswich, London, and Oxford.29 To the Franciscans belonged examples in Cardiff, Coventry, Lichfield, London, Norwich, Reading, Walsingham, and Winchelsea.30 (Other known examples include the Canterbury Austin Friars, the Coventry Whitefriars, the Lincoln Whitefriars, the London Whitefriars, and the Norwich Whitefriars.)31 These buildings provide much information regarding the various plan layouts employed by the orders in their priory complexes but little information regarding the architectural features of the churches built on those sites.32 Thus, for concrete information, one must return to the two aforementioned churches in London and Norwich.
Less complicated, on the one hand, is the case of the nave of the London Austin Friars: a nine-bay structure, measuring 45.4 metres by 27.1 metres internally, which took the form of a hall church (Fig. 8).33 (The clerestory-like windows installed in the six eastern bays of the roof were inserted in a post-fire renovation of 1863–5.) Documentary evidence indicates that the building, which replaced a later thirteenth-century church located on a separate site within the priory, was constructed between the 1340s and the 1370s.34 Stylistic evidence, most notably the consistency of the tracery patterns employed in the aisle windows and in the west gable wall, demonstrates that it was completed in one more or less cohesive campaign.35 Significant, from an architectural perspective, is the fact that the edifice was begun well after the expansion of the London Blackfriars and the London Greyfriars.36 Whether its hall church format was similar to or different from those of the two earlier buildings is impossible to determine.37 But the utilisation of such a configuration suggests that a single-storey interior was seen as a perfectly viable choice for an ambitious mendicant community a century after the arrival of the friars in England.
More complicated, on the other hand, is the case of the nave of the Norwich Blackfriars: a seven-bay structure, measuring 36.9 metres by 21.3 metres internally, which takes the form of a basilican church (Fig. 9).38 Documentary evidence indicates that the edifice was built between the 1320s and the 1340s and, following a devastating fire in 1413, rebuilt between the 1420s and 1440s.39 The nature of the changes made between these two phases of construction remains unclear. Tracery patterns in five of the south aisle windows are of fourteenth-century date. This confirms that a significant portion of the walling—and, hence, the configuration of the plan—belongs to the same period. But the rest of the architectural details, including the whole of the interior elevations in the central vessel, are of fifteenth-century date. This demonstrates the difficulty of determining whether the introduction of a clerestory level was an idea that originated in the earlier or later campaign. Either solution is possible. The fact that the clerestory-as-built features the only heraldic decoration to be found anywhere on the exterior of the building—a series of escutcheons containing the arms of Sir Thomas Erpingham (d. 1428), former chamberlain and steward under Henry IV, who was one of the major patrons of the project—lends support to the notion that the upper storey may have been a conspicuous fifteenth-century addition.40 It does not, however, fully resolve the matter. Thus, not unlike its now-destroyed counterpart in the capital, the building conveys rather limited information concerning the hallmarks of mendicant church design in England during the decades preceding the Black Death.
It certainly cannot be denied that the London Austin Friars and the Norwich Blackfriars, viewed as they survived into the modern era, exhibit many architectural features that also define roughly contemporaneous parish churches. What remains an open question, however, is whether they deserve to be interpreted as reverberations of lost originals that should, in turn, be credited as prototypes for a long tradition of church planning in late-medieval England.
Model, copy, or experiment? The case of the London Greyfriars
A striking case in point concerning this interpretive dilemma is the pivotal example of the London Greyfriars (Fig. 3).41 Scholars have long assumed, exclusively on the basis of textual and visual versus physical evidence, that the demolished church was, in its original state, a basilican structure. That the plan of the building featured an aisled seven-bay nave and an aisled seven-bay choir, as well as an intermediary walking space, is certain. E. B. S. Shepherd, utilising a series of antiquarian descriptions of the building as well as a limited amount of topographical data from the site itself, provided a more-or-less authoritative reconstruction of the arrangement in 1902.42 That the elevation of the building featured a clerestory range from the fourteenth century onward is, by contrast, much less certain. The only evidence for its existence comes from an ambiguous early-seventeenth-century map of the former priory site, made in conjunction with a series of survey drawings, now bound into a single volume, drawn up for nearby St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (London, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, HC 19).43 Deciphering the map is difficult because it employs an idiosyncratic graphic convention combining plan and elevation in the same isometric field (Fig. 10).44 Shepherd, noting that the textual evidence of the convent’s register—a source compiled from various earlier materials in the later 1520s—contained much information on the glazing of the ground-level windows but no information on the glazing of the putative clerestory windows, argued that the upper storey was a later addition to the building; he thus suggested that the first design was similar to the one-storey scheme of the nave at the London Austin Friars and that the second design was similar to the two-storey scheme of the nave at the Norwich Blackfriars.45 Clapham, accepting the visual evidence of the map at face value, argued that the upper storey was an original feature; he therefore suggested that the design, which he believed was nothing less than ‘a new and original idea in church building’, set a standard to which later mendicant structures either did or did not conform.46
My own analysis of the map to which both scholars made reference, undertaken in conjunction with an examination of all the urban topographical drawings contained in SBH HC 19, indicates that many of its architectural details should not be taken literally. Very telling in this regard is a series of three depictions of the church of St. Bartholomew-the-Less, the chapel-cum-parish-church associated with St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, on folios 51, 52, and 58 (all of which, on the basis of various graphic affinities, appear to have been completed by the same draughtsman). The first, folio 51, illustrates the interior of the church in considerable detail with its elevations folded outward (Fig. 11). The second, folio 52, depicts the hospital site at a smaller scale (Fig. 12). The third, folio 58 depicts hospital site at a larger scale (Fig. 13). The purpose of each of these maps was, first and foremost, to document existing property boundaries. Thus, despite their flair for architectural detail, they do not attempt to capture the physical appearance of the church in a consistent manner. The southwest tower is omitted in all three views: an understandable convention, made for clarity, that is also deployed in the map of the former mendicant site. The number of windows is inconsistent from drawing to drawing. And, most tellingly, a notional clerestory is absent from the smaller-scale exterior view on folio 52 and present in the larger-scale exterior view on folio 58 (Figs. 12b and 13b). Later views of the south side of the church make clear that, before its radical transformation in 1793 and 1823, St. Bartholomew-the-Less was a single-storey structure.47 It would seem, then, that the draughtsman responsible for the maps made the decision to include or exclude an upper storey for purely ornamental reasons: he added it at a larger scale where space was more abundant and subtracted it at a smaller scale where space was less abundant. Thus, in the case of the map of the Greyfriars, it would be unwise to assign too much weight to the presence of a clerestory since the feature may simply have been included in order to emphasise the general size, scale, or importance of the former mendicant establishment.
Returning, then, to the divergent views of Shepherd and Clapham, it becomes clear that one of the major problems in determining the architectural layout of a demolished building is that scholars are forced to work their way backward from surviving ‘replicas’ to lost ‘prototypes’, thereby opening themselves up to the possibility of incorrectly attributing any number of elements from the former to the latter. This problem was particularly acute in the case of assessing the relationship between the London Greyfriars and Hull Holly Trinity (Figs. 3 and 4). Clapham, intent on demonstrating a causal link between mendicant church architecture and parish church architecture, sought a convincing point of contact between the two traditions; he found it, he believed, in the form of common royal patrons. He thus assumed that the earlier ‘original’ in London, like the later ‘copy’ in Hull, possessed not only a large rectangular plan (for which there was much evidence) but also lean arcade piers and luminous clerestory windows (for which, at least at the time, there was little evidence). Clapham’s successors, following the same logic, highlighted another possible point of contact between the two buildings in the form of a common architect: Walter of Hereford (fl. 1277, d. 1309). Harvey, citing royal documents collated in the 1950s, observed that Hereford, a leading mason in the King’s Works, had occupied a central role in the design of the London Greyfriars; he therefore speculated, in line with Clapham, that the same architect, who was known to have completed work on behalf of the crown at various locations in northern England and in southern Scotland, also might have designed the chapel-of-ease for Edward’s new town at Hull.48 Christopher Wilson, citing stone fragments recovered during archaeological excavations at the Greyfriars site during the 1970s, further observed that the churches in London and Hull possessed arcade piers whose similar sections—quatrefoils with sunken diagonal chamfers—pointed to the authorship of a single architect; he therefore seconded the hypothesis concerning Hereford.49 The findings of both scholars represented an undeniable step forward in the analysis of possible modes of exchange between mendicant church planners and parish church planners; however, they obscured a possible point of difference between the Greyfriars and Holy Trinity, namely their upper elevations. This divergence calls into question, I would suggest, any simple explanation of the connection between the two monuments. It also undermines the claims of the mendicant thesis itself by casting doubt on what has long been prized as the crucial link between mendicant church architecture and parish church architecture.
This is not to say that there did not exist any kind of relationship between these two architectural traditions. But it is likely that, whatever the connection may have been, it was a much more complex one involving simultaneous experiments at a variety of sites across the country. Crossley, in an insightful article on the parish church at Stone near Dartford (Kent), suggested this very idea when he observed that, from the mid-thirteenth century, the multifaceted demands of building patrons encouraged the cross-fertilisation of previously disparate architectural genres.50 He argued that a select number of parish hall church structures such as the earlier nave at Stone and the later choir at Winchelsea, themselves based on great hall prototypes inflected by ecclesiastical models, constituted ‘a notional point of departure for the rich experiments in hall or hall-like structures undertaken by London and royal masons in the reign of Edward I’ (most notably the London Greyfriars).51 Congruent with this hypothesis is Mark Samuel’s recent contention that the architecture of the London friaries should be seen as the work of masons who engaged in a kind of ‘localism’ akin to that discernible at other mendicant sites in Norwich, Ipswich, and Canterbury.52 Such a model, in contrast to the mendicant thesis, highlights the notable diversity of architectural production during the period, thereby leaving open the possibility that those involved in building matters, whether architects or patrons, experimented with different kinds of building configurations in ways that confound modern notions of architectural typology.
My goal in this essay has been neither to prove nor to disprove the tenets of the mendicant thesis—or, really, mendicant theses—but rather to supply a clearer account of its genesis as a historiographical phenomenon. Indeed, given the limits of the surviving evidence, it appears that the nature of the relationship between mendicant church architecture and parish church architecture will remain murky in the absence of new discoveries. But the preceding analysis does bring to light two long-term trends in art-historical scholarship on the topic. The first is a tendency to employ an ever-shifting array of formal qualities, either structural (Clapham) or spatial (Gerstenberg), to define a single functionally driven architectural type: ‘the preaching church’. The second is a tendency to embrace the idea that formal innovation took place at ‘major’ monuments such as mendicant churches versus ‘minor’ monuments such as parish churches. Fortunately, over the past several decades, both views have begun to give way to more nuanced paradigms that frame spare-and-spacious church interiors as flexible vehicles not only for preaching but also for popular devotion, inhumation, and commemoration as well as various forms of individual and institutional self-promotion. Recent studies of mendicant churches, particularly those in continental contexts, have focused on their role as sites for both clerical and lay intervention and their importance as urban monuments.53 Recent studies of parish churches, particularly those in insular contexts, have focused on their role as sites for both higher-status and lower-status investment and their importance as community centres.54 Overlap between these growing bodies of literature—both of which foreground processes of alteration, adaptation, and innovation—is relatively rare. Nonetheless, there are signs that scholars have begun to abandon the framework of the mendicant thesis, at least in part. Wilson, on the one hand, has argued that, by the early-fourteenth century, ‘prototypes of the major late medieval parish church existed in limited numbers in eastern England’, a generalising view that would seem to drastically reduce the central role of the London Greyfriars.55 Binski, on the other hand, has argued that mendicant church-building and parish church-building, as pursued during the reign of Edward I, were nothing less than ‘mutually informing’ endeavours.56 Such open-ended models are highly advantageous, I would argue, because they re-conceptualise both mendicant churches and parish churches as loci for vibrant creativity during the late Middle Ages.
 Paul Binski, ‘The English Parish Church and its Art in the Later Middle Ages: A Review of the Problem’, Studies in Iconography 20 (1999): p. 2.
 Alfred W. Clapham, ‘The Friars as Builders’, in Alfred W. Clapham and Walter H. Godfrey, Some Famous Buildings and Their Story (Westminster: Technical Journals, 1913), pp. 241–67. The essay had appeared several years beforehand, though in somewhat different form, as ‘Architecture of the Friars in England’, parts 1 and 2, The Antiquary 6:6 and 6:7 (1910): pp. 224–9, 248–53. The earlier version differs from the later version in several intriguing ways, most notably in that it cites as a basis for the idea that there existed a determinative connection between mendicant church architecture and parish church architecture the work of E. S. Prior. See Clapham, ‘Architecture of the Friars’, p. 252. The novelty of Clapham’s thesis quickly becomes apparent when examined in conjunction with general analyses of mendicant churches and parish churches in Francis Bond’s contemporary survey of Gothic architecture in England. See Francis Bond, An Introduction to English Church Architecture from the Eleventh to the Sixteenth Century, volume one (London: Oxford University Press, 1913), pp. 167–9, 177–94.
 Only the nave of one of the four great mendicant churches in the city, the Austin Friars (home to the Augustinians), remained intact into the twentieth century. (The structure, popularly called the Dutch Church on account of its occupation by Protestant refugees from the Low Countries after the Reformation, was subsequently destroyed during the Blitz.) See, for Clapham’s reconstructions of the London Whitefriars and the London Blackfriars (home, respectively, to the Carmelites and to the Dominicans), A. W. Clapham, ‘The Topography of the Carmelite Priory of London’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, second series, 16 (1910): pp. 15–32; Alfred W. Clapham, ‘On the Topography of the Dominican Priory of London’, Archaeologia 63 (1912): 57–84. (Neither article appears to have been occasioned by contemporaneous excavation work.) The plan of the church at the London Greyfriars, which belonged to the Franciscans, had been reconstructed a decade beforehand in E. B. S. Shepherd, ‘The Church of the Friars Minors in London’, Archaeological Journal 59 (1902): pp. 238–87. Scholarly understanding of these complex sites has continued to evolve. See, for recent studies, Jens Röhrkasten, The Mendicant Houses of Medieval London 1221–1539 (Münster: LIT, 2004); Christopher Thomas and Bruce Watson, ‘The Mendicant Houses of Medieval London: An Archaeological Review’, in Nicholas Rogers (ed.), The Friars in Medieval Britain: Proceedings of the 2007 Harlaxton Symposium, Harlaxton Medieval Studies XIX (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2010), pp. 265–97; Nick Holder et al, The Friaries of Medieval London: From Foundation to Dissolution (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2017).
 Clapham cited over a dozen former mendicant sites, most of which were in various states of ruin, scattered throughout Britain – an impressive feat given the fact that no survey on the subject had been published at the time he wrote. The following list compiles all the sites referenced in the essay. (Items in brackets represent citations present in the first edition of 1910 but absent in the second edition of 1913.) (1) Dominican sites: [Bristol]; [Canterbury]; Hereford; London; Norwich. (2) Franciscan sites: Chichester; Coventry; Dunwich; [Gloucester]; London; Lynn; [Reading]; Richmond; Walsingham; Winchelsea; [Yarmouth]. (3) Carmelite sites: Hulne; London; [Lynn]; [Stamford]. (4) Augustinian sites: London; [Ludlow]; Rye; Warrington. See, for later surveys, A. R. Martin, Franciscan Architecture in England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1937); William A. Hinnebusch, The Early English Friars Preachers (Rome: Institutum historicum Ff. Praedicatorum ad S. Sabinae, 1951); Deirdre O’Sullivan, In the Company of the Preachers: The Archaeology of Medieval Friaries in England and Wales (Leicester: Leicester Archaeology Monographs, 2013). Also notable for its analysis of the relationship between mendicant building in England and mendicant building on the Continent is Wolfgang Schenkluhn, Architektur der Bettelorden: die Baukunst der Dominikaner und Franziskaner in Europa (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2000), pp. 144–53.
 Clapham’s primary source of information concerning the layout of the London Greyfriars was Shepherd, ‘Church of the Friars Minors’. Much of the documentary evidence cited therein was published in due course in Charles Lethbridge Kingsford, The Grey Friars of London: Their History with the Register of Their Convent and an Appendix of Documents (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1915). Both sources were critical for the analysis offered in Martin, Franciscan Architecture in England, pp. 176–204. Subsequent investigations of the former priory site have done little to alter the general conclusions reached by Shepherd, Kingsford, and Martin. See, for the most recent assessment (which argues that the nave was begun in the 1290s and that the choir was begun in 1306), Holder, Friaries of Medieval London, pp. 66–96.
 Clapham, ‘Friars as Builders’, p. 250.
 It remains unclear how Clapham reached this remarkable conclusion regarding the king’s trendsetting urban initiatives. Royal town planning does not appear to have been a major topic of scholarly research at the turn of the century. One of the earliest essays to examine it was T. F. Tout, ‘Medieval Town Planning’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 4:1 (1917): pp. 26–58. This work, in turn, inspired what remains the authoritative treatment of the subject: Maurice Beresford, New Towns of the Middle Ages: Town Plantation in England, Wales, and Gascony (London: Lutterworth, 1967).
 See, concerning Hull Holy Trinity, David Neave and Susan Neave, Hull, Pevsner City Guides (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 39–47. This description, informed by the observations of Christopher Wilson, supersedes that found in Nikolaus Pevsner, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, Buildings of England (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972). The precise date of the construction of the choir remains a point of controversy. One theory, which assumes that it was the first structure on the site, proposes a date of c.1320–c.1340. See the short catalogue entry by Nicola Coldstream, in Jonathan Alexander and Paul Binski (eds.), Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England, 1200–1400 (London: V&A, 1987), p. 228. Another theory, which assumes that it was the second structure on the site, proposes a date of c.1340–c.1370. See Neave and Neave, Hull, pp. 39–40, 42. Both sides agree, however, that the distinctive brick-built transept arms of the church were erected shortly after the re-foundation of the town as a royal borough in 1299.
 See, concerning St. Thomas, Winchelsea, Nikolaus Pevsner and Nicholas Antram, Sussex: East with Brighton and Hove, Pevsner Architectural Guides (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), pp. 671–3. This description supersedes that found in Nikolaus Pevsner and Ian Nairn, Sussex, Buildings of England (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965). It is generally assumed that the choir dates to shortly after the foundation of the town as a royal borough in 1288–90.
 Clapham, ‘Friars as Builders’, pp. 253, 255.
 Kurt Gerstenberg, Deutsche Sondergotik: eine Untersuchung über das Wesen der deutschen Baukunst im späten Mittelalter (Munich: Delphin-Verlag, 1913). See, for an introduction to Gerstenberg’s place in the historiography of medieval architecture, Jan Białostocki, ‘Late Gothic: Disagreements about the Concept’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, third series, 29 (1966): pp. 91–92. The concept of Sondergotik, long popular in art-historical writing (especially in Germany), has fallen out of favour over the past several decades. See, for a critique involving issues of structure, Norbert Nussbaum, German Gothic Church Architecture, (trans.) Scott Kleager (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 93–8, 137–9, 157–61. See, for a critique involving issues of ornament, Ethan Matt Kavaler, Renaissance Gothic: Architecture and the Arts in Northern Europe, 1470–1540 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), pp. 27–41. Both sources are rich with further bibliography.
 Gerstenberg, Deutsche Sondergotik, pp. 21–51.
 Gerstenberg, Deutsche Sondergotik, pp. 19, 23, 131, 171–4.
 Gerstenberg’s ingenuity in this regard is asserted in Nussbaum, German Gothic Church Architecture, p. 93.
 Lübke’s influence is discussed in Nussbaum, German Gothic Church Architecture, pp. 93, 238, note 284. Gurlitt’s influence is discussed in Białostocki, ‘Late Gothic’, pp. 82–3. Gerstenberg, who cites both authors in his text, includes their major works in his bibliography. See Gerstenberg, Deutsche Sondergotik, pp. 188–90.
 See Wilhelm Lübke, Die mittelalterliche Kunst in Westfalen (Leipzig: T. O. Weigel, 1853).
 See Cornelius Gurlitt, Kunst und Künstler am Vorabend der Reformation (Halle: Verein für Reformationsgeschichte, 1890).
 Many similar interpretations of the hall church configuration continued to circulate in art-historical scholarship until the late-twentieth century. See, for critical investigations of major themes, Hans-Joachim Kunst, ‘Zur Ideologie der deutschen Hallenkirche als Einheitsraum’, Architectura 1 (1971): pp. 38–53; Wolfgang Schenkluhn, ‘Die Erfindung der Hallenkirche in der Kunstgeschichte’, Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft 22 (1989): pp. 193–202; Pierre Sesmat, ‘Les “églises-halles”: histoire d’un espace sacré (XIIe–XVIIIe siècle)’, Bulletin monumental 163:1 (2005): pp. 3–78; Klaus Jan Philipp, ‘Hallenkirche “reloaded.” Die Halle als ideale Kirchenbauform des Spätmittelalters’, in Norbert Nussbaum (ed.), Die gebrauchte Kirche: Symposium und Vortragsreihe anlässlich des Jubiläums der Hochaltarweihe der Stadtkirche Unserer Lieben Frau in Friedberg (Hessen) 1306–2006 (Stuttgart: Theiss, 2010), pp. 13–22.
 Nussbaum, German Gothic Church Architecture, p. 12; Białostocki, ‘Late Gothic’, pp. 83–4. Gerstenberg, who cites all three authors, includes their major works in his bibliography. See Gerstenberg, Deutsche Sondergotik, pp. 188–90. Schmarsow’s formative place in modern architectural historiography is expounded in Mitchell W. Schwarzer, ‘The Emergence of Architectural Space: August Schmarsow’s Theory of “Raumgestaltung”’, Assemblage 15 (1991): pp. 48–61.
 See, for an overview, Paul Crossley, ‘Introduction’, in Peter Draper (ed.), Reassessing Nikolaus Pevsner (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 1–25. Also see, in the same volume, Nicola Coldstream, ‘Nikolaus Pevsner and Medieval Studies in Britain’, pp. 113–27; Andrew Causey, ‘Pevsner and Englishness’, pp. 161–74.
 A useful survey of the many revisions that this now-classic text has undergone is the preface to Nikolaus Pevsner and Michael Forsyth, An Outline of European Architecture, revised edition (London: Thames & Hudson, 2009), pp. 6–7.
 Nikolaus Pevsner, ‘Bristol, Troyes, Gloucester: The Character of the Early Fourteenth Century in Architecture’ Architectural Review 113 (1953): pp. 89–98. Two more recent essays have taken strongly divergent views of Pevsner’s contention that, at the time of its construction, the choir was one of the most innovative buildings in Europe. See, for a negative response, Richard K. Morris, ‘European Prodigy or Regional Eccentric? The Rebuilding of St Augustine’s Abbey Church, Bristol’, in Laurence Keen (ed.), ‘Almost the Richest City’: Bristol in the Middle Ages (Leeds: British Archaeological Association, 1997), pp. 41–56. See, for a positive response, Christopher Wilson, ‘Gothic Metamorphosed: The Choir of St Augustine’s Abbey in Bristol and the Renewal of European Architecture around 1300’, in Jon Cannon and Beth Williamson (eds.), The Medieval Art, Architecture and History of Bristol Cathedral: An Enigma Explored (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2011), pp. 69–147.
 Paul Crossley, ‘Bristol Cathedral and Nikolaus Pevsner: Sondergotik in the West Country’, in Cannon and Williamson, Bristol Cathedral, pp. 190–2.
 Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline of European Architecture, second edition (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1945), pp. 70–1.
 Nikolaus Pevsner, ‘Perpendicular England’, in The Englishness of English Art: An Expanded and Annotated Version of the Reith Lectures Broadcast in October and November 1955 (London: Architectural Press, 1956), p. 94.
 Geoffrey Webb, Architecture in Britain: The Middle Ages (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1956), pp. 170–3.
 Jean Bony, The English Decorated Style: Gothic Architecture Transformed, 1250–1350 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979), pp. 33–4.
 John Harvey, The Perpendicular Style, 1330–1485 (London: Batsford, 1978), p. 67.
 See Hinnebusch, Early English Friars Preachers, pp. 135–48; Schenkluhn, Architektur der Bettelorden, pp. 145–9; O’Sullivan, Company of the Preachers, pp. 67–71, 94–6, 175–8, 220–5, 277–80.
 See Martin, Franciscan Architecture in England, pp. 13–29; Schenkluhn, Architektur der Bettelorden, pp. 149–53; O’Sullivan, Company of the Preachers, pp. 96–8, 123–5, 203–6, 225–30, 265–9, 291–3, 328–31, and 338–41.
 See O’Sullivan, Company of the Preachers, pp. 85–6, 118–22, 206–8, 216–19, 257–60.
 One notable exception is the London Blackfriars. Among numerous architectural fragments excavated from the site during the early twentieth century were pieces of the nave arcade piers, made of Purbeck, which featured a quatrefoil section measuring 86 cm, moulded bases, and moulded capitals. See William Martin and Sidney Toy, ‘The Black Friars in London: A Chapter in National History’, Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society 5:4 (1928): pp. 353–79.
 The best account of the priory is now Holder, Friaries of Medieval London, pp. 119–41. Still invaluable, however, is the pre-demolition survey published by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London: Vol. IV, The City (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1929), pp. 32–4. The nave underwent considerable restoration following a major fire in 1862. See, for a pre-restoration account of the fabric, Thomas Hugo, ‘Austin Friars’, Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society 2:4 (1864): pp. 1–15. See, for a post-restoration account of the fabric, Edward I’Anson, ‘Account of the Restoration of the Dutch Church, Austin Friars’, Sessional Papers of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1865–66): pp. 67–75.
 See Holder, Friaries of Medieval London, p. 126.
 See Hugo, ‘Austin Friars’, plates inset between pp. 18–19.
 The expansion of the former began c.1280. The reconstruction of the latter began c.1290. See, for further analysis of the role of the two buildings in popularising a ‘new abbatial form of friary church’ from the late-thirteenth century, Holder, Friaries of Medieval London, pp. 178–9, 182.
 The curious theory that the arcades were of late-fifteenth-century date and that the roof was of early-seventeenth-century date is advanced, without corroborating documentary evidence, in Hugo, ‘Austin Friars’, pp. 18–19; I’Anson, ‘Restoration of the Dutch Church’, p. 67.
 The best account of the priory is still Helen Sutermeister, The Norwich Blackfriars: An Historical Guide to the Friary and Its Buildings up to the Present Day (Norwich: City of Norwich, 1977). Additional sources include T. J. Pettigrew, ‘Convent of Black Friars, Norwich’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 14 (1858): pp. 110–23; C. F. R. Palmer, ‘The Friar-Preachers, or Black Friars, of Norwich’, The Reliquary 2:3 (July 1888): pp. 151–70, 2:4 (October 1888), pp. 210–14, 3:1 (January 1889), pp. 42–9, 3:2 (April 1889), pp. 98–103; Ernest A. Kent, ‘Notes on the Blackfriars’ Hall, or Dutch Church, Norwich’, Norfolk Archaeology 22 (1926): pp. 86–108; Percy A. Nash, ‘The Sackfriars’ and Blackfriars’ Conventual Buildings in the Parishes of St Andrew and St Peter Hungate, Norwich: Excavations in the Winter of 1910-11’, Norfolk Archaeology 22 (1926): pp. 370–82; F. C. Elliston Erwood, ‘The Norwich Blackfriars’, Archaeological Journal 106 (1949): pp. 90–4; Francis Woodman, ‘The Blackfriars, Norwich’, Archaeological Journal 137 (1980): pp. 316–17.
 Sutermeister, Norwich Blackfriars, pp. 1–7.
 See, concerning the career of Thomas Erpingham, Anne Curry et al, ‘Sir Thomas Erpingham’, in Anne Curry (ed.), Agincourt, 1415: Henry V, Sir Thomas Erpingham and the Triumph of the English Archers (Stroud: Tempus, 2000), pp. 53–110. The matter of his involvement at the Blackfriars is discussed at pp. 82–3. There is a long antiquarian tradition, cited as fact by Sutermeister, that the individual responsible for this act of architectural patronage was a putative son of Sir Thomas. See Sutermeister, Norwich Blackfriars, p. 21. Scholars now agree, however, that the famous knight died without issue. See, on the complex genealogy, Curry, ‘Sir Thomas Erpingham’, pp. 56–7.
 See, for relevant bibliography, notes 3 and 5.
 Shepherd, ‘Church of the Friars Minors’, pp. 247–54.
 The map was first reproduced in John Edward Price, ‘On Recent Discoveries in Newgate Street’, Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society 5 (1881): pp. 403–24. The drawing has been attributed to either Edward Mansell or Martin Llewellyn. See, for a brief discussion, Holder, Friaries of Medieval London, p. 78, note 30.
 Earlier visualisations of the church are maddeningly contradictory. Wyngaerde’s panorama of c.1544 depicts a taller nave and a shorter choir, both lacking recognisable aisles, and a large central tower. The so-called ‘copperplate’ map of the 1550s depicts a nave and a choir of equal height, each with a continuous two-part roof over a notional aisle and a main vessel (without clerestory walls), and a small central tower. See, for reproductions, Holder, Friaries of Medieval London, p. 80, figures 23, 24.
 Shepherd, ‘Church of the Friars Minors’, p. 254.
 Clapham, ‘Friars as Builders’, p. 250.
 See, for instance, an etching of the south flank of the building by Robert West and William Henry Toms printed in 1739: London Picture Archive, accessed 1 June 2021, https://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/view-item?i=320865.
 John Harvey and Arthur Oswald, English Mediaeval Architects: A Biographical Dictionary down to 1550 (London: B. T. Batsford, 1954), pp. 126–7.
 Christopher Wilson, ‘The Origins of the Perpendicular Style and Its Development to circa 1360’ (Ph.D. diss., Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1979), p. 370, note 64. The fragments in question are held at the Guildhall Museum, Museum of London (GF 73<51>). The earliest known piers to feature sunken diagonal mouldings are those in the nave at the former collegiate church of St. Peter, Howden (East Riding, Yorkshire), which have been dated to the 1260s. They feature sunken hollow mouldings versus sunken chamfers (like those at the London Greyfriars and Hull Holy Trinity). See Nicola Coldstream, ‘St Peter’s Church, Howden’, in Christopher Wilson (ed.), Medieval Art and Architecture in the East Riding of Yorkshire (London: British Archaeological Association, 1989), pp. 109–20.
 Paul Crossley, ‘The Nave of Stone Church in Kent’, Architectural History 44 (2001): pp. 195–211.
 Crossley, ‘Nave of Stone Church in Kent’, pp. 207–8.
 Mark Samuel, ‘Architecture and Architectural Fragments of the London Friaries’, in Holder, Friaries of Medieval London, pp. 223–6.
 See, for instance, Thomas Coomans, ‘L’architecture médiévale des ordres mendiants (Franciscains, Dominicains, Carmes et Augustins) en Belgique et aux Pays-Bas’, Revue belge d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’art 70 (2001): pp. 3–111; Panayota Volti, Les couvents des ordres mendiants et leur environnement à la fin du Moyen Âge: Le nord de la France et les anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 2003); Achim Todenhöfer, Kirchen der Bettelorden: Die Baukunst der Dominikaner und Franziskaner in Sachsen-Anhalt (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 2010); Donal Cooper, ‘Access All Areas? Spatial Divides in the Mendicant Churches of Late Medieval Tuscany’, in Frances Andrews (ed.), Ritual and Space in the Middle Ages: Proceedings of the Harlaxton Symposium 2009 (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2011), pp. 90–107; Caroline Bruzelius, Preaching, Building, and Burying: Friars and the Medieval City (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014).
 See, for instance, C. Pamela Graves, The Form and Fabric of Belief: An Archaeology of the Lay Experience of Religion in Medieval Norfolk and Devon, British Archaeological Reports British Series 311 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2000); T. A. Heslop, ‘Swaffham Parish Church: Community Building in Fifteenth Century Norfolk’, in Christopher Harper-Bill (ed.), Medieval East Anglia (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2005), pp. 246–71; Simon Roffey, The Medieval Chantry Chapel: An Archaeology (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2007); Katherine French, ‘Rebuilding St. Margaret’s: Parish Involvement and Community Action in Late Medieval Westminster’, Journal of Social History 45:1 (2011): pp. 148–71; Linda Monckton, ‘“The beste and fairest of al Lincolnshire”: The Parish Church of St Botolph, Boston’, in Sally Badham and Paul Cockerham (eds.), ‘The best and fayrest of al Lincolnshire’: The Church of St Botolph, Boston, Lincolnshire, and its Medieval Monuments, British Archaeological Reports British Series 554 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2012), pp. 29–48; Gabriel Byng, Church Building and Society in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Nigel Saul, Lordship and Faith: The English Gentry and the Parish Church in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
 Christopher Wilson, ‘“Excellent, New and Uniforme”: Perpendicular Architecture c.1400–1547’, in Richard Marks and Paul Williamson (eds.) Gothic: Art for England 1400–1547 (London: V&A, 2003), p. 104.
 Paul Binski, Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice and the Decorated Style 1290–1350 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), p. 93.