Project Blog

Welcome to the project blog! Here you will find short articles created by members of the project team detailing new research, elements of the technical development process and our participation at conferences and events.

Tuesday 16th June 2020 | Kirsty Wright

This is the first in a new series of posts on the latest research into St Stephen's. The original AHRC-funded project, which ran from 2013 to 2017, focused on researching St Stephen's Chapel itself. The success of this project suggested many avenues for further research, which resulted in the follow-on AHRC project 'Listening to the Commons', which ran from February 2017 to July 2018. However, there was still a clear need to research the re-use of the other collegiate buildings after the dissolution of St. Stephen's College. This inspired two new PhD projects at the University of York, Kirsty Wright in the History Department and Murray Tremellen in History of Art, which will investigate the history of these buildings from 1600 up to the great fire of 1834. Although these PhDs are separate from the original St. Stephen's project, we have been working closely with the original project team, and we are delighted to have been invited to revive this blog and build on the legacy of the original project.

Friday 7th July 2017 | Dr John Cooper

Looking back on the St Stephen’s Project, there have been numerous high points during our four years of research. A lasting memory will be the day in June 2015 when we brought the sacred music of Nicholas Ludford back to the site of St Stephen’s Chapel for the first time since the Reformation, sung by the choir of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. Thanks to a grant from the University of York’s Strategic Initiative Fund, we were able to employ a professional film crew to record this unique event. Watch and listen here.

St Stephen's Hall, the Palace of Westminster, looking west. © Parliamentary Estates Directorate.
Wednesday 20th July 2016 | Dr Caroline Shenton

“It is my object, as an architect”, Charles Barry told MPs considering the decoration of the New Houses of Parliament in 1841, “to give the most striking effect to the building as a whole, and I think that the effect of architecture can in no way be so highly enhanced as by the arts of painting and sculpture”.

The Coronation of St Edward the Confessor, Thirteenth-Century Mural in the Painted Chamber, the Palace of Westminster, recorded by Charles Stothard. Coloured engraving, published in the sixth volume of Vetusta Monumenta, 1821-1885.
Monday 20th June 2016 | Jennifer Caddick

In this month's blog post, Jennifer Caddick of the University of York explores the use of the medieval Place of Westminster's Painted Chamber as the meeting place for parliaments. How did its lavishly decorated walls inspire and inform proceedings?

Westminster Abbey and the Parliament House from the Thames, unknown artist. Pen on paper, 1515-1532. © The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, E,128-1924.
Friday 13th May 2016 | Dr Mark Collins

In this month’s blog post, Dr Mark Collins, Archivist and Historian of the Parliamentary Estates Directorate, explores recent archaeological discoveries at the Palace of Westminster. Excavations by Museum of London Archaeology in Black Rod’s garden uncover evidence for the Tudor riverfront of the medieval palace, timber posts and fragments of high-status encaustic tile.

Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley, unknown artist. Oil on panel, late-sixteenth to early-seventeenth century. © The National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 3783.
Wednesday 13th April 2016 | Dr Elizabeth Biggs

In this month’s blog post, our Project’s Ph.D. Student Researcher, Elizabeth Biggs, opens a fascinating window into the House of Commons, from archival sources uncovered in the Huntington Library, California. The story is one of the vicissitudes of sixteenth century fashion, the suggestive power of institutional memory and the precedents for galleries inside the Commons Chamber itself.

The English and Scottish Commissioners present to Queen Anne at St James’s Palace the Articles of Agreement for the Parliamentary Union of the Two Countries, 1707, by Sir Thomas Monnington. Oil on canvas, 1928. © Palace of Westminster Collection, WOA 2599.
Wednesday 14th October 2015 | James Ford

James Ford of the University of Nottingham examines the continuing significance of one of the 'Building of Britain' murals in St Stephen's Hall. Thomas Monnington's monumental commemoration of the 1707 Act of Union provoked differing responses when unveiled, and its subject still resonates in current debate on the nature, and future, of the Union itself.

The Martyrdom of St John the Evangelist, carved and painted boss, 1858-1863. Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, Palace of Westminster.
Monday 14th September 2015 | Dr James Hillson

In this month's blog post our Associate Researcher, [James Hillson](http://www.virtualststephens.org.uk/users/jeh536yorkacuk), considers the singular reoccurrence of individuals named John in the history of St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster. From the medieval fabric roles, to Georgian antiquaries, and on to present-day scholars, why do so many Johns seem gravitate towards this one building?

The Exhibition fully installed in Westminster Hall.
Friday 14th August 2015 | Lizzie Atkinson

To mark the Project’s Exhibition _Parliament in the Making: St Stephen’s Chapel_, Lizzie Atkinson, one of three volunteer interns with the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP) at the University of York, records her impressions of fielding the public’s reaction and engagement to the seven-hundred-year saga of St Stephen’s Chapel.

King John confronted by his Barons assembled in force at Runnymede gives unwilling consent to Magna Carta, the foundation of justice and individual freedom in England, 1215, by Charles Sims. Oil on canvas, 1927. © Palace of Westminster Collection, WOA 2602 www.parliament.uk/art
Monday 15th June 2015 | James Ford

To commemorate the eight-hundredth anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, our new associate researcher James Ford examines the reception of Charles Sims’ depiction of events at Runneymede in 1215. This is the first of two blog posts exploring the series of monumental canvases, collectively known as The Building of Britain series, commissioned in the early-Twentieth Century to decorate St Stephen's Hall.

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