St Stephen’s Chapel and the Palace of Westminster
Title Details

392 Pages

24 x 17 cm

78 colour and 72 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

St Stephen's Chapel and the Palace of Westminster

Edited by Tim Ayers, J.P.D. Cooper, Elizabeth Hallam Smith and Caroline Shenton

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Traces the history of a magnificent landmark in the history of late medieval art and architecture.

As the principal royal chapel in the medieval Palace of Westminster, St Stephen's was at the centre of worship for the Plantagenets, a major collegiate foundation of a new kind for the mid-fourteenth century, and a community of national significance in the development of sacred polyphony. During the Reformation, the Chapel was converted into a meeting place for the House of Commons, which it remained for 300 years, shaping the development of British political culture. Its influence continues to be felt today in the design of the Commons chamber. Following the disastrous Palace fire of 1834, the site of the upper chapel was rebuilt as St Stephen's Hall, a gallery of national history, leading to the Central Lobby of the Houses of Parliament.

This book tells the story of St Stephen's Chapel, from the thirteenth century to the present day. Sixteen chapters explain the building and its religious life, its political significance, and the antiquarian rediscovery of its former magnificence. Contributors highlight the interaction between visual and political culture; the contexts of kingship and international rivalry that informed the foundation and construction of chapel and college; the effect of medieval St Stephen's on the development of the House of Commons; the adaptation and re-use of St Mary Undercroft; and the creation of St Stephen's Hall in the 1840s. The hall would become a site of Suffragette activism in the campaign for Votes for Women, marked today by a monumental artwork New Dawn, which is the focus of the final chapter.
List of Illustrations
List of Contributors
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: St Stephen's Chapel Westminster and its Legacies, 1292 to the Present
Tim Ayers, J. P. D. Cooper, Elizabeth Hallam Smith, and Caroline Shenton

Part I St Stephen's Chapel and College in the Middle Ages

St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster: Presence and Absence
Tim Ayers

The Plantagenet Purpose: St Stephen's Chapel and English Kingship, 1272-1377
W. Mark Ormrod

St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster: From a King's to a Collegiate Chapel
John Harper

War, Politics, and Architecture: Iterative Design at St Stephen's Chapel, 1292-1348
James Hillson

St Stephen's College, 1348 to 1548
Elizabeth Biggs

The Imagery of St Stephen's Chapel: An Overview
Paul Binski

The Iconography of the St Stephen's Chapel Painting Fragments
Jane Spooner

Performing Spaces: The Art of Polyphony Within and Beyond St Stephen's
Magnus Williamson

Part II St Stephen's and the House of Commons

St Stephen's under the Tudors: From Royal Chapel to Commons Chamber
J. P. D. Cooper

The Wren Commons Chamber
Murray Tremellen

Architecture and Revolution at St Stephen's and Beyond
Paul Seaward

Antiquaries, Architects, and St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster, 1790-1837
Rosemary Hill

St Stephen's, Temporary Accommodation, and the New House of Commons
Rebekah Moore

'Going to St Stephen's': The Gothic Legacy of the Chapel in the Nineteenth and
Twentieth Centuries
Mark Collins

St Mary Undercroft, 1548-1870: 'a dull sort of ecclesiastical lumber-room'?
Elizabeth Hallam Smith

From Valhalla to New Dawn: Commemoration and Gender in the
Afterlife of St Stephen's
Caroline Shenton and Melanie Unwin


TIM AYERS is Professor of the History of Art at the University of York.

J.P.D. COOPER is Professor in History at the University of York, UK.

ELIZABETH HALLAM SMITH is an Honorary Research Professor at the University of York, UK.

CAROLINE SHENTON was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives, UK.



October 2024

£85.00 / $125.00

Shipping Options

Buy Fewer than 20 copies available


Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Ebook (EPDF)


October 2024

£24.99 / $29.95


Title Details

392 Pages

2.4 x 1.7 cm

78 colour and 72 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press