Isabelle Ostertag

Travel research to parish churches in East Anglia

The BAA Travel Grant helped to cover the cost of renting a car and driving to remote parish churches in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire to begin research for my PhD dissertation on parochial Lady Chapels. The purpose of this research was twofold. First, I sought to visit many sites in order to begin to develop a larger picture of the architecture, material culture, and placement of parochial Lady Chapels beginning with their construction in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries up through the sixteenth century. Second, I wanted to choose case studies for the dissertation based on first-hand experience and documentation of the sites. I visited approximately fifty sites in ten days thanks to a tight itinerary and the help of numerous churchwardens.

Through my documentation and examination of these sites I was able to come to several key observations about parochial Lady Chapels that I could only have deduced in person. For instance, the spatial connection between large fifteenth and fourteenth century south porches with Marian imagery and the location of
the Lady Chapels on the same south side. Considering the placement and structural experience of parochial Lady Chapels within the context of the larger parish church building is and remains a key goal of my dissertation. Thus, the field work partially facilitated by the BAA Travel Grant was essential in supporting the art and architectural analysis central to the focus of my dissertation.