Newcastle University eTheses >
Newcastle University >
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences >
School of History, Classics and Archaeology >
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title: ||Mourning jewellery in England, c.1500-1800|
|Authors: ||Middlemass, Cara Sian|
|Issue Date: ||2018 |
|Publisher: ||Newcastle University|
|Abstract: ||This thesis explores the historical importance and social function of memorial jewellery within
the funerary and mourning cultures of early modern England. Mourning jewellery represented
a particularly distinctive facet of mourning and funerary ritual and etiquette, and this study
reveals the customary role which mourning jewellery grew to occupy, as a method for the
memorialisation and commemoration of the dead, over the course of three centuries, c.1500-
The thesis introduces and defines the broad parameters of the primary research, with a
discussion of the source materials employed, including the creation of a database which
analysed a large body of wills from Essex, Middlesex, and Surrey, as a means of understanding
the place which mourning jewellery occupied within the funerary and remembrance strategies
of early modern testators.
Beginning with the material objects themselves, the following two chapters provide a
chronological overview of the jewellery itself, looking at what kinds of pieces were actually
being produced and utilised, introducing form and fashions, and detailing evolving stylistic
modes, conventions, and decorative motifs.
Placing these material markers within their proper social, cultural, and economic contexts
offers a greater understanding of the customary function of mourning jewellery as a whole and
the ways in which it was bequeathed and utilised as a means of mourning and commemorating
The fourth chapter offers an insight into the types of people who were typically giving
and receiving mourning jewellery, and how the processes, functions, and relationships, which
lay behind these exchanges, actually worked in practice.
The fifth chapter assesses the overall significance and widespread popular impact of
mourning jewellery as a whole, both socially and over time, within the funerary provisions and
customary remembrance strategies of testators and the bereaved.
The role, significance, and import of mourning jewellery fluctuated according to its
employment; it lay within an intricate web of attachments and obligations, ritual and
observance, mourning and memory.
The final part of the thesis ends by providing some insight into this process, looking at
the ways in which mourning jewellery was used in practice and the prospective lifecycle of
such objects. It also deals with thornier issues surrounding contemporary emotional responses
towards death and loss, observing how mourning jewellery operated, why it was used, and
whether it could provide any comfort for the bereaved.|
|Description: ||PhD Thesis
Images have been removed from electronic copy due to copyright issues. The images are included in the print version of this thesis which can be requested via the library catalogue|
|Appears in Collections:||School of History, Classics and Archaeology|
Items in eTheses are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.