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Plenaravlat, kultföremål och valvslagning: Sockenkyrkans ekonomi i Sverige 1430-1519
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5556-7026
Uppsala universitet.
2019 (Swedish)In: Historisk Tidskrift (S), ISSN 0345-469X, Vol. 139, no 2, p. 193-222Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Indulgences, wooden sculptures and vaulting:The economy of the parish church in Sweden 1430–1519

Swedish medievalists have presented two theories to explain how the investmentsin vaulting, murals and wooden sculptures in parish churches weremade possible from the 1430s and onwards. Everyone agrees that the boomin construction activity is the first discernible sign of recovery after the economicset-back that the Black Death (1350) and recurring outbursts of plaguein the following century brought on the country. Primary source material isscant. Only seven parish churches have left us records of their economic activity.One theory posits that the process of vaulting and church decorationwas driven chiefly by donations from the nobility. The second theory reliesheavily on the fact that land rent and land prices plummeted immediatelyafter the Black Death and remained low. From the middle of the 15th centuryeven freeholders enjoyed considerably reduced tax rates. This developmentleft a bigger share of the agricultural surplus in the hands of the peasantcommunity, who spent part of it on their parish churches.By creating a full picture of church land transactions (cathedrals, monasteriesand parish churches), comparing the level of donations of land to thechurch with the level of business (buying, selling, exchanging) this studyreveals that the parish church had a hard time attracting donors; their sharewas only five per cent of the total amount of donations 1430–1519. A specialinvestigation was made of parish churches where vaulting had been carriedout and supplied with an antiquarian description, which were scrutinised fortraces of noble presence, chiefly coats of arms, which could suggest that localnobility had been involved in reconstruction or decoration of church premises.Only one fifth of the churches showed such signs of noble presence. Ina third investigation, indulgences issued for parish churches were analysed asa new factor. International research has pointed out that the issuing of suchindulgences had a practical economic intent as well as a celestial purpose: tooffer a perpetual source of income for the church’s building fund, the fabrica.Seven per cent of the estimated total number of parish churches – 103 of a total of 1 500 – were issued such letters. The overall evidence thereforefavours the second theory, with the input from the nobility seriously downplayedbut still present.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Svenska Historiska Föreningen, 2019. Vol. 139, no 2, p. 193-222
Keywords [en]
Late medieval Sweden, psrish churches, vaulting, church decoration, indulgences, donations, land transactions
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-159501OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-159501DiVA, id: diva2:1318971
Note

Artikeln tillgänglig i fulltext sex månader efter utgivning. 

Available from: 2019-05-29 Created: 2019-05-29 Last updated: 2019-07-05

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Citation style
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