Posted on 4 February 2021
Sophie's winning dissertation is titled:
'This Hill, a Lovely Spot: the Undying Landscape of St Albans'.
Since at least the twelfth century the symbol of the rose has played an important role in the iconography of St. Alban. Beginning with the hilltop site of the medieval abbey, this thesis traces such natural iconography from textual sources through to material and visual culture of the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. A wide variety of primary source media is utilised, including Trinity College, Dublin MS 177, the architecture of the present cathedral, the fourteenth century shrine base, painted wall decoration, and examples of surviving pilgrim souvenirs. Contemporary scholarship from a range of disciplines informs the investigation, including literary analysis and historiography, archaeological excavations, and anthropological studies of pilgrimage and experience. The resulting conclusions indicate the central significance of the site atop Holmhurst Hill in the cult of St. Alban and the implications of this in the surrounding landscape. Furthermore, the analysis will demonstrate the potential for material objects to embody geographical locations despite removal from the site.
The Richard III Society Dissertation Prize is a prize awarded for the best York MA dissertation on a 15th-century topic across all the medieval MAs (MA in Medieval Studies, MA in Medieval Literatures and Languages, MA in Medieval History, MA in Medieval Archaeology, and MA in History of Art (Medieval and Medievalisms)).