A photograph of a cadaver tomb inside a church © Morgan Ellis Leah

Online Lecture: Cadaver Monuments

Food for Thought: Reconsidering Late Medieval English Cadaver Monuments

Date: Tuesday 30 July 2024
Time: 5:30pm-6:30pm
Location: Online
Tickets: £6

Book now

Join us to find out about medieval cadaver monuments in this fascinating online lecture. You can get your tickets through the booking form at the bottom of this page.

Focussing on late medieval English carved cadaver memorials, this talk will reconsider the long-standing misconception that transi effigies present the body in a ‘late stage of decay.’ Popularly, cadaver tombs are thought of as part of the European tradition, presenting the body of the deceased as a gruesome skeletal figure with rotting flesh and devouring worms. However, English memorials are different from their continental cousins. Instead, executed with a high degree of anatomical accuracy, English cadaver tombs present the body with taut, unbroken skin, as per a state of severe emaciation. This talk offers an answer for these striking visual differences, suggesting that these cadavers speak with an English accent, evoking overlooked Anglo-Saxon practices of Feasting the Dead by presenting a state of severe spiritual hunger.

A woman standing in a church with the shadow of a stained glass window in the background behind
© Morgan Ellis Leah

Meet the speaker

Morgan Ellis Leah is a member of the National Churches Trust’s Church Engagement Team. She has a background in architectural conservation and historic collections management. Her recent research will be published in the upcoming title: Tomb Monuments in Medieval Europe. Morgan has given lectures at the Universities of Cambridge, Kent, and Harvard, as well as the Societies for Church Monuments and Church Archaeology.

Book your tickets

Please use the form below to book your tickets. The lecture will also be recorded and shared with ticketholders after the event. This event will raise funds for the work of the National Churches Trust helping churches and chapels throughout the UK. Thank you for your wonderful support.