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Alison Noel Altstatt
University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0001)
Wilton Abbey in Procession: Religious Women’s Music and Ritual in the Thirteenth-century Wilton Processional

Research and writing leading to a book about the 13th-century musical and literary culture at Wilton Abbey in England, based on study and analysis of recently rediscovered leaves of a medieval manuscript.

The proposed book is an interdisciplinary musicological study of the Wilton processional: a thirteenth-century musical manuscript from the women’s house of Wilton Abbey. This manuscript was known only from a nineteenth-century copy until my discovery in 2015 that the book had been broken and sold by American manuscript scholar and dealer Otto F. Ege. To date, 41 of 165 original leaves have been identified: primary sources of Wilton’s ritual, musical, and literary life. This study will enhance our understanding of the cultural practices of an institution that educated English noblewomen for over six hundred years. It will contribute to the fields of musicology, liturgy, history, literature, drama, and manuscript studies. The book also includes a full-text digital inventory of the manuscript’s contents. This project is significant to the humanities as a case study in the intellectual and artistic culture of religious women in the Middle Ages.

Project fields:
Medieval History; Medieval Studies; Music History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2020 – 6/30/2020