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Sister Concordia Scott

Sister Concordia Scott O.S.B. of Minster Abbey near Ramsgate in Kent sculpted the fine alabaster statue of the Virgin and Child in the niche of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Pew in Westminster Abbey. It took 14 months to complete and was placed in the chapel on 10th May 1971. The original statue here had disappeared centuries ago. The design was inspired by a 15th century English alabaster Madonna at Westminster Cathedral. 

This small chapel hollowed out of the thickness of the wall between two chapels off the north ambulatory now forms the entrance into St John the Baptist's chapel. The original entrance to that chapel was blocked when the tomb to Bishop Ruthall was placed across it. In its original form the Pew (meaning a small enclosure) was a self contained rectangular recess about five feet square with a niche and bracket for a statue (the outline and hooks still remain). An image was presented by Mary, Countess of Pembroke (died 1377), widow of Aymer de Valence (a modern memorial to her was placed not far from this chapel). In about 1502 the chapel was enlarged to contain a small altar to St Erasmus but the chapel was still known by its original name. (The name St Erasmus is painted above the doorway underneath some sculpture taken from the old chapel of that name demolished by Henry VII when he built his new Lady Chapel).

The painted vaulting, with a carved boss depicting the Assumption, dates from the second half of the 14th century. The walls are elaborately painted, including teardrops containing fleurs de lys (symbolizing the sorrow of the Virgin Mary), and the white hart badge of Richard II. The wooden half gates with spikes and an iron bracket on the wall for an alms box or lamp are original. 

Further reading

"Description of the chapel of St Erasmus" by J.T. Micklethwaite in Archaeologia vol. 44, 1873

"The chapel of St Mary le Pew", typescript by Barbara Harvey, 2006

"Chapel of Our Lady of the Pew" thesis by Signe Hedegaard, 2009

Memorial

10th May 1971

Field

Artist

Location

North Ambulatory

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Alabaster

Sister Concordia Scott
Sister Concordia Scott

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Sister Concordia Scott
Sister Concordia Scott statue

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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