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Representations and Experiences of Place: The Islands of Sheppey in the late medieval and early modern period

Caiazza, Melanie Grace (2009) Representations and Experiences of Place: The Islands of Sheppey in the late medieval and early modern period. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86405) (KAR id:86405)


Places were important physical and cultural spaces in the late medieval and early modem period. This thesis examines the diversity, complexity and evolution of making meaning in relation to specific places, land and dwellings, within a small island community in northeast Kent known as the Islands of Sheppey, Harty and Elmley. The method used was thematic; with each chapter presenting a case for the understanding of places as physically and culturally complex spaces. Chapter I provides a context for localised study in relation to wider research which has focused on the study of island settlements, landscape and cultural history. Chapter 2 introduces a theoretical framework for visual and textual conceptualisations of landscape spaces whilst also introducing how biographical writings, such as the last will and tcstamen4 imaginatively narrate landscape spaces on the islands. Chapter 3 presents a chronological history of the evolving physical landscape into specific social settlements on the islands. Chapter 4 examines how the relationship between religious places, such as the Minster on Sheppey, shaped local religious practices unique to the island, such as burial at the Minster church and naming of daughters after local Anglo-Saxon women saints. The changes and continuities in beliefs and practices were intrinsically linked to the physical and local landscape. Chapter 5 examines estate maps of the islands; visually exploitive spatial perspectives commissioned by the Crown and wealthy landholders whilst Chapter 6 investigates indigenous textual mappings of the islands, specifically the last will and testament. Chapters 7 and 8 examine the relationship between inheritance strategies and locally adapted descriptions of places, with particular reference to the role of the family as integral to place description, remembrance and inheritance. It is suggested, by the collective and cumulative nature of all eight chapters, that medieval and early modem island studies are an important contribution to national religious and social history.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86405
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: D History General and Old World
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:57 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 21:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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