Detail of Carlisle Cathedral, Cumbria.

Online lectures

The use of light in ecclesiastical upper spaces during the Middle Ages

  • Monday 1 February 2021
    (6-7pm --- NB: Booking closes 48 hours before the event.)
  • Lecturer: Toby Huitson

This lecture will explore the various ways in which the upper levels of monastic and parish church buildings were illuminated, from interior devotional lights to tower beacons, using evidence from medieval custumals, chronicles and manuscript sources.  An experimental reconstruction will be presented which was staged at Hythe in Kent to discover both the effect and practicality of lighting medieval triforia and clerestories.


Dr Toby Huitson studied history at the University of Kent at Canterbury, gaining his PhD in medieval architecture in 2010, now published as Stairway to Heaven: The Functions of Medieval Upper Spaces. Toby is particularly interested in medieval architecture and music, and wrote the official guidebook to the Organs of Canterbury Cathedral while he was the PA to the Cathedral Organist. He is currently the Digitisation Officer at Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

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