Church Monuments Society

Bowdler2 crop

Death and decay: the All Hallows Lecture 2021



Online event

An event forming part of the Church Monuments Society’s ‘Whose dead in vaulted arches lie’ series of Autumn online lectures for the season of All Hallows. Everybody welcome!

Following his sell-out lecture in the Spring on Tomb Tourism, Dr Roger Bowdler joins us again:

The coming of All Hallows’ Eve brings on thoughts of the dead and their relationship with the living. Tombs of the early 17th century – the age of the Metaphysical Poets – reflect this human obsession with the contemplation of human remains. This talk looks at the grisliest of church monuments- a group of funerary memorials which depict the anatomical fragments of the dead, carved out of alabaster or marble. Lots of these were produced in the London workshop of the Christmas family in the 1620s and 1630s. These tombs remind us that no-one lives forever: and that human decay can be the subject of enduringly powerful monuments.

Dr Roger Bowdler FSA is a historian of tombs and buildings. He studied history of art at Cambridge, and completed a PhD on macabre 17th century church monuments in 1991. He was formerly Director of Listing at English Heritage, and is now a heritage consultant, lecturer and author. He is a former chairman of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust, a Commissioner of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and a Research Associate at the University of London’s Institute of Historical Research. He is currently a specialist in heritage for Montagu Evans.

Event Information

This online talk is FREE to all and will take place on Zoom. Places must be booked via Eventbrite – go to to book.

Guidelines and handy Zoom hints

Before the event:

• Please ensure you have already downloaded and installed Zoom to the device you wish to use. Read their guide if you are unsure about how to do this ( )

• Make sure you have registered via Eventbrite using your correct email address (or you will not receive the joining instructions).

• We will email the access link to you via Eventbrite shortly before the event begins.

• Please ensure that Eventbrite is on your safe-senders list and check your Spam/Junk inbox for our communications if you cannot see them.

During the webinar:

• Please remain muted throughout.

• The talk will last approximately 45 minutes and will be followed by questions.

• You are welcome to use the Chat box to contact panellists.

• Send formal questions for the speaker using the Q&A function so that they are easily identifiable. These can then be put to the speaker by one of our event coordinators.

• The session may be recorded by the Church Monuments Society. Screenshots and/or recording by participants is not permitted for copyright reasons.

• The host can remove attendees from the webinar.

• If you experience technical difficulties, contact panellists using the chat function. We will do our best to help.

• Enjoy the talk!