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Wood-Carving

In general, the production from wood of objects of trade or art by means of sharp instruments, as a knife, chisel, file, or drill. Here only that branch of wood-carving is dealt with which produces artistic objects, belonging either to plastic (as statues, crucifixes, and similar carvings), or to industrial art (as arabesques and rosettes), and which serve mainly for the ornamentation of cabinet work. Carvings of the first class belong specifically to wood-sculpture; those of the second class to wood-carving proper; both are treated in this article. It is indeed not easy to maintain a sharp distinction between these two classes in a sketch dealing with the historical development of wood-carving, particularly as they were frequently combined in the production of artistic objects. Moreover, the lack of objects of industrial art among the remains of the first thousand years makes it necessary, in the following summary, to include also examples of wood-sculpture.

Objects carved from wood were frequently used for religious purposes in antiquity, especially by the Egyptians ; the early statues of the gods were of wood. Wood-carving, however, did not receive its real development until the Christian era. On account of the perishable character of the material it is easy to understand that only a small amount of the wood-carving of Christian antiquity still exists. These scanty remains show that wood was then partly used for the same church purposes as today. A mention should be made here in particular of the wood-sculpture from Bawit in Egypt, namely the figures of two saints and consoles which were acquired in 1898 by the museum at Cairo, and the door of the Basilica of St. Sabvina at Rome, the most important monument of early Christian wood-carving. In the early period reliquaries were frequently made of wood, as were also the episcopal cathedra ; these chairs were adorned with ivory carved in relief, as is shown by the celebrated cathedra of Bishop Maximianus at Ravenna. Originally the entire art of the Germans was expressed by work in wood; the churches were built almost entirely of wood, consequently, it may be assumed that most of the fittings of a church were of the same material. The adornment of the surfaces, which was produced by tooled work, consisted of figures of animals and interlaced geometrical designs in most peculiar interweavings and turnings. However, almost nothing remains of all the perishable objects of the early period, the chairs, coffers, and doors, with the exception of the small reading-desk of St. Radegunde (d. 587) at Poitiers, and the delicately carved door belonging to St. Bertoldo at Parma. This door is probably of Lombard origin; the characteristic German carving and work in geometrical design on the frame and panels make it a very beautiful piece of art. Such carving in low-relief, as shown on the only well-preserved chest of this era in the cathedral at Terracina in Italy, was common throughout the entire early medieval period. This is evidenced from the two wings of a folding-door of the eleventh century in the cathedral of Puy, one of which bears the legend: "Godfredur me fecit" (cf. Haupt, "Die alteste Kunst der Germanen", Leipzig, 1909). The statues of saints and of the Virgin carved from wood, and the carved wooden images of the Saviour, have almost entirely disappeared, owing to the decay of time and the change of taste. Among those that have been preserved is the celebrated "Volto santo di Lucca ", a crucified Christ clad in a tunic with sleeves that belongs to the eighth century, also a similar carving of the crucifixion at Emmerich, Prussia, a work of the year 1000. In addition, there are several representations in wood of the Madonna, that, however, can scarcely be included among artistic carved work, as they are entirely covered with plates of gold, a circumstance to which they owe their preservation. Such Madonnas may be found, for example, at Essen and Hildesheim in Prussia. Wooden seats, such as were used to a limited extent in the churches during the early medieval period, are only known from miniatures in the manuscripts and from sculpture in stone. These show that they generally were made of rounded posts, ribs, and boards which were seldom ornamented by carvings. Seats of this sort were retained in Romanesque art down to the twelfth century. A very unusual example of a pew made of turned round timber, belonging to the twelfth century, is to be found in the Museum of Industrial Art at Christiania. Strictly speaking it is turner-and-joiner-work.

Apparently during the entire Romanesque period low-relief was the prevailing method used in wood-carving. Examples of this are the superb framework surrounding the doors in Norwegian churches, as at Flaa and Aal, the scroll-work borders on the choir-stall and wooden reliquary belonging to the former monastery of Lokkum (1244) in Hanover, a few small wooden coffers in various collections, as at Cologne and Vienna, and several chairs in the museum at Christiania. Along with this work in low-relief, however, carvings in higher relief began to appear towards the close of the Romanesque period, as, for instance, the doors of the Church of Maria im Kapitol at Cologne and the doors of the cathedral of Spoleto. These latter doors, which were finished by Andrea Guvina in 1214, are the greatest achievement of Romanesque wood-carving; the reliefs are five centimeters high and are ornamented with twenty-eight scenes from the life of Christ. Notwithstanding a few excellent productions, wood-carving experienced, in general, no decided development during the Romanesque period. The reason of this was partly the preference of the period for coloured effects, which led to the covering of statues with glittering gold and to the painting of reliquaries and chests, partly in the methods of the joiner work of the period. Cabinets and coffers were not formed of frames and panels and joined together by rabbets and mitres, but were made of heavy boards roughly put together. Consequently it was necessary to hold the boards together by iron mounting, which excluded fine carved work. The custom of ornamenting the wooden reliquaries not with carved work but with paintings also prevailed in the East, as evidenced by the reliquaries found a short time ago in the treasury Sancta Sanctorum at Rome (cf. Grisar, "Sancta Sanctorum", Freiburg, 1908).

If, as already said, it is impossible to write a continuous history of wood-carving down to the close of the twelfth century, on account of the lack of remains, still we are justified in assuming that wood-carving was oftener used for the ornamentation of churches and church furniture during the Romanesque period than it is possible today to prove. For the execution of such monumental tasks as large church doors presupposes great practical experience. Thus, at the opening of the Gothic period, wood-carving had reached such a state of development after hundreds of years, that it was able to cope with the many tasks assigned to it, so that we may justly call it a great era of wood-carving. The Gothic period added to the former needs of the Church in carved wood, such as seats, desks, and doors, many new requirements, above all those which had not been possible before the art of carving had fully developed, such as carved altars and choir-stalls, while the demand for statuary carved from wood naturally continued. Starting with those pieces of furniture that make the smallest demands upon the carver and are generally produced by a carpenter, we will speak first of cabinets or cupboards and coffers. The still existing specimens of these that have come down from the early Gothic era belong almost exclusively to the church, consequently the ornamentation is taken in most instances from architecture, as crockets, tracery, and battlements. In addition carved foliage and figures are found, especially on the doors and the top-pieces. Mention should be made of a sacristy cupboard at Wernigerode, Prussia, that is ornamented with carved masks and animals, and a cupboard ornamented with a grape-vine in low relief in the Arena Chapel at Padua. The coffers are generally made of two upright boards as supports, and two or three long boards stretched between; the ornamentation is generally only on the front. The ends are frequently decorated with single figures, the long side with pointed arches under which stand knights or saints ; at a later date the front was also decorated with representations of various scenes. A large and widely scattered group of coffers, which apparently come from Flanders and are generally to be found in England, show on the front St. George's battle with the dragon and the freeing of the king's daughter. England has, indeed, the greatest treasure in church coffers lying neglected in the cathedrals. Mention should be made of the fourteenth-century coffers at Saltwood, Oxford (church of Magdalen College ), Derby (St. Peter's church), Chevington, and Brancepeth.

In the same way carpenter and carver shared in the work of making the choir-stalls and altars, which in the course of time were richly ornamented. In the choir-stalls the chief adornment was at the ends, on the supports under the seats or misericords and on the arms of the seats; the ends were decorated with figures of saints and with symbolical animals carved partly in relief and partly in the round. The imagination of the carver had its freest field in the misericords, where in addition to fruits and flowers, the wildest designs of the artist's inventive fancy may be found, the secular and spiritual, serious and gay, satirical and symbolical. The carving on the arms of the stalls was also often more ingenious than artistic. The backs of the stalls were frequently richly decorated not only with architectual ornaments, as crockets, finials, and gabled hood-mouldings on the baldachino, but also with single figures and connected scenes. As examples may be mentioned the choir-stalls in the cathedral at Amiens (1508-1522). Both of these are exceeded in sumptuousness by the carving on a number of stalls in Spain, as those in the cathedral of Seville by Danchard and Nufro Sanchez (d. 1480). It is impossible here to go into the historical details of the development either of the stalls or of the altars made of wood. Carving was an important feature of these latter, especially in Germany and Flanders. The development of these altars is an important chapter in the history of sculpture in wood. They consisted essentially of a shrine, an open or closed one, ornamented with several figures or numerous groups of small ones. The most noted carved altars were the work of artists who were among the most distinguished sculptors of the late Middle Ages. Among these men were Michael Pacher, who made the celebrated altar at St. Wolfgang in Austria, the high altar at Blaubeuren in Swabie by Jörg Syrlin the younger, the altar of the Sacred Blood at Rothenburg by Till Riemenschneider , the altar of the Virgin by Veit Stoss at Cracow, the high altar in Schleswig by Hans Bruggermann.

Down to about 1350 Gothic wood-carving borrowed its ornamentation from stone carving. Later the more frequent use of wood and increased technical skill led to the abandonment of the rigid laws of stone carving, and to the creation of an independent style which attained freer and more brilliant results by the greater delicacy, finer membering, interlacing of lines, and pierced work. These advantages were used with such skill be the carvers that finally they were conspicuously used in stone-carving also. The creased folds, sharp corners, and edges characteristic of the late Gothic style are probably to be traced back to the cutting knife used in wood-carving. This development of late Gothic wood-carving was largely brought about by the fact that the figures and altars were always painted in a number of colours. The carved work was first covered with a coating of chalk, which was then painted with gay colours and richly gilded, and patterns or inscriptions were impressed upon the seams of the robes and nimbi. This naturally made it unnecessary for the carver to carry out his work into the finest details, as it was to be covered by polychromatic painting. Consequently most of the great carved work of the late Middle Ages is not intended to produce its effect by the details, but by the impression made by the whole. Regarded in this way many wooden altars, by the richness of the ornamental carving, the scenes presented by the figures, and the brilliant decoration of paint and gold, excite a feeling of joy and produce a mystical effect that cannot be produced by a stone altar. Wooden altars are frequently enriched by painted wings. It is, therefore, easy to understand why the carved altars of Flanders, in particular, were largely exported, even as far as Norway and Portugal.

Medieval wood-carving, naturally, was not limited to the production of the pieces of church furniture mentioned above. Besides the choir-stalls other furnishings similarly ornamented were the celebrant's seat ( deacon's seat), episcopal throne, doors, pulpits, and reading-desks. In addition there was the vast number of statues of the Madonna and the saints, as well as crucifixes, with which the churches were filled at the close of the Middle Ages, and which, especially in the lands affected by the Reformation, were burned by the wagon-load at the beginning of the schism. Notwithstanding this there is a larger amount of carved work formerly belonging to churches in Germany and Belgium than in any other country, although the art of wood-carving created numerous and worthy productions in France, Italy, Spain, and especially in Scandinavia and England. As an instance of English work should be mentioned the beautiful sepulchral figure of Archbishop Peckham at Canterbury ; of French work, the doors of the cathedral at Aix (1504). The style of wood-carving in the late Middle Ages was strongly influenced by the art of painting, since several important German sculptors in wood were also painters, or at least owned studios, such as Michael Pacher, Friedrich Herlin, and Hans Multscher, hence, though the undercutting of the drapery was deep and its design bold, the effect was mean and trivial. The pictorial element was encouraged by the ease with which lime and poplar, which were the woods used in Southern Germany, could be worked; in Northern Germany the preference was for oak.

This brilliant period of wood-carving came to an end in Germany and Switzerland about 1530 on account of the religious turmoil. But there were scattered works of high excellence produced in these countries by the art of the Renaissance, as, for instance, the choir-stalls in the cathedral at Berne (1522), which have the naïve grace of the early Renaissance, and the stalls in the former monastic church at Wettingen (1603) in Germany, which show the grace and skill of the late Renaissance, the superb stalls in the chapter-chamber of the cathedral at Mainz, the carving on the lower part of which is alive with grotesque figures. Frequent opportunity for artistic carved work was also given by the organ cases, the galleries, the pews, and especially the panels covering the walls of chapter-rooms, and similar ecclesiastical halls. One of the richest panellings in Germany is that of the chapter-room of the cathedral at Munster in Westphalia (1544-1552). Excellent carvings of this period in the Netherlands are the choir-stalls of the Great Church at Dordrecht which picture the entry of Charles V into the city. A fine example of French wood-carving is that of the choir-stalls of Saint-Denis. During this period the greatest triumphs of wood-carving were produced in Italy, the birth-place of the Renaissance. Here this art profited greatly by the development of stone sculpture, and in many pieces of church equipment it sought to compete with work in stone, as in candelabra and reading-desks. However, in Italy it is chiefly the choir-stalls, the thrones of the bishops and abbots, and the cupboards in the sacristies which prove the high artistic development of wood-carving. The ornaments produced in the carved work for churches have in the main the same delicate, attractive grace as those intended for secular purposes. Like the latter they are decorated with vine-work, figures of animals, and fabulous creatures in the most delicate and rich relief. It was customary to employ architects, who were also employed for decorative work in stone, to produce the designs for large works in carved wood, such as choir- stalls. Thus such designs were made in Florence by Benedetto de Majano, in Siena by Ventura di Ser Giuliano, the architect of the church of San Bernardino at Siena. Local tradition seeks to connect distinguished names with the designs for celebrated carved-work; thus in Siena such designs are attributed to Peruzzi, in Perugia to Perugino and Raphael. In general, however, the master who executed the carving usually produced the design. This view is all the more probable as the occupation of wood-carving frequently descended from father to son and thus, as in other branches of work, family traditions arose. This explains in part the often extraordinary technique. We know of a number of artist families of Upper Italy who travelled throughout Italy, exercising their skill in cathedral and monastery churches. Besides these lay master- workmen, various members of different orders gave their attention to wood-carving. Especially celebrated among such are Fra Giovanni da Verona (1457-1525), whose work is to be found in Maria in Organo at Verona, in Lodi, Montioliveto near Siena, and at the Vatican ; Fra Damiano Zambelli da Bergamo (1480-1549), whose work is at Bergamo, Milan, Bologna, Perugia, and Genoa ; Fra Rafaele da Brescia (1477-1537), whose carvings are at Bologna and Montioliveto near Siena.

The styles of the Renaissance came into vogue in the making of church equipments through the influence of Brunelleschi and Donatello, and appeared first of all at Florence. As far as wood-carving is concerned the effects of the Renaissance are nowhere better to be observed than in the choir-stalls. It was largely Florentine masters who executed the carved work on the large numbers of choir-stalls that have been preserved in Tuscany and Umbria. Thus Giuliano and Antonio da San Gallo worked on the choir-stalls of the Benedictine Abbey of San Pietro in Perugia, the varied grotesques of which are of extraordinary delicacy. In the late Renaissance the purely ornamental decoration is frequently replaced by scenes containing figures. Among the most important works of this period are the choir-stalls in San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice by Alberto di Brule, and those in Santa Giustina at Padua by Taurino and Andrea Campagnola with pictures carved in relief on the backs. Closely connected with the choir-stalls is the choir-desk which consists of a base shaped like a pedestal, a support formed like a candelabrum, and the book-rest. The base and the support in particular are frequently ornamented with rich carving; examples of such work of the late Renaissance are the desk in the cathedral at Siena and that in San Pietro a Perugia. Another piece of furniture that the art of carving selected for embellishment was the cupboard of the sacristy, the doors of which were artistically ornamented. The most important work of this class is in the new sacristy of the cathedral of Florence; on the panels of this cupboard is a carving in high relief of boys carrying a wreath. The work is that of Giuliano da Majano; it contains individual figures, reliefs, fabulous creatures, and ornaments, and its sumptuousness baffles description, and is hardly to be appreciated from illustrations. It exhibits the technique of the art of wood-carving in a completeness that can scarcely be surpassed. However, regarded purely from the artistic point of view, the works of the early and central period of the Renaissance also exhibit a very high level of wood-carving.

The styles of the succeeding periods may be touched on more briefly, as wood-carving produced but little that was new except that the manner of ornamentation was altered. Perhaps the decoration of the confessional might be considered a novelty. Up to this era the confessional had generally been without adornment. In the Baroque period the confessionals were frequently adorned with large carved wooden figures on each side of the door and had a cornice at the top. The exceedingly high altars which towered in the German churches of this period presented a hitherto unknown problem to wood-carving. This was the decoration of the large twisted columns with garlands and cherubs, and the arranging of angels with huge wings and saints in ecstatic and tortuous positions between the columns as well as on the interrupted gabled pediment. The production of carved head pieces for the church pews which up to that time had been left without decoration was also a novelty. Much attention was paid to the pulpit. This was especially the case in Belgium where the pulpit was adorned in a very naturalistic manner with mountains, trees, clouds, and groups of figures. During the Baroque period there was a great demand for wood-carving. In 1614 Archduke Albert in Belgium ordered the speedy restoration in the old style of the ecclesiastical objects that had been destroyed during the religious strife. This command was carried out chiefly as regards the inner restoration of the churches, and in this undertaking wood-carving had a large share. In Germany and Austria during the same era the great work of the Counter-Reformation was completed, one result of which was the building or renovation of large numbers of churches, and the production of ornate church furniture, especially of choir-stalls, organ-cases, and confessionals. These furnishings were generally made of wood and richly decorated with the lavish carving and high relief of the Baroque style, or rather frequently overloaded with ornamentation. The decoration consisted of the same flamboyant ornaments, cartouches, and the same scroll-work as were customary in the secular art of the period.

The heaviness of the Baroque was followed by the airiness of the Rococo style, which was succeeded later by the stiff precision of the Empire style. The lack of artistic depth and force in the Empire style is perhaps nowhere more clearly evident than in church furniture. This style may have been able to give a delicate, graceful appearance and a brilliant effect to the ball-room, the threatre, boudoir, and the drawing-room, but it failed so far as church furniture was concerned to inspire in those at prayer a religious frame of mind and a sense of devotion. At the same time it must be conceded to the art of carving of that era that it can show important results in purely decorative work, as seen in the altars, choir-stalls, confessionals, and pulpits of the great churches of the second half of the eighteenth century in Southern Germany and Austria. Examples are the choir-stalls at Wiblingen near Ulm executed by Janurius Zieck (1780), and those in the collegiate church of St. Gall (1765). Large panels with scenes carved in relief from the Old and New Testament framed in the ornamental work of the art of the period form the main scheme of decoration. This sumptuous wooden furniture in many churches was evidence both of the great technical skill of the carver and of the large amount of money expended by those who built the churches. If, however, their united efforts have failed to produce that homelike, mystical warmth of feeling which appeals to the beholder in so many of the simple unadorned works of the Middle Ages, the reason for this must be found in the conditions of the period, which was that of the "Enlightenment". Just as a cold Rationalism prevailed in the theology of that day, so to a certain degree it was also evidenced in ecclesiastical wood-carving.

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Editor, historian, born at Bardstown, Kentucky, 25 February, 1814; died at Louisville, Kentucky, ...

Webbe, Samuel

English composer, born in England in 1742; died in London, 29 May, 1816. He studied under ...

Weber, Beda

Benedictine professor, author, and member of the National German Parliament, born at Lienz in the ...

Weber, Friedrich Wilhelm

Physician, member of the Prussian House of Deputies, and poet, born at Alhausen, near Driburg, ...

Weber, Heinrich

German Church historian, born at Euerdorf in the Diocese of Würzburg , 21 June, 1834; died ...

Weber, Karl Maria Friedrich Ernst von

Composer, born at Eutin, Lower Saxony, 18 December, 1786; died in London, 5 June, 1826. His ...

Weedall, Henry

Born in London, 6 September, 1788; died at Oscott, 7 November, 1859. Both his parents died ...

Week, Liturgical

The week as a measure of time is a sufficiently obvious division of the lunar month, and the ...

Wegg-Prosser, Francis Richard

Only son of Rev. Prebendary Francis Haggit, rector of Newnham Coutney, born at Newnham Courtney, ...

Weingarten

(MONASTERIUM VINEARUM, AD VINEAS, or WEINGARTENSE). A suppressed Benedictine abbey, near ...

Weis, Nicolaus von

Bishop of Speyer, born at Rimlingen, Lorraine, 8 March, 1796; died at Speyer, 13 December, ...

Weislinger, Johann Nikolaus

Polemical writer, born at Puttlingen in German Lorraine, 1691; died at Kappel-Rodeck in Baden, 29 ...

Weiss, Johann Baptist

Born at Ettenheim, Baden, 17 July, 1820; died at Graz, 8 March, 1899. After completing his ...

Weissenau, Monastery of

(Originally OWE_AUGIA, then MINDERLAU-AUGIA MINOR, and finally WEISSEN AU-AUGIA ALBA or CANDIDA). ...

Weitenauer, Ignatius von

Litterateur, exegete, and Orientalist, born at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, 1 November, 1709; died at ...

Welbourne, Ven. Thomas

Martyred at York, 1 August, 1605. Nothing is known about about this martyr except the scanty ...

Weld

The name of an ancient English family (branches of which are found in several parts of England ...

Weld, Frederick Aloysius

Youngest son of Humphrey Weld, born at Chidcock Manor, Dorset, 1823; died there, 1891. He was ...

Welle, Prefecture Apostolic of

Located in the extreme north of Belgian Congo, Africa, separated by a Decree of the Propaganda ...

Wellington, Archdiocese of

(WELLINGTONIENSIS). Located in New Zealand, originally formed part of the Vicariate of ...

Wells in Scripture

It is difficult for inhabitants of a more humid climate to realize the importance which a country ...

Wells, Ven. Smithin

English martyr, born at Brambridge, Hampshire, about 1536; hanged at Gray's Inn Lane, London, ...

Welser, Bartholomeus

German merchant prince, born at Augsburg, 1488; died at Amberg, near Turkheim, Swabia, 1561. His ...

Welsh Church

In giving separate consideration to the Church of Wales, we follow a practice common among ...

Welsh Monastic Foundations

Few saints of the early British Church, as it existed before the Saxon invasion, are known to ...

Welte, Benedict

Exegete, born at Ratzenried in Würtemberg, 25 November, 1825; died 27 May, 1885. After ...

Wenceslaus, Saint

( Also Vaclav, Vaceslav.) Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at ...

Wendelin of Trier, Saint

Born about 554; died probably in 617. His earliest biographies, two in Latin and two in German, ...

Weninger, Francis Xavier

Jesuit missionary and author, born at Wildhaus, Styria, Austria, 31 October, 1805; died at ...

Wenrich of Trier

German ecclesiastico-polical writer of the eleventh century. He was a canon at Verdun, and ...

Werburgh, Saint

(WEREBURGA, WEREBURG, VERBOURG). Benedictine, patroness of Chester, Abbess of Weedon, ...

Werden

(WERTHINA, WEERDA, WERDENA). A suppressed Benedictine monastery near Essen in Rhenish ...

Werner, Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias

Convert, poet, and pulpit orator, born at Konigsberg, Prussia, 18 November, 1768; died at ...

Wessel Goesport, John

(GANSFORT). A fifteenth-century Dutch theologian, born at Gröningen in 1420; died there ...

Wessenberg, Ignaz Heinrich von

Vicar-General and Administrator of the Diocese of Constance, born at Dresden, 4 November, 1774; ...

Wessobrunn

(WESSOGONTANTUM, AD FONTES WESSONIS). A suppressed Benedictine abbey near Weilheim in Upper ...

West Syrian Rite

The rite used by the Jacobite sect in Syria and by the Catholic Syrians is in its origin ...

West Virginia

A state of the American Union, bounded on the northeast by Pennsylvania and Maryland, on the ...

Westcott, Sebastian

English organist, born about 1524, was a chorister, under Redford, at St. Paul's Cathedral, ...

Westeraas, Ancient See of

(AROSI, AROSIENSIS). Located in Sweden. The Catholic diocese included the lands of ...

Western Schism

This schism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries differs in all points from the Eastern ...

Westminster Abbey

This most famous of all English abbeys is situated within the precincts of the Royal Palace of ...

Westminster Cathedral

As a national expression of religious faith given by Roman Catholics to England since the ...

Westminster, Archdiocese of

(WESTMONASTERIENSIS). Erected and made metropolitan in 1850, comprises the Counties of ...

Westminster, Matthew of

The name given to the supposed author of a well-known English chronicle, the "Flores Historiarum". ...

Weston, William

Jesuit missionary priest, born at Maidstone, 1550 (?); died at Valladolid, Spain, 9 June, ...

Westphalia

A province of Prussia situated between the Rhine and the Weser. It is bounded on the northwest ...

Wettingen-Mehrerau, Abbacy Nullius of

A Cistercian abbey near Bregenz, Vorarlberg, Austria. The Cistercian monastery of Wettingen ...

Wetzer, Heinrich Joseph

Learned Orientalist, born at Anzefahr in Hesse-Cassel, 19 March, 1801; died at Freiburg in ...

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Wh 23

Wharton, Ven. Christopher

Born at Middleton, Yorkshire, before 1546; martyred at York, 28 March, 1600. He was the second ...

Wheeling, Diocese of

(WHELINGENSIS). Comprises the State of West Virginia except the following counties, which are ...

Whipple, Amiel Weeks

Military engineer and soldier, born at Greenwich, Massachusetts, 1818; died at Washington, D.C., ...

Whitaker, Venerable Thomas

Born at Burnley, Lancashire, 1614; martyred at Lancaster, 7 August, 1646. Son of Thomas ...

Whitbread, Venerable Thomas

( Alias HARCOURT). Born in Essex, 1618; martyred at Tyburn, 30 June, 1679. He was ...

Whitby, Abbey of

(Formerly called Streoneshalh). A Benedictine monastery in the North Riding of Yorkshire, ...

Whitby, Synod of

The Christianizing of Britain begun by St. Augustine in A.D. 597 was carried on with varying ...

White Fathers

(MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF AFRICA OF ALGERIA). This society, known under the name of ...

White, Andrew

Missionary, b. at London, 1579; d. at or near London, 27 Dec., 1656 (O.S.). He entered St. ...

White, Charles Ignatius

Editor, historian, born at Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. 1 February, 1807; died at Washington, ...

White, Edward

Grandfather of Stephen Mallory White , born in County Limerick, Ireland, in the latter part of ...

White, Eustace, Venerable

Martyr, born at Louth, Lincolnshire, in 1560; suffered at the London Tyburn, 10 December, 1591. ...

White, Richard, Venerable

( Vere GWYN). Martyr, born at Llanilloes, Montgomeryshire, about 1537; executed at Wrexham, ...

White, Robert

English composer, b. about 1530; d. Nov., 1574; was educated by his father, and graduated Mus. ...

White, Stephen

Antiquarian and polyhistor; b. at Clonmel, Ireland, in 1574; d. in Galway, 1646. He belonged to a ...

White, Stephen Mallory

American statesman; born at San Francisco , California, 19 January, 1853; died at Los Angeles ...

White, Thomas

( Alias BLACKLOW, BLACLOE, ALBIUS, ANGLUS). Born in Essex, 1593; died in London, 6 July, ...

Whithorn Priory

Located in Wigtownshire, Scotland, founded about the middle of the twelfth century, in the reign ...

Whiting, Blessed Richard

Last Abbot of Glastonbury and martyr, parentage and date of birth unknown, executed 15 Nov., ...

Whitsunday

A feast of the universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the ...

Whitty, Ellen

In religion Mary Vincent, born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, a village seven miles form the town of ...

Whitty, Robert

Born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, 7 January, 1817; died 1 September, 1895. In 1830 he entered ...

Whitty, Rose

Born at Dublin, Ireland, 24 November, 1831; died 4 May, 1911. Of her two sisters one became a ...

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Wi 121

Wibald

Abbot of Stavelot ( Stablo ), Malmedy, and Corvey, b. near Stavelot in Belgium in 1098; d. ...

Wichita Indians

A confederacy of Caddoan stock, formerly dwelling between the Arkansas River, Kansas, and the ...

Wichita, Diocese of

(WICHITENSIS). Erected in 1887, from the Diocese of Leavenworth . The territory of the new ...

Wichmans, Francis

In religion AUGUSTINE, born at Antwerp, 1596; died 1661. Having finished his classical studies, ...

Widmer, Joseph

Catholic theologian, born at Hohenraim, Lucerne, Switzerland, 15 Aug., 1779; died at ...

Widow

I. Canonical prescriptions concerning widows in the Old Testament refer mainly to the question ...

Widukind

Saxon leader, and one of the heads of the Westphalian nobility. He was the moving spirit in the ...

Widukind of Corvey

Historian who lived in the tenth century in the Benedictine Abbey of Corvey, Germany. He was a ...

Wiener-Neustadt, Diocese of

(NEOSTADTIENSIS). A suppressed see in Lower Austria. Upon the request of Frederick III it was ...

Wiest, Stephan

Member of the Order of Cistercians, b. at Teisbach in Lower Bavaria, 7 March, 1748; d. at ...

Wigand, Saints

( Also rendered VENANTIUS). Three saints of this name are mentioned in the Roman ...

Wigbert, Saint

Companion of St. Boniface, born in England about 675; died at Hersfeld about 746. Positive ...

Wigbod

(WICBODUS, WIGBOLD, WIGBALD). Theological writer of the eighth century. Of his works there is ...

Wigley, George J.

Died in Rome, 20 January, 1866. By profession he was an architect, but subsequently devoted ...

Wilberforce, Henry William

Born at Clapham, 22 September, 1807; died at Stroud, Gloucestershire, 23 April, 1873. He was third ...

Wilberforce, Robert Isaac

Born at Clapham, 19 December, 1802; died at Albano, near Rome, 3 Feb. 1857. He was the second son ...

Wilcannia, Diocese of

(WILCANIENSIS). Located in New South Wales, one of the six suffragan sees of Sydney; consists ...

Wilcox, Robert, Venerable

English martyr, born at Chester, 1558; suffered at Canterbury, 1 October, 1588. He arrived at ...

Wild, Johann

Scriptural commentator and preacher, better known by his Latin name FERUS, b. in Swabia, 1497; d. ...

Wilfrid, Saint

Bishop of York, son of a Northumbrian thegn, born in 634; died at Oundle in Northamptonshire, ...

Wilgefortis

A fabulous female saint known also as UNCUMBER, KUMMERNIS, KOMINA, COMERA, CUMERANA, HULFE, ...

Wilhelm of Herle

Painter, born at Herle in Dutch Limburg at an unknown date in the fourteenth century; time and ...

Wilhelm V

Son of Duke Albrecht V. Born at Munich, 29 September, 1548; died at Schlessheim, 7 February, ...

Wilhering, Cistercian Abbey of

(HILARIA). Situated on the right bank of the Danube, in the Diocese of Linz, Austria. Ulric ...

Will

(Latin voluntas, Greek boúlesis, "willing" German Wille, French volonté ). ...

Will and Testament of Clerics

Roman law allowed clerics to dispose of their property by will or otherwise. Bishops, however, ...

Will, Free

RELATION OF THE QUESTION TO DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY HISTORY Free Will in Ancient ...

Willaert, Adrian

Composer and founder of the Venetian school, b. at Bruges, or, according to other authorities, ...

Willehad, Saint

Bishop at Bremen, born in Northumberland before 745; died at Blecazze (Blexen) on the Weser, 8 ...

Willems, Pierre

Philologist, born at Maastricht, 6 January, 1840; died at Louvain, 23 February, 1898. Following ...

William

Born in Brittany, died at Marmoutiers, 23 May, 1124. For a time he was Archdeacon of Nantes, ...

William

Abbot of Saint-Bénigne at Dijon, celebrated Cluniac reformer, b. on the Island of ...

William Carter, Venerable

English martyr, born in London, 1548; suffered for treason at Tyburn, 11 January, 1584. Son of ...

William Exmew, Blessed

Carthusian monk and martyr ; suffered at Tyburn, 19 June, 1535. He studied at Christ's ...

William Filby, Blessed

Blessed William Filby Born in Oxfordshire between 1557 and 1560; suffered at Tyburn, 30 May, ...

William Hart, Blessed

Born at Wells, 1558; suffered at York, 15 March, 1583. Elected Trappes Scholar at Lincoln ...

William Lacy, Blessed

Born at "Hanton", Yorkshire (probably Houghton or Tosside, West Riding); suffered at York, 22 ...

William of Auvergne

Bishop of Paris, medieval philosopher and theologian. Born at Aurillac in Auvergne towards ...

William of Auxerre

A thirteenth-century theologian and professor at the University of Paris . William's name ...

William of Champeaux

A twelfth-century Scholastic, philosopher, and theologian, b. at Champeaux, near Melun, in the ...

William of Conches

A twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher and theologian, b. about the year 1100. After having ...

William of Digulleville

(DEGULLEVILLE). A French poet of the fourteenth century. Nothing is known of his life, except ...

William of Ebelholt, Saint

(Also called WILLIAM OF PARIS and WILLIAM OF THE PARACLETE.) Died on Easter Sunday, 1203, and ...

William of Gellone, Saint

Born 755; died 28 May, c. 812; was the second count of Toulouse, having attained that dignity in ...

William of Jumièges

(Surnamed CALCULUS.) Benedictine historian of the eleventh century. Practically nothing seems ...

William of Maleval, Saint

(or ST. WILLIAM THE GREAT). Died 10 February, 1157; beatified in 1202. His life, written ...

William of Malmesbury

Born 30 November, about 1090; died about 1143. He was educated at Malmesbury, where he became a ...

William of Moerbeke

Scholar, Orientalist, philosopher, and one of the most distinguished men of letters of the ...

William of Nangis

(GUILHELMUS). A medieval chronicler, who takes his name from the City of Nancy, France. ...

William of Newburgh

Historian, b. at Bridlington, Yorkshire, 1136; d. at Newburgh, Yorkshire, 1198, where he went as ...

William of Norwich, Saint

Born 1132; died 22 March, 1144. On Holy Saturday, 25 March, 1144, a boy's corpse showing signs of ...

William of Ockham

Fourteenth-century Scholastic philosopher and controversial writer, born at or near the village ...

William of Paris, Saint

Abbot of Eskill in Denmark, born 1105; died 1202. He was born of a noble French family, and ...

William of Perth, Saint

(Or ST. WILLIAM OF ROCHESTER). Martyr, born at Perth ; died about 1201. Practically all that ...

William of Poitiers

Norman historian, born of a noted family, at Préaux near Pont Audemer, Normandy, about 1020. ...

William of Ramsey

Flourished about 1219. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a monk of Crowland Abbey ...

William of Sens

A twelfth-century French architect, supposed to have been born at Sens. He is referred to in ...

William of Shoreham

( Or de Schorham.) An English religious writer of the Anglo-Norman period, born at ...

William of St-Amour

A thirteenth century theologian and controversialist, born in Burgundy in the first decades of ...

William of St-Thierry

Theologian and mystic, and so called from the monastery of which he was abbot, b. at ...

William of Turbeville

(TURBE, TURBO, or DE TURBEVILLE). Bishop of Norwich (1146-74), b. about 1095; d. at Norwich ...

William of Tyre

Archbishop of Tyre and historian, born probably in Palestine, of a European family which had ...

William of Vercelli

(Or WILLIAM OF MONTE VERGINE.) The founder of the Hermits of Monte Vergine, or Williamites, ...

William of Ware

(William de Warre, Guard, Guaro, Varro or Varron.) Born at Ware in Herts; the date of his ...

William of Wayneflete

Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, b. towards the end of the fourteenth century; ...

William of Wykeham

Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England and founder of Winchester College ; b. between ...

William Perault

(PERAULD, PERALDUS, PERALTUS). Writer and preacher, b. at Perault, France ; d. at Lyons ; ...

William the Clerk (of Normandy)

French poet of the thirteenth century. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a clerk of ...

William the Conqueror

King of England and Duke of Normandy. William was the natural son of Robert, Duke of ...

William the Walloon

Date of birth unknown; d. (probably) 22 Dec., 1089. He became Abbot of St. Arnoul at Metz in ...

William, Blessed

Abbot of Hirschau, monastic reformer, born in Bavaria ; died at Hirschau, 5 July 1091. He ...

William, Saint

(WILLIAM FITZHERBERT, also called WILLIAM OF THWAYT). Archbishop of York. Tradition ...

William, Saint

Bishop of St-Brieuc, born in the parish of St. Alban, Brittany, between 1178 and 1184; died ...

Williamites

There were two minor religious orders or congregations of this name: (1) a Benedictine ...

Willibald and Winnebald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Willibrord, Saint

Bishop of Utrecht, Apostle of the Frisians, and son of St. Hilgis, born in Northumbria, 658; ...

Willigis, Saint

Archbishop of Mainz, d. 23 Feb., 1011. Feast, 23 February or 18 April. Though of humble birth ...

Williram

(WALTRAM, WILTRAM). Scriptural scholar, b. in Franconia (near Worms), Germany ; d. in 1085 at ...

Wilmers, Wilhelm

Professor of philosophy and theology, b. at Boke in Westphalia, 30 January, 1817; d. at ...

Wilmington, Diocese of

(WILMINGTONIENSIS). Erected 3 March, 1868. It includes what is known as the Delmarvia ...

Wilton Abbey

A Benedictine convent in Wiltshire, England, three miles from Salisbury. A first foundation was ...

Wilton, Richard

Died December 21, 1239. He was a medieval scholar of whom little is known except that he was an ...

Wimborne Minster

( Also WIMBURN or WINBURN). Located in Dorsetshire, England. Between the years 705-23 a ...

Wimmer, Boniface

Archabbot, b. at Thalmassing, Bavaria, 14 January, 1809; d. at St. Vincent Archabbey, Beatty, ...

Wimpfeling, Jakob

Humanist and theologian, b. at Schlettstadt, Alsace, 25 July 1450; d. there, 17 Nov., 1528. He ...

Wimpina, Konrad

(WIMINAE, WIMINESIS). Theologian, b. at Buchen in Baden, about 1465; d. at Amorbach in Lower ...

Winchester, Ancient See of

(WINTONIA, WINTONIENSIS). This diocese came into existence in 635 when the great ...

Winckelmann, Johann Joachim

Archaeologist and historian of ancient art, born at Stendal near Magdeburg, in 1717; assassinated ...

Windesheim

An Augustinian monastery situated about four miles south of Zwolle on the Issel, in the Kingdom ...

Winding Sheet of Christ, Feast of the Holy

In 1206 one of the (supposed) Winding Sheets used at the burial of Christ was brought to ...

Windischmann, Friedrich Heinrich Hugo

Orientalist and exegete, b. at Aschaffenburg, 13 December, 1811; d. at Munich, 23 August, ...

Windischmann, Karl Joseph Hieronymus

Philosopher, b. at Mainz, 25 August, 1775; d. at Bonn, 23 April, 1839. He attended the gymnasium ...

Window, Rose

A circular window, with mullions and traceries generally radiating from the centre, and filled ...

Windows in Church Architecture

From the beginning Christian churches, in contrast to the ancient temples, were intended to be ...

Windsor

A town of great antiquity, on the Thames, in Berkshire, England ; quaintly rendered Ventus ...

Windthorst, Ludwig

Born near Osnabrück, 17 January, 1812; died 14 March, 1891. He came from a family of ...

Wine, Altar

Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid ...

Winefride, Saint

Born at Holywell, Wales, about 600; died at Gwytherin, Wales, 3 Nov., 660. Her father was ...

Wingham, Thomas

Born in London, 5 January, 1846; died there, 24 March, 1893. He studied music at Wylde's London ...

Winnebago Indians

A tribe of Siouan stock closely related in speech to the Iowa, Missouri, and Oto, and more ...

Winnebald and Willibald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Winnoc, Saint

Abbot or Prior or Wormhoult, died 716 or 717. Three lives of this saint are extant: the best of ...

Winona, Diocese of

(WINONENSIS). Established in 1889, suffragan of St. Paul, comprises the following counties in ...

Winslow, Jakob Benignus

(WINSLOW). Physician and anatomist, b. at Odense, Denmark, 27 April, 1669; d. in Paris, 3 ...

Winwallus, Saint

Abbot of Landevennec; d. 3 March, probably at the beginning of the sixth century, though the ...

Winzet, Ninian

Benedictine abbot and controversial writer, b. at Renfrew, Scotland, 1518; d. at Ratisbon, 21 ...

Wipo

(WIPPO). Apparently a native of Burgundy, lived in the first half of the eleventh century. He ...

Wireker, Nigel

Satirist, lived about 1190. He describes himself as old in the "Speculum Stultorum", which was ...

Wirt, Wigand

Theologian, born at Frankfort about 1460; died at Steyer, 30 June, 1519. He entered the ...

Wisconsin

Known as the "Badger State", admitted to the Union on 29 May, 1848, the seventeenth state ...

Wisdom, Book of

One of the deutero-canonical writings of the Old Testament, placed in the Vulgate between the ...

Wisdom, Daughters of

(LES FILLES DE LA SAGESSE). Founded at Poitiers by Blessed Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort ...

Wise Men (Magi)

(Plural of Latin magus ; Greek magoi ). The "wise men from the East" who came to adore ...

Wiseman, Nicholas Patrick

Cardinal, first Archbishop of Westminster ; b. at Seville, 2 Aug., 1802; d. in London, 15 ...

Witchcraft

It is not easy to draw a clear distinction between magic and witchcraft. Both are concerned with ...

Witness

One who is present, bears testimony, furnishes evidence or proof. Witnesses are employed in ...

Witt, Francis Xavier

Reformer of church music, founder of the St. CeciliaSociety for German-speaking countries, ...

Wittenberg

The city is in Prussian Saxony and was founded by Albert the Bear (d. 1170). He had conquered ...

Wittman, George Michael

Bishop-elect of Ratisbon, b. near Pleistein, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, 22 (23?) Jan., 1760; d. at ...

Wittman, Patrizius

Catholic journalist, b. at Ellwanger, Würtemberg, 4 January, 1818; d. at Munich, 3 ...

Witzel, Georg

(WICELIUS). Theologian, b. at Vacha, Province of Hesse, 1501; d. at Mainz, 16 Feb., 1573. He ...

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Wl 1

Wladislaw, Diocese of

(Polish WLOCLAWEK; Latin VLADISLAVIENSIS ET POMERANLAE). The historical origin of this ...

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Wo 23

Wolff, George Dering

Editor, b. at Martinsburg, West Virginia , 25 Aug., 1822; d. at Norristown, Pennsylvania, 29 ...

Wolfgang, Saint

Bishop of Ratisbon (972-994), born about 934; died at the village of Pupping in upper Austria, ...

Wolfram von Eschenbach

Generally regarded as the greatest of Middle-High-German epic poets, date of birth unknown; d. ...

Wolgemut, Michael

Painter and engraver, b. at Nuremberg, 1434; d. there, 1519. He was the most prominent artist of ...

Wolowski, Louis-François-Michel-Reymond

Born at Warsaw, 31 Aug., 1810; d. at Gisors, Eure, 15 Aug., 1876. His father, a member of the ...

Wolsey, Thomas

Cardinal, Archbishop of York, b. at Ipswitch, the usually accepted date, 1471, being probably ...

Wolstan, Saint

Benedictine, and Bishop of Worcester, b. at Long Itchington, Warwickshire, England, about 1008; ...

Woman

Of late years the position of woman in human society has given rise to a discussion which, as part ...

Wood, Thomas

Priest and confessor, b. about 1499; d. in Wisbech Castle before 1588. After being prebendary ...

Wood-Carving

In general, the production from wood of objects of trade or art by means of sharp instruments, as ...

Woodcock, Venerable John

English Franciscan martyr, b. at Leyland, Lancashire, 1603; suffered at Lancaster, 7 August, ...

Woodhead, Abraham

Born at Almonbury, Yorkshire, about March, 1609; died at Hoxton, Middlesex, 4 May, 1678. This ...

Woodhouse, Blessed Thomas

Martyr who suffered at Tyburn 19 June, 1573, being disembowelled alive. Ordained in Mary's ...

Woods, Julian Edmund Tenison

Priest and scientist, b. at Southwark, London, 15 Nov., 1832; d. at Sydney, New South Wales, 7 ...

Worcester, Ancient Diocese of

(WIGORNIENSIS.) Located in England, created in 680 when, at the Synod of Hatfield under ...

Words (in Canon Law)

To give the right value to words is a very important factor in the proper interpretation of ...

World, Antiquity of the

Various attempts have been made to establish the age of the world. Two groups of scientists have ...

Wormwood

( Hebrew la'anah .) Wormwood, known for its repulsive bitterness ( Jeremiah 9:15 ; 23:15 ; ...

Worship, Christian

NOTION AND CHARACTERISTICS The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe , "honour"; from worth , ...

Worsley, Edward

Born in Lancashire, England, 1605; died at Antwerp, 2 Sept., 1676. He is said to have been ...

Worthington, Thomas, D.D.

Third President of Douai College , b. 1549 at Blainscough Hall, near Wigan, Lancashire; d. at ...

Wounds, The Five Sacred

Devotion The revival of religious life and the zealous activity of St. Bernard and St. ...

Wouters, G. Henry

Historian, b. at Oostham, Belgian Limburg, 3 May, 1802; d. 5 January, 1872. In 1829 he became ...

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Wr 2

Wright, Venerable Peter

Martyr, b. at Slipton, Northamptonshire, 1603; suffered at Tyburn, 19 May, 1651. After spending ...

Wright, William

Born at York, 1562; died 18 Jan., 1639. Though he came late (23) to his studies, he then made ...

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Wu 2

Wulfen, Franz Xaver Freiherr von

Botanist, b. at Belgrade, 5 November, 1728; d. at Klagenfurt, 17 March, 1805. He was the son of ...

Wulfram, Saint

(VULFRAMNUS.) Bishop of Sens, missionary in Frisi, born at Milly near Fontainebleau, probably ...

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Wy 5

Wyart, Théophile-Louis-Henri

(In religion DOM SEBASTIAN). Abbot of Cîteaux and Abbot-General of the Order of ...

Wyche, Saint Richard de

Bishop and confessor, b. about 1197 at Droitwich, Worcestershire, from which his surname is ...

Wyclif, John

(WYCLIFFE, or WICLIF, etc.). Writer and "reformer", b. probably at Hipswell near Richmond, ...

Wyntoun, Andrew of

Scottish chronicler, born (as we know from the internal evidence of his writings) in the reign ...

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