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This wax figure of a praying woman is one of a number of medieval votive objects belonging to Exeter Cathedral. The figurines were left by supplicants at the tomb of Bishop Edmund Lacy (d. 1455), who was locally venerated as a saint. Although such offerings were once a common sight at shrines throughout England, they disappeared at the Reformation, when the veneration of saints was forbidden.
In 1943, in the course of an inspection for bomb damage, a bundle of wax fragments was found hidden above Lacy’s tomb. The 1065 objects include one complete figure of a woman and fragments of many more figurines representing human bodies, limbs, and animals, some with attached twine. Unique in the United Kingdom, these objects offer a precious insight into the beliefs and concerns of worshippers in the late medieval period. Too fragile to be handled or even kept on display, a selection have now been 3D scanned as part of the Past in its Place Project, funded by the European Research Council.