Chantries, Obits and Altars
To medieval parishioners, heaven and hell were not abstract ideas but reality, reinforced by the wall paintings which adorned most parish churches. Wealth and prestige were no safeguard against damnation: artists frequently delighted in showing merchants, kings, bishops and even popes among the tormented souls in Hell. Good works and adherence to Christian doctrine were performed in order to avoid hell. But the deceased might spend centuries in Purgatory, waiting to be sent to heaven. So an industry developed of wealthy parishioners founding chantry chapels, or side altars and obits, where masses could be said for the souls of the deceased.