When the Luftwaffe bombed Exeter Cathedral (tit-for-tat: the RAF had bombed a nice little medieval University city in Germany ... and the Rhodes Scholars in the German government wouldn't allow Oxford to get the retaliation ... such are the Exeter legends) a discovery was made amidst the rubble: of wax ex voto offerings which had been hidden behind a stone above the tomb of Exeter's learned and holy Bishop Edmund Lacey (it was rather a shrine: his progress towards canonisation was of course halted by the Reformation). Presumably they were hidden away when the Protestant Dean Simon Heynes vandalised the tomb. (He was not a popular dean and his new-fangled religion was as unpopular in the Close as it was in the City.)
I would be interested to know more about how these shrines operated ... I mean, shrines of the uncanonised on their way to possible canonisation. Clearly, offerings were made in the expectations of benefits; for which, upon receipt, appropriate thanks were naturally rendered. For example: at Windsor, when the murdered body of Henry VI lay there in the expectation that it would be translated to the new Lady Chapel at Westminster, was his shrine a busy one? We know that offerings were sent there, and by members of the Royal House.
And what was the physical appearance of these shrines? Bishop Lacey's is still there ... a stone slab with a brass inset. Another nearly-Saint, Prince Edward at Tewkesbury, to whom I plan to return, originally had a stone with a brass inset. And a real Saint ... S Ethelred at Wimborne Minster ... is commemorated in the same way. (I am grateful to Mr N J Rogers, Archivist at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, for these two pieces of information.) Brasses, I presume, were the way to do it upon limited resources.
Bishop Lacey of Exeter was an intellectual who was not above putting his head into intellectual hornets' nests. On August 15 1441 he preached to the English Chapter of the of the Dominicans in the Exeter Blackfriars at a time when the Preachers were still far from enthusiastic about the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; his action in having his sermon transcribed into his register has no parallel that I know of in Medieval episcopal registers ... (would anyone like to comment on that?).
Lacey pulled no punches: "So those who, with their rash and reprobate opinion struggle to besmirch her Conception, let them shut their mouths; and those who struggle to put blemishes on her way of life, let them put a sock in it; and those who are unwilling to exalt the outcome of her Assumption, let them get lost and stay lost (perpetuo delitescant)."
But let me tell you his argument for the Assumption. The Philosopher of the Ethics proves that it is necessary for there to be some end to human affairs, namely immortality and eternity. To which our antonomaic Lady is deservedly assumed by the Apostle, Romans 2, 'Glory, honour and peace to the one who does good'.
So you bung Aristotle and S Paul together and invoke the principle of antonomasia, which I trust is still taught in the Fundamental Theology courses in our seminaries, and Bob's your Uncle.