Church Monuments Society
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Archive of Monuments of the Month July 2012 to March 2013
Lowsley Family Tomb, Hampstead
St Mary’s, Hampstead Norris, is probably best known for the fragmentary sculpture of a charging knight on horseback which may have formed part of a funerary monument
Behind the church, another monument demands attention. Bright orange with rust,
it is a cast iron square-
But in common with stone, cast iron is not indestructible. The third photograph
shows that the south-
Dr Andrew Sargent
Oliver Cromwell's Coffin Plate
The Protector Oliver Cromwell died at the early age of 59 of what was described as
a tertian fever ¹ at Whitehall on the afternoon of Friday 3rd September 1658. A post
Oliver Protector of the Republics
of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Born 25th April in the year 1599
Inaugurated 16th December 1653
Died 3rd September in the year 1658
Was buried here
However Oliver was not to rest in peace. At the Restoration in 1660 Lords and Commons, not satisfied with the brutal execution of the living regicides, were determined to exact revenge on the dead ones too. Parliament ordered that the corpses of Henry Ireton (an important architect of the regicide), John Bradshaw (president of the court which had tried the King), Thomas Pride (of Pride's Purge ²) and Oliver Cromwell were to be disinterred, dragged in hurdles to Tyburn ³ and there hung up 'in their coffins', although the actual meaning of latter phrase is somewhat obscure.
This disgusting performance was carried out on the 30th January 1660/61, the anniversary of the execution of Charles I. Colonel Pride's body was not discovered but the other three were all resting in the Cromwell vault. At this point Oliver's coffin plate was torn off and passed into private ownership. The three bodies were dragged to Tyburn and hanged, then beheaded and thrown into the common pit. At the same time the effigies of the Protector and the Commonwealth coat of arms were burned
The subsequent fate of Oliver Cromwell's body -
The coffin plate is on display in the Museum of London
¹ A fever with a forty eight hour periodicity which occurs in some forms of malaria
² Col Thomas Pride was one of those who stood at the door of parliament and purged parliament of the members who would not vote for the trial of the King
³ Site of the famous London gallows, now Marble Arch
John K Bromilow MInstP
A Monument in
Holy Trinity Church Hull
In the south aisle of Holy Trinity church, Hull (Yorkshire) is a tomb monument with effigies of a civilian and wife carved from the local Ledsham alabaster resting on a tombchest decorated with shields within quatrefoils. The whole is within an ornate canopied niche, which is cusped and subcusped and has an ogee gable with blank panelling to the left and right. The effigies are carved in a singular way suggestive of local workmanship. It has been subject to some restoration. An engraving made by Basire for Richard Gough before 1786 shows the man’s hands as having been broken off, but they have been replaced and the broken figures of supporting angels smoothed off. The book held between his hands may not therefore reflect the original design, although a heart held by his wife is authentic.
Who is commemorated by this tomb has been the subject of vexed debate. The accompanying notice in the church is headed ‘the de la Pole tomb’ and quotes the opinion of many antiquaries. Candidates include various of the de la Pole family members and their Wingfield connections, but the two most popular suggestions are Richard de la Pole (d. 1345) and his wife, and his brother William de la Pole the elder (d. 1366) and his wife Katherine Norwich. Yet both can be ruled out.
Civilian costume is not always easy to date with precision but a date in the range
A significant clue as to the identity of the civilian and wife at Hull is that he
has dangling from his belt a probe, used by wool merchants for testing the quality
of wool. It is highly unlikely that the upwardly-
Sally Badham FSA
East Worldham (Hampshire)
The charming small church at East Worldham (Hampshire) has but a single medieval
monument. This is a semi-
There has been a long-
There are various other reasons why the monument at East Worldham cannot have commemorated
Philippa Chaucer. First, this type of semi-
Having disposed of the tradition that this monument commemorated Philippa Roet, who does it represent? The latest edition of the Buildings of England for the area suggests that it was made to commemorate Margery, widow of John de Venuz, who died in 1329. It is very likely that it commemorated a member of the de Venuz family, but a date of c. 1329 for this monument seems too late unless she was depicted in outmoded costume. So the search goes on …
Sally Badham FSA
Floor slab of Cornelis Pietersze (d. 1532) and his wife Jozijne van Domburch (d.
This month’s monument is found in the Dutch coastal province of Zeeland, which is
unusually rich in late-
The double slab of Cornelis Pietersze and his wife Jozijne van Domburch is situated in the north aisle of the church, partly hidden under carpets for protection. It commemorates a local married couple. Cornelis was a steward in the service of the counts of Buren (from the House of Egmond). He was thus responsible for raising taxes and, more generally, for managing his lord’s properties in Zeeland. He and his wife probably lived in the local castle, thus overseeing the court of Sint Maartensdijk in the absence of its formal owners. Little else is known about them. Cornelis died in 1532 and was survived by his wife Jozijne van Domburch, who died on 1 December 1557. The slab must have been commissioned in her lifetime and probably while her husband was still alive, for his date of death was added on the second line along the bottom while hers was never completed. It was quite normal to buy one’s future grave and tombstone in advance with the names and titles already engraved in the stone: the details of death could be added later, althoughthis did not always happen. The inscription in incised Gothic textualis lettering reads:
Hier leyt begra(ven) Cornelis / Pieters zo(on), rentm(eeste)r in zij(n) leve(n) va(n) Sinte Mertensdijck, / sterf a(nn)o XVc XXXII de(n) XIIt(en) meerte. // En(de) joncfr(ouw) Jozijne van / Do(m)burch, zij(n) huysvr(ouw), sterf a(nn)o XVc [...].
(Here lies buried Cornelis, son of Pieter, steward of Sint Maartensdijk in his lifetime, died in the year 1532 on the 12th of March. And the lady Jozijne van Domburch, his wife, died in the year 15[...].)
The slab shows husband and wife as if alive, turning towards each other and standing
on a tiled floor, their hands raised in a gesture of prayer. He is shown wearing
The two elegant figures have been carved in the taille d’épargne technique with incised lines for the inner drawing. The design has been confidently executed by highly skilled craftsmen able to meet the local demand for effigial slabs. The worn double slab to Niclaes Niclaeszoon Basijn (d. 1536) and his wife [...] Gillesdochter in the same church is very similar in design. Although the slab of Cornelis and Jozijne is in good condition, considering its age and position, it has suffered the typical vandalism of the French occupation in the late 1790s when marks of heraldry and rank were considered at odds with the new desire for égalité. The heraldic shields in the spandrels of the decorated arch above the figures and the banderole in the centre have thus been hacked away completely, while the housemarks on the shields halfway down the lateral text bands have been effaced. Curiously the quatrefoils in the corners of the slab have also suffered the same fate, although these contained the evangelist symbols that are commonly found on medieval memorial slabs. An antiquarian drawing in the collection Zelandia Illustrata shows the slab as still intact, although the artist misinterpreted the two horizontal slits in the man’s right sleeve as some sort of buckle.
There is an interesting sequel to this double monument as Jozijne was apparently
never buried with her husband. She is instead commemorated with her mother Katherijne
Tshuwers or Tschauwers (d. 1538) on a still extant, double effigial slab in the
church of Our Lady in Tholen that was recorded by the same eighteenth-
The slabs in Sint Maartensdijk and Tholen and others across the Netherlands will
be included in the database of the MeMO (Medieval Memoria Online) project that is
currently being completed for its launch at http://memodatabase.hum.uu.nl in early
February 2013. See also http://memo.hum.uu.nl/ and http://memo.hum.uu.nl/oudewater/index.html.
With thanks also to Dr Margaret Scott for her analysis of the dress of the two figures,
● F.A. Greenhill, Incised Effigial Slabs. A Study of Engraved Stone Memorials in Latin Christendom, c.1100 to c.1700, 2 vols (London: Faber & Faber, 1976), vol. II, 184.
● http://www.zeeuwsarchief.nl for antiquarian drawings by Korstiaen Bestebroer in the collection Zelandia Illustrata.
● Hans van Dijk, ‘Vloerzerken in Zeeland. Vloerzerken met persoonsvoorstellingen,
Copyright: Dr Sophie Oosterwijk FSA and Kees Knulst BA.
An exercise in white marble and whitewashing
Cenotaph of Lieutenant-
Those lucky enough to gain entrance to the Grote or Jacobskerk in the heart of The
Hague cannot fail to be impressed by the imposing Baroque monument to Jacob van Wassenaer
The monument to Van Wassenaer Obdam is actually a cenotaph that was erected as a
piece of political propaganda in 1667, i.e. towards the end of the Second Anglo-
This ambitious monument was designed by the painter Cornelis Moninckx (c.1623-
Yet instead of celebrating a naval victory, as its impressive appearance might suggest,
this public monument was intended to disguise the truth of probably one of the worst
defeats ever to befall the Dutch navy. In 1653 the aristocrat Jacob van Wassenaer
Van Wassenaer Obdam was succeeded by the most famous Dutch naval commander, Michiel
Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (1606-
Dr Sophie Oosterwijk is the Co-
● Frits Scholten, ‘The apotheosis of an admiral: Bartholomeus Eggers and the tomb
for Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam’, in Sumptuous Memories. Studies in Seventeenth-
● William Laird Clowes, The Royal Navy: A History, from the Earliest Times to the
Present (1898, repr. London: Chatham Publishing, 1996), 259-
● N.A.M. Rodger, The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649-
● Entry on Bartholomeus Eggers by Wilhelmina Halsema-
Martin Kistenmaker and his Parents
The former nunnery church of Holy Cross in Rostock, on the Baltic coast, contains
an outstanding collection of incised slabs, all beautifully displayed and catalogued.
(Wolfgang Eric Wagner, Die Grabplatten des Klosters »Zum Heiligen Kreuz« in Rostock,
2007) Many of the slabs represent nuns, sometimes two or three to a slab, as well
as their chaplains, relations and benefactors. This one shows us a chaplain in Mass
vestments, holding a chalice and host in his left hand, and blessing with his right,
a characteristically German pose. The scroll around his half-
The slab measures 1.44 x 0.76 m, and is number 21 in Wagner’s catalogue.
The monument to Archbishop James Sharp (d.1679)
Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews (Fife)
The monument of this month commemorates both an archbishop and a political murder. James Sharp was born at Banff Castle in 1618 and studied at King’s College, Aberdeen. By 1642 he was a regent at the University of St Andrews and in 1648 he became the minister at Crail. He married Helen Moncrieff with whom he had seven children. Originally a moderate and a mediator in troubled times, Sharp is now best known in local folklore for his murder in 1679.
Throughout Sharp’s life there were movements in Scotland against the monarchy, eventually
leading to the Civil War. Moreover, the Reformation had left deep rifts between Catholics
and Protestants. The Episcopalian Church was seen as a Catholic religion headed by
the monarchy and its allies. It is thus that, in the aftermath of both Reformation
and Civil War, Sharp’s decision in 1661 to become episcopalian archbishop and primate
of all Scotland was regarded as a betrayal of presbyterianism (a minimalist form
of Protestantism) and caused him to be seen as a self-
Things came to a head on 3 May 1679 as a band of presbyterian conventiclers set out to scare a local sheriff for some authoritarian wrong he had done them. When the sheriff failed to turn up, the men got wind of the Archbishop passing close by on his way from Cupar to St Andrews, and seized this new opportunity to flex their muscles. Riding swiftly across the barren Magus Muir they pursued the Archbishop’s carriage and, having overtaken it, held his daughter while they fell upon Sharp hacking at him until the fatal shot was fired into his chest. Their momentum had taken them too far.
Unsurprisingly, the event was seized upon by both sides as representative of their own glory and the other side’s godlessness. The murderers justified this vicious whim as God’s will. They claimed that God had sent them the Archbishop. In St Andrews, meanwhile, the Archbishop was buried at Holy Trinity church as an episcopalian martyr. Still occupying most of the east wall of the south transept is a wall monument commissioned that same year by Sharp’s son, Sir William Sharp of Scotscraig, to tell the story of his father’s murder and celebrate his martyrdom. The unknown sculptor may have been Dutch or at least trained in the Netherlands.
Sir William had two main agendas. The first was to commemorate his father as a martyr rather than a turncoat. The second was to establish his family’s heritage by thus celebrating his father’s privileged status as archbishop. The Restoration introduced a new aristocracy whose members felt pressured to justify and consolidate their positions by devising noble family histories for themselves and thereby claiming a place in public memory. Numerous – sometimes entirely fabricated – family tombs and portraits were created across the country, and Archbishop Sharp’s was no exception.
Sharp’s monument consists of three tiers. The lower tier holds a marble relief of the murder, which depicts the Archbishop calm and serene as he is martyred, his raised hand reminiscent of many Renaissance and Baroque martyr scenes. Flanking the relief are two Chi Rho monograms each crowned with archiepiscopal mitres and framed by martyr’s palms. The Chi Rho is an old Christian symbol for Christ and arguably associated with Catholicism.
Above this lower tier, resting on three skulls, is a sarcophagus flanked by two grandiose marble pillars and two torches. The skulls act as a memento mori to remind us of the temporary nature of all things physical. Indeed, the overt presence of the sarcophagus may be seen as conveying a similar message: the body is here, and there is no denying that it is a corpse.
The monument’s centre piece is a full-
The upper tier features a relief of what we may guess to be a fanciful reconstruction of the church of St Regulus at St Andrews, the remains of which still stand next to the cathedral. The archbishop stands beside it in full archiepiscopalia, underlining once more his status as a virtuous father of his church and archbishop of St Andrews.
Although the monument is imposing in size, elaborate in design, and made of costly
materials, it cannot be described as a work of high artistic quality. The figure
of the archbishop is not only rather disproportionate, but also lacking in detail
Nevertheless, the monument tells the story of a notorious and symbolic political event at a turbulent, crucial time in Scottish history. Indeed, the monument’s size, luxury and loud episcopalian symbolism contrasts sharply with the church’s quiet Protestant decor. This in itself is a poignant reminder of the town and country’s deep religious conflict of the time. The memorial to Archbishop Sharp must therefore be considered an important monumental highlight in the university town of St Andrews.
Copyright: Phoebe Armstrong
This piece was based on my Art History undergraduate dissertation ‘The Various Images and Bodies of a Man: Archbishop James Sharp’ at the University of St Andrews (2011) supervised by Dr Sophie Oosterwijk.
N.B. Larger versions of all the above photographs can be seen by clicking on the smaller version included in the text.
Julia Buckroyd, The Life of James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews, 1618 to 1679: A Political Biography (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1987).
Nigel Llewellyn, Funeral Monuments in Post-
David George Mullan, ‘James Sharp’, entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography at http://www.oxforddnb.com
Rev. W.E.K. Rankin’s notebook, ‘Old St Andrews’, Article V, held in the University of St Andrews Special Collections.
Peter Sherlock, Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008).
The Monument at Sheriff Hutton (Yorkshire).
Is this the tomb of Richard III’s son?
At the east end of the north aisle of Sheriff Hutton parish church (originally the chantry chapel of the Wytham family) stands an undersized chest tomb of alabaster (Fig 1). It has evidently spent some time exposed to the elements, being severely damaged by damp and frost, especially at the north side.
It now consists of the east and west ends, both with shields under canopies, and a south side with panels of kneeling angels supporting shields each side of a central Trinity carving and flanking saints, probably SS. Barbara and John the Evangelist. That this is the original south side of the tomb is confirmed by the presence of a donor figure facing east in the central panel of the Holy Trinity. The north side is missing. The effigy wears a robe, possibly furred at the hem, and a soft cap. The feet and supporters are missing (Fig 2). The face is much weathered but seems to be rounded, with no facial hair and could be interpreted as that of a juvenile. No colour is now visible on the tomb but the Neville arms were reliably recorded on it in 1623
For more than a century the legend has been gaining ground that this is the monument of the only legitimate son of Richard III, Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales, who died young in 1484. The suggestion can be traced to J.W. Clay in 1904 who, in editing the Church Notes of the antiquarian Roger Dodsworth, first made the tentative suggestion for the tomb’s identification, based on a reading of the record of the Neville heraldry on the monument and in the glass of the church. This notion was taken up with enthusiasm by later commentators and is now often uncritically accepted, although it has been challenged in recent years.
The contemporary accounts in the 1480’s of the death and burial of Edward of Middleham: the Crowland Chronicle and the Rous Roll, place his death and burial at Middleham. He “…was seized with an illness of but short duration and died at Middleham Castle…”, “…..Edward was honourably buried at Middleham, it is said”. The movements of Richard III and his Queen at the time of Edward’s death are detailed in the Harleian MSS; they received the news of his death at Nottingham, went first to York on their way north and then to Middleham. There is no indication of a journey to Sheriff Hutton at that time.
The first record of the tomb in the church is that of Dodsworth in 1623. Previous to that, a Visitation in 1584 by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald, describes the other monuments in the church but makes no mention of the alabaster chest tomb. It is possible the original location of the tomb was not the parish church at all, but the chapel at Sheriff Hutton castle. In 1546 the chantry commissioners recorded a chantry of the ‘Holy Trinity and Our Blessed Ladye’ (possibly the chapel’s dedication) in the chapel of Sheriff Hutton castle, served by two priests. The presence of the carved panel of the Holy Trinity, together with the donor figure on the south side of the tomb may relate it to this chantry.
The style of the tomb is quite unlike other alabaster tombs of the 1480s and relates to a closely connected group of tombs made sixty years earlier which can be dated to the first quarter of the fifteenth century, all associated with Yorkshire gentry of the Lancastrian affinity, more specifically that of Henry IV. The design of the Sheriff Hutton tomb chest is a compressed version of the tomb chest of Robert Waterton (d.1425) at Methley (Fig. 3) and of Sir Richard Redman (d. 1426) at Harewood. At Methley the tomb and the chapel in which it is housed, relate specifically to the 1425 will of Robert Waterton and the arms of his executors on the contemporary wooden screen date the chapel to soon after the will.
Comparison with similar tombs is not the only dating evidence for the Sheriff Hutton
tomb; the bare-
The workshop which produced the tombs at Harewood and Methley (and possibly also at Swine) was probably situated not in the Midlands, where the major deposits of alabaster were found, but at York, using a local source of the stone. Characteristic of this workshop is the carving of miniature vaulting within the canopies finished with a small central boss and a slight convexity to the carving of the shields. This workshop seems to have ceased producing tombs some time during the 1420s; no later examples are known. The Sheriff Hutton tomb forms part of its output and its significance lies, not in the dubious identification with Edward of Middleham, but the evidence it gives of another high status Lancastrian patron of this York workshop. The heraldry reliably recorded on the tomb links it with the Nevilles and, at the period of its manufacture, Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland held the castle and manor of Sheriff Hutton, so it may be one of his children. It may be some comfort to Ricardians to think that the tomb may be that of a kinsman of his Queen, even if it is not of her son.
Copyright: Dr Jane Crease
British Library: Harleian MSS 433, f. 172 et seq.
Pronay, N. and Cox, J (eds.), The Crowland Chronicle Continuations 1459-
Courthope W. H. (ed.), The Rous Roll, London 1859
Crease, J., ‘Not commonly reputed or taken for a saincte’: the output of a northern workshop in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries’; in Badham, S. and Oosterwijk, S. (eds.), Monumental Industry: The Production of Tomb Monuments in England and Wales in the Long Fourteenth Century, Donington, 2010
Crease, J., ‘The Sheriff Hutton Monument’, Ricardian Bulletin, Sep. 2009, pp. 37-
Routh, P. and Knowles, R., The Sheriff Hutton Alabaster: a Re-