Church Monuments Society
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Archive of Monuments of the Month April 2013 To November 2013
Monument of the Month -
Revd Theophilus Pickering (d. 1710) and John Dryden, Poet Laureate (d. 1700), Titchmarsh (Northamptonshire)
The church at Titchmarsh (Northamptonshire) contains two rare painted wooden mural
monuments of the early eighteenth century, both painted by Mrs Elizabeth Creed (d.
1725), a talented amateur painter and writer of epitaphs. Born in 1642, she was the
only daughter of Sir Gilbert Pickering by Elizabeth, the only daughter of Sir Sidney
Montagu, and sister of Edward Montagu, first earl of Sandwich. On her father’s side
she was the first cousin once removed of the poet John Dryden and on her mother’s
side she was a second cousin of Samuel Pepys, in whose famous diary she is mentioned
a good deal, although he disapproved of her marriage to John Creed of Oundle. John
became deputy treasurer of the navy and subsequently Secretary for the Commissioners
at Tangiers. The couple had eleven children, five of whom died in infancy and the
eldest son, Major Richard Creed was killed at Blenheim; he has monuments in Westminster
Abbey and at Titchmarsh, both with epitaphs written by his gifted mother. John Creed
died in 1701 and during her widowhood, Mrs Creed resided many years in a mansion
house at Barnwell, near Oundle, belonging to the Montagu family. Here she amused
and employed herself in painting, instructed many young women in drawing, fine needle-
Fig 1 Monument to Revd Theophilus Pickering
The bust on its pedestal sits under an arch adorned with delicate swags of foliage,
which in turn is between two faux carved columns with urn-
The first monument, in the north chancel aisle, painted in Mrs Creed’s sixty-
Fig. 2 Close up of painted bust of Revd Theophilus Pickering
Fig. 3 John Dryden and his parents Erasmus Dryden and Mary Pickering
The second tablet, in the north nave chapel, was painted in 1722 in memory of her cousin John Dryden and his parents Erasmus Dryden and Mary Pickering. John Dryden died on May 12, 1700, and was initially buried in St Anne’s cemetery in Soho, before being exhumed and reburied in Westminster Abbey ten days later in Poet’s Corner. He is commemorated there by a pedestal monument with a bust atop, as befits the English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was made Poet Laureate in 1668 and dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. His memorial panel at Titchmarsh is a much simpler composition designed for contemplation by his family; it comprises a painted inscription in a carved wooden frame surmounted by a carved wooden bust of the poet, with the words ‘The Poet’ on its base.
Extracts from the inscription read: ‘We boast that he was bred & had his first learning
here [i.e. at the Pickering seat at Titchmarsh] where he often made us happie by
his kind visits & most delightfull conversation … He recieued the notice of his approaching
dissolution with sweet submission and entire resignation to the divine will. And
he took so tender and obliging a farewell of his friends as none but he him self
could have expressed (of which sorrowful number I was one) … The 80 year of my age.
Eliza. Creed. 1722’. More of Mrs Creed’s monuments may be found in the church of
All Saints Barnwell, including the painted decoration on the monument to her daughter
Dorothy Creed (d.1714). It comprises a black arch-
Fig. 4 Close up of carved bust of John Dryden.
Copyright: Sally Badham Photographs: Tim Sutton
Monument of the Month -
Cholmondeley Monument, St Peter ad Vincula,
Tower of London
The chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, the ‘Parish Church’ of the Tower of London is
the resting place of numerous famous characters from British history. Due to the
nature of their deaths, few have marked graves, with the majority of known graves
belonging to former residents of the Tower. The chapel is thought to have been the
site of Christian worship since the Anglo-
View looking east of the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. The Cholmondeley Monument is inside the railings in the left of the image.
The oldest original tomb in the chapel is the monument to Sir Richard Cholmondeley,
a former Lieutenant of the Tower of London, and his wife Elizabeth. The monument
is constructed out of alabaster, with a limestone base and, based on the date of
Sir Richard’s death is dated to 1521-
The monument consists of effigies of Sir Richard and his wife Elizabeth, both lying-
Sir Richard is famous for two reasons. In his role of Lieutenant of the Tower he ordered that the Tower’s cannons be fired upon rioters in the City of London during the ‘Evil May Day’ of 1517. While in death he was immortalised as the Lieutenant of the Tower in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Savoy Opera, The Yeoman of the Guard. Amongst the current Yeomen of the Guard, Sir Richard’s major claim to fame appears to be that his tomb is now empty.
Details of his life are vague, indeed contemporary documents (including his will)
refer to his surname as ‘Cholmeley’ suggesting that the plaque on his tomb may have
been misspelled. He was born around 1460 and as a young man appears to have been
a member of Henry VII’s Court. After receiving his knighthood in 1497 he gained several
new appointments in the north of England. He relinquished most of these in 1503 and
may well have moved south to a new appointment of the Lieutenant of the Tower in
1504. Although no official date of appointment can be established, Cholmondeley was
certainly in position by Henry VIII’s coronation in 1509. In his role as Lieutenant
of the Tower, Cholmondeley was responsible for organising the ordnance based in the
Tower, helping to sending supplies and equipment to the English army in France as
well as being personally responsible for any prisoners. His will, proved in March
1522, stated that he wished to be buried in the Chapel of our Blessed Lady of Barking
beside the Tower of London (All Hallows) or if they would not allow it, then in the
church of the Crutched Friars beside the Tower of London. Recent work on burials
at the Crutched Friars has shown that some monuments were relocated after the institution's
dissolution in 1538. It is likely that this is what happened to the Cholmondeley
Tomb as an entry in the Chapel's burial register for “Sir Roger Cholmley's father”
appears in the period 1554-
The monument gained its local fame, however, when it was moved during the renovations
of 1876. When opened, the tomb was found to be empty, with the exception of the original
Tudor font, which has now been re-
 TNA Work 14/144 – Memoranda: Damage to Cholmondeley Monument in St Peter’s Chapel (10 May, 1914).
 TNA PROB 11/20/327 – Will of Sir Richard Cholmeley of Saint Mary Barking, City of London (24 March, 1522).
 Christian Steer, ' "better in remembrance": Medieval commemoration at the Crutched
Friars London', Church Monuments, 25 (2011), pp.36-
 The Register of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London (Marriages: 1586-
 Mervyn Blatch, A Guide to London’s Churches (London, 1978), 404-
Dr George Roberts
Monument of the Month -
Thomas and Mary Acton, erected 1581,
Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire
Erected in 1581 the handsome funeral monument commemorating Thomas Acton of Sutton
and his wife Mary is very much a work of its time. The strap-
HERE LYETH·THOMAS·ACTONE OF SVTTON ESQVIERWHOE AT THE ADGE OF LXXYERES DEPARTED THIS LYFE THE 2 JANVARY AN·1546 AND MARYE HIS WYFE DAWGHTER OF SIR THOMAS LACON OF WILLYKNIGHT BEING OF THE ADGE OF LVIII YERES LYKWYS DESCEASED THEXX VII OF APRIL·1564·HAVING ISSUE IN THEIR LYFETYME TWO SONNES LANCELLOT AND GABRIELL WHO DIED BEFOR THEM IN THEIR INFANCY AND IOYSE THEIR O NLY DAWGHTER AND HEIRE BEING THEN OF THE AGE XII YERES WAS ESPOVSED TO SIR THOMAS LVCYE OF CHARLCOT KNIGHT WHICH DAME IOYSE IN DVTIFULL REMEM BRAVNCE OF THEIS HER LOVING PARENTS HATHE ERECTED THIS MONVMENT·ANNO 1581
Along the north sides of the chest are panels containing the images of the two infant sons, although not depicted as such but as kneeling youths. The centre panel of the south side has the kneeling image of Joyce, the daughter and heir who erected the tomb. She outlived her father by 49 years, dying at the age of 63 in February 1595/6. As the inscription relates, she was espoused to Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Warwickshire at the age of 12. He commemorated her in the church at Charlecote with a monument from a London or Southwark workshop that has a long inscription written by him in her praise.
The west end of the chest is occupied by an achievement of the Acton arms. Unlike
the other panels, the oval that contains it is set horizontally. It is derived directly
from a print published in 1560 by Hans Vredeman de Vries. It comes from a set of
architectural views set in ovals with strap-
The monument must have been made in the Midlands but most monuments of this time
in the area belong to identifiable groups and there is nothing else quite like it.
The earlier monument with alabaster effigies to Blanche Parry at Bacton in Herefordshire,
erected before she made her first will in November 1578 has an inscription panel
which, like the Acton panel, employs letters largely lacking serifs, unusual for
the period, although Bacton has incised lettering, while Tenbury's inscription is
in relief. The general approach at Bacton is simpler but the guilloche pattern around
the arch and the egg-
Monument of the Month -
An unusual saint
Floor slab of Jacopmine Huyghendochter, wife of Foert Christiaenszoon (d. 1553),
The Dutch coastal province of Zeeland is extraordinarily rich in medieval incised
slabs. In some churches a large concentration of such slabs survive. A good example
is the Sint-
The commemorative slab discussed here has suffered some wear, but is largely complete.
Its overall design is very traditional for this period. The quatrefoils in the corners
contain the four evangelist symbols, viz. (clockwise) the eagle for St John, the
angel for St Matthew, the winged ox for St Luke and the winged lion for St Mark,
all holding a scroll as an allusion to their gospels. In the centre above the central
image is a shield with a six-
Hier leyt begraven / Jacopmine Huyghen dochter de huysvrouwe was van / Foert Cristiaens zoone / sterf anno XVc LIIJ den VIIJten Julyo bidt voer de siele.
(Trans. Here lies buried Jacopmine Huyghendochter, who was the wife of Foert Christiaenszoon, died in the year 1553 on the 8th of July. Pray for the soul.)
What makes this slab noteworthy is the incised figure in the centre, which is not a effigial image of the deceased, but represents instead a rather unusual female saint hanging on a Tau cross. She is shown wearing a crown and a long dress with a girdle around her waist. Her feet are bare, and her arms and ankles are tied to the cross with ropes. Her long flowing hair indicates her virgin state. Yet the slab has suffered some wear and the most unusual aspect of her appearance is not immediately obvious: she has a forked beard.
This crucified virgin martyr is known by a variety of names, including St Wilgefortis or Uncumber, Ontkommer (Dutch), Liberata (Italian), Librada (Spanish), Débarras (French), and Kümmernis (German). Her legend probably first appeared in the fourteenth century. The saint’s father is supposed to have been a pagan king of Portugal, but Wilgefortis converted to Christianity. When her father ordered her to marry a pagan prince, she prayed to God to help preserve her chastity, upon which she miraculously grew a beard on her chin. This successfully repulsed her suitor, but so enraged her father that he had sher crucified. The legend may have been inspired by a medieval misinterpretation of the famous Volta Santo in Lucca, which presents the crucified Christ with a crown and dressed in a long robe. St Wilgefortis was believed to help those who invoke her in their hour of death to die without anxiety, but she was also popularly venerated by women who wished to be ‘disencumbered’ from their husbands. Her feastday is 20 July.
Why would a married woman have such a curious saint as the central feature of her
tomb slab, especially as it was presumably her husband who commissioned her monument?
A much plainer slab nearby commemorates Foert Christiaenszoon (d. 1569), who may
have been Jacopmine’s husband. It is more modern in appearance with an inscription
in Roman majuscules and roundels instead of quatrefoils, and also features a shield
with an Agnus Dei carrying a banner and a six-
It was not unusual for medieval memorials to feature name saints. Frank Greenhill illustratated three slabs in Zeeland with images of name saints, viz. St Gertrude of Nivelles on the slab of Gheertruyt Claesdochter Loets (d. 1539) in Hulst, St Adrian on that of Adriaen Cornelis Clayssenzoon (d. 1524) in Kapelle, and St Bartholomew (patron saint of butchers) on the slab of butcher Cornelis Piersen (d. 1538) in Biezelinge. There are more examples, and records of others no longer exant. Greenhill mentioned two fragments of the incised slab of the wife of Cornelis Wouterssen (d. 1531) in nearby Biezelinge: when last recorded these served as a doorstep to a nearby house and as part of a garden path.
● ID 2528 in the Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO) database at http://memo.hum.uu.nl/database/index.html
● 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. I, esp. 49, 195 (fig. 22), 305.
● G.J. Lepoeter, Kerk in perspectief. Verleden en heden van de Sint Maartenskerk te Wemeldinge (Kapelle/Wemeldinge, 1989).
● Hans van Dijk, ‘Vloerzerken in Zeeland. Vloerzerken met persoonsvoorstellingen,
Copyright: Dr Sophie Oosterwijk FSA
CAPTIONS TO FIGURES:
1. Floor slab of Jacopmine Huyghendochter, wife of Foert Christiaenszoon (d. 1553),
2. Detail of the incised image of St Wilgefortis on the floor slab of Jacopmine
Huyghendochter, wife of Foert Christiaenszoon (d. 1553), Sint-
5. The exterior of the Sint-
Monument of the Month -
'Left for dead'
Major Thomas Price
The Siege of Gloucester 1643 has been claimed to be a pivotal point in one of the
most important events in English history: the English Civil War. Gloucester sided
with the Parliamentarians leading to the city being besieged by Royalist troops commanded
by Charles I. Today few reminders of this stirring event remain. There is however
a large baroque monument to Major Thomas Price, a Royalist officer, the only monument
on the north wall of the chancel of St John's church in the city. It is believed
that the monument is by one of the Reeves, the local long-
Major Price, who died in 1678, is shown as a demi-
The Latin inscription on the monument, along with a recorded inscription on a lost ledger stone, describe Major Price as alderman, twice mayor, and Major of Horse to Charles I. During the Civil War he was said to have been often wounded, and on one occasion left for dead. From other sources it is known that prior to the Siege of Gloucester he was one of the stewards of the city and his name was recorded on the list of 104 citizens of Gloucester with Royalist leanings drawn up by Sir Edward Walker, Charles I's Secretary of State. On the outbreak of the Civil War he left Gloucester and fought for the King. He eventually returned to the city and became prominent again in local affairs, serving both as mayor and sheriff. His standing was such that he was granted the right to issue in his name a farthing token which could be used as currency within the city. It is interesting to note that although he was mayor, sheriff and a successful business man he chose to portray himself on his monument as a Royalist officer in armour.
Directly opposite the monument to Major Price, on the south wall of the chancel, is the monument to his daughter Dorothy (d. 1693), erected by a second daughter Bridget (d. 1753). The marble monument shows Dorothy as though asleep while beside the bed weeps a second woman. Could this be Bridget? If so, Major Price has stood guard over his two daughters for over two hundred years.
The Siege of Gloucester lasted 26 days from10th August to 5th September 1643. Accurate numbers of those killed are not available. Royalists claimed to have lost 100 while the Parliamentary sources put the Royalist losses as high as 1500. By contrast the city claimed to have lost only 50 although this is likely to be a low estimate.
Given the possible number of deaths it is surprising that there is only definitely identified monument to a casualty of the siege. A table tomb in the graveyard of St Swithun's church at Hempsted just south of Gloucester records the death of John Freeman. The Latin inscription states that he died, aged 23, on the 14th August just five days into the siege. It continues, “Here lieth John Freeman, Captain of horse.........pierced through by the stroke of a gunner's bullet at the siege of Gloucester, in the camp of the King”. There is no comparable monument to any of the townsfolk who were killed during the siege.
Indeed only one monument is known to a member of the Town of Gloucester Regiment
who fought in the siege and lived to tell the tale. This is to Thomas Pury the
younger (d. 1693) who was a captain in the regiment and became an MP for the Monmouth
Boroughs during the Commonwealth. Appropriately for a parliamentarian he is buried
in the churchyard of the 'Puritan' church of St Lawrence at Taynton. The original
Norman church was destroyed during the Siege of Gloucester and the present church
built in 1647-
The most lasting effect of the Siege of Gloucester is however what cannot be seen. On gaining the throne Charles II ordered in 1662 that the walls of Gloucester should be razed so that the city could never again defy the Monarchy. This began the destruction of the walls, and today all that remains above ground is a 4 metre long section.
Monument of the Month -
The monument to Dr Thomas Turner, died 1714
On the north chancel wall of the church of St Michael at Stowe-
Carved from a variety of marbles, the monument has a large central inscription placed on fringed drapery which is knotted at the upper corners and positioned beneath the cap of a balacchino. Flanking this arrangement are two fluted pilasters with two standing figures at the ends of the composition. The figure on the viewer’s left is that to Dr Turner, while that on the right is Faith who holds a model of a circular church. Above a moulded cornice is a segmental pediment. In the area beneath the curve is the unusual feature of a panel carved with clouds and an eye set within a sunburst. Beneath the main sill are two console brackets with a pair of oval cartouches of arms set on a plain panel.
Thomas Turner was born in Bristol in 1645, the younger brother of Francis Turner
who became Bishop of Ely. On 6th October 1663 he was admitted to Corpus Christi College
Oxford. He graduated with a B.A. degree on 15 March 1665-
Turner died on 29th April 1714 and is buried in the chapel of Corpus Christi College
but the obvious question is why is he commemorated by a monument at Stowe-
Thomas Stayner (the elder) was born in 1665, apprenticed in 1683 to Michael Todd and became free of the Mason’s Company in 1690. He was elected Master of the Mason’s Company in 1709. As early in his career as 1694 he had two apprentices working under him including his younger brother Anthony, while two of his own sons were also apprenticed to him. Although only nine monuments have been positively identified as by Stayner, he very probably made more which remain to be identified. He employed elements of the baroque in his work and demonstrates at least an understanding of some of the finer points of the style. The Turner monument is certainly one of his most ambitious but what makes the monument unusual is the positioning of the principal figures. That to Turner himself is quite controlled and simply shows him in clerical costume and carrying a book. It is the figure of Faith that is much more in the baroque style, especially her right hand brought up to the face in a dramatic gesture. The treatment of the drapery, particularly the end of the over gown that is gathered under her left hand, is firmly in the baroque tradition as is the head turned away from the spectator. Stayner has also placed the standing figures on spheres that display the constellations, another very unusual feature. The sphere beneath Turner also has his crest on the front while that beneath Faith carries a Bishop’s Mitre.
Stayner was quite an ambitious sculptor and the Turner piece is probably his most remarkable. Another of Stayner’s monuments is that at Quainton, Bucks, to Richard Winwood and his wife erected in 1689. This lively monument shows the male figure in armour lying on a mat, the rolled end supporting a cushion on which he rests his head. The body is turned away from that of his wife who reclines on the left elbow and gazes down at him in a pose of melancholy, her interlocked fingers being particularly beautifully rendered. This monument is also unusual in having an engraving of a recumbent skeleton, complete with hour glass under its raised knees, running the length of the tomb chest.
Thomas Stayner died in 1733 at West Hampton in Essex. In his will his widow Dorothy
was to inherit his house and other property and after her death the estate was to
pass to their daughter Mary. Stayner was an important sculptor. Although one of the
lesser known mason-
Dr Clive J Easter FSA
Monument of the Month -
Zacharias Johannes Szolc, 1682, and
Stanisław Bużenski, 1697
Frombork Cathedral, Poland
Frombork Cathedral, on the eastern shore of the Bay of Gdańsk, contains a very large
number of incised slabs and other monuments to members of the Cathedral Chapter.
Frombork (otherwise Frauenburg) was in the little Catholic enclave of Warmia (otherwise
Ermland) surrounded by Protestant Prussia. Although much of the population was German
speaking, these two late seventeenth-
Above: Canon Szolc
Above: Canon Bużenski
Canon Szolc came first; he was custodian of the Chancellary of the Diocese of Warmia, and prepared his slab in 1682, “being alive and well”. Canon Bużenski followed two years later; he was Dean of Warmia. Both died in 1692, the dates being added to the slabs.
Above: Vesalius engraving
What is remarkable is that they are clearly copied from an engraving in a book of anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, by Andreas Vesalius, 1543, as shown on the temporary hording surrounding the Bodleian Library’s extensive transmogrifications. The only significant difference is that the Frombork skeletons ponder an hourglass instead of a skull. That such a book was in the Chapter library need not surprise us: the Canons of Frombork were very erudite, indeed one of them, Mikołai Kopernik, received a special commendation from the Pope for his interesting astronomical discoveries in the 1540s.