Church Monuments Society
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Archive of Monuments of the Month November 2013 to April 2014
Monument of the Month -
Robert Crane (d. 1500), Chilton (Suffolk)
One of Suffolk’s best-
The effigies of Robert and his wife lie on a high tomb chest decorated with square
foliated panels which have shields that are set within foliated lozenge panels. The
heraldry on the chest is coloured with modern paint. The arms shown are: south side
Robert is shown straight-
Dame Anne is depicted in a cloak over a surcoat ouverte and wears an SS collar. On her head she wears an early version of the gable headdress which remained in fashion into the 1530s. Some of the original polychromy remains on it on the side facing the chapel, revealing an elaborate scrolling pattern in red and providing a tantalising glimpse of how richly such monuments were once painted.
The iconography of Robert’s tomb is all about status and lineage, with no religious imagery. This accords with Robert’s will shows him to be a man of conventional piety. He was concerned for the fate of his soul, but not unusually so. He left 40s to find a good priest to say prayers for his soul so that he might speed his progress through Purgatory. He also provided for masses at various friaries, including at Sudbury, Cambridge, Syon, Shene and the London Charterhouse, and convents at Sudbury, Clare and Bruisyard. More ambitiously he asked for a mass of the Scala Celi at Rome, although oddly he provided only 6s 8d for this; his widow made the same provision but allowing a more generous 40s for it. The original Scala Coeli pardon was attached to an altar at the abbey of Tre Fontane in Rome. To visit the chapel and have a mass celebrated on behalf of an individual after death would give great benefits to the soul, variously described as freeing the soul from the pains of Purgatory at once or swiftly. Its reputation was international, and from the end of the fourteenth century some Englishmen left bequests for pilgrims to visit the chapel on their behalf. Robert asked that all the friars at nearby Sudbury attend his funeral; each of them would receive 20d in recompense. On that day there were to be doles distributed to the poor of various Suffolk parishes. A personal touch concerning his peity is provided by his bequest ‘to my suster Appulton my Releqwikis aboute my nek’, which must have been holy objects in a little case.
Copyright: Sally Badham. Photos: C.B. Newham. Thanks to Simon Cotton for help with wills.
Monument of the Month -
A son’s delayed memorial to his dead mother
The tomb of Catharine of Bourbon, Duchess of Guelders (d. 1469), Stevenskerk, Nijmegen (Netherlands).
Photo 1: Tomb of Catherine of Bourbon, Duchess of Guelders, in the choir of the Stevenskerk, Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Photo: Koos Willemse
The most prestigious place for a tomb in a medieval church is in the centre of the choir before the main altar. This is where we find the monument to Catharine of Bourbon in the church of St Stephen (Stevenskerk) in Nijmegen (PHOTO 1). From a distance it may seem a rather modest memorial, but a closer look reveals it to be a tomb covered in richly engraved brasses – rare survivals in the Netherlands.
Photo 2. Effigial brass on the top of the tomb of Catherine of Bourbon, Duchess of Guelders, in the choir of the Stevenskerk, Nijmegen.
Photo 2a. Rubbing of effigial brass on the top of the tomb of Catherine of Bourbon, Duchess of Guelders, in the choir of the Stevenskerk, Nijmegen.
Rubbing: Ronald Van Belle
The duchess herself is depicted on the tomb cover on a brass composed of four separate copper alloy plates, measuring 202 x 81 cm (PHOTO 2 & 2a). She is shown with her hands held in prayer, her feet resting on two lions, a brocade cloth behind her and a coat of arms on either side of her head. The inscription in raised Gothic textualis letters around the edge of this brass states her identity and concludes with a prayer:
Int Jaer unsers Heere[n] M CCCC LXIX / op den XXI dach In dem Maij starff d[ie] hoichgebore[n] Durchluchtige vermogede / fusty[n]ne vrouwe katharina / va[n] Burbo[n] hertochyn[n]e va[n] Gelre u[n]d Gulich Grevyn[n]e van zutphe[n] bit vur die sele
(In the year of Our Lord 1469, on the 21st day in May, died the high-
Catherine was born into one of the noblest French families in or around 1440. She was thus barely thirty when she died in 1469. Her tomb is some four decades later in date, however. So why did she deserve such a prominent place in the church at Nijmegen and why did it take so long before she was honoured with a monument? The answers to these questions lie in the duchess’s bequests to the church and the political situation in the duchy of Guelders under her husband and their son.
Catherine was a daughter of Duke Charles I of Bourbon and Agnes of Burgundy, daughter
of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. It was Agnes’s elder brother Philip the Good
who arranged matches for her four daughters to suit his own political ends. In 1463
Catherine married Adolf, son of Arnold van Egmond, duke of Guelders, and Catherine
of Cleves (another niece of Philip’s). Catherine and Adolf had a daughter, Philippa
Meanwhile Burgundian influence in Guelders continued to grow and with that grew the desire to defend the duchy’s independence. Adolf first sided with Philip the Good and with his mother Catherine of Cleves to overthrow his father Arnold, whom he took prisoner in 1465. However, when Adolf himself then turned against Burgundy the new duke Charles the Bold restored Arnold to power, who promptly mortgaged his duchy to Burgundy and made Charles his heir. Adolf became Charles’s prisoner and his young son Karel was taken away to be educated at the Burgundian court. Yet it was the still captive Adolf whom the states of Guelders recognised as their new duke upon Arnold’s death in 1473. Adolf was liberated after the death of Charles the Bold in 1477, but he died that same year while leading the Flemish troops in the siege of Tournai. Catherine of Bourbon never witnessed these latter events, having died in 1469. It was not until 1492 that her son Karel was able to take over the government of Guelders, but he would be fighting the Habsburgs for power over his duchy until his death in 1538.
Photo 3: Burial vault with the coffin of Catherine of Bourbon under the choir floor of the Stevenskerk, Nijmegen (Netherlands).
Photo: D. J. Dekker
A generous bequest to the church in Nijmegen led to Catherine being buried in the choir as befits a major benefactor: with the money she had bequeathed the Stevenskerk became a collegiate church in 1475. Yet the tomb we see today is really a cenotaph: Catherine’s body rests in a coffin in the specially constructed vault under the church floor, which was intended to house the remains of her husband and son as well. However, Adolf was buried in Tournai while Karel was laid to rest in Arnhem. The painted Latin inscription on the wall of the vault gives Catherine’s date as 22 (not 21) May 1469 (PHOTO 3).
It may have been his struggles with Burgundy that prevented her husband Adolf to
erect a monument over his wife’s last burial place. Her son Karel was not yet two
years old when his mother died, so he will have hardly known her. He also had other,
more pressing concerns when he finally assumed government of the duchy in 1492, for
his position was also far from secure, at least until the death of Philip the Fair
(grandson of Charles the Bold) in 1506. Yet erecting a prestigious monument to his
mother was both a filial and a political gesture. The stone tomb is decorated with
seventeen engraved and polychromed brasses, which were commissioned from the engraver
Wilhelm Loemans (d. 1512) in Cologne. (Loemans had earlier produced the large memorial
brass in Geldern to Karel’s aunt, the regent Catherine, who had died in 1497.) In
addition to the large brass on top of the tomb, twelve smaller plates along the sides
show the apostles with the Latin text ora pro nobis (pray for us) while four brasses
at the head and feet feature ‘weepers’ and the text requiescat in pace amen (may
she rest in peace, amen) (PHOTOS 4-
The tomb thus does not fulfil its usual function of housing the body of the deceased.
Yet even without a monument during probably forty years after her death, her generous
bequest to the church will have ensured the duchess of prayers for her soul by the
clergy. The tomb was originally positioned right above the crypt but it was moved
slightly westward during the restoration of 1948-
SOPHIE OOSTERWIJK AND TRUDI BRINK
● ID 2324 in the Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO) database at http://memo.hum.uu.nl/database/index.html
● Gerard Nijsten, In the Shadow of Burgundy: The Court of Guelders in the Late Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
● More information on the tomb and the vault (in Dutch) by D.J. Dekker at http://www.djdekker.net/stevenskerk/int/tombe.html and http://www.djdekker.net/stevenskerk/int/grafkelder.html.
Monument of the Month -
LUGENS MŒRENSQUE -
In the north aisle of St Marys and St Hardulph’s, Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire are found three Shirley family monuments (fig 1).
Two of the monuments are tomb chests from the Royleys workshop in Burton upon Trent.
By contrast, the third monument commissioned when Frances Berkeley first wife of
Sir George Shirley died twenty years prior to his death, is a large tiered monument
(fig.1) with kneeling effigies of the family, including two infants who died in childbirth
(fig4), a cadaver (fig.5), and achievements (fig.6). It is dated 1598 on the side
of the monument. This monument has been attributed to the Hollemanns’ Burton-
It would be hard to ignore the difference in styles of these three monuments placed so closely together. However, rather than get distracted by debates on which is the superior tomb and by which standards this conclusion is drawn, it may be more useful to consider the monuments together as a whole and their location when trying to understand their function.
George Shirley 1st Bt (1559 – 1622) commissioned all three monuments within a space
of 13 years. Therefore, their difference in style cannot be accounted for by a change
in commissioner. Neither can it be explained by a change in the availability of craftsmen.
The Royleys, a local family of alabaster craftsmen, produced the traditional forms
of funerary monuments from around 1546 – 1614; whilst recent émigrés from The Netherlands,
the Hollemans. ran a workshop introducing the new Italianate style from 1568 -
Since they are consciously placed together by one commissioner it can be assumed
that there is a narrative. After all the creation of a monument is a symbolic act.
Sir George Shirley was actively preserving his family’s lineage and claims to social
status. However, Sir George had no need to manufacture his heritage. His grandfather,
Francis Shirley, had bought the priory and its lands during the dissolution of the
monasteries in 1536, with the express purpose of using the church as a resting place
for the family.At the same time, the priory church, St Mary and St Hardulp’s, replaced
the adjoining parish church, which was in a ‘ruinous state’, and the priory buildings
were used as a school, all funded by the Shirleys.-
The placing of the monuments together in this church creates a sense of continuity.
The church is full of Norman and Saxon carved detail. The monuments commissioned
for his grandparents and father are in a traditional style, they look back to pre-
The Latin inscription on Frances’ memorial provides a clue to why this confirmation of status was so important to George Shirley. George makes sure that his connection with Thomas Howard 4th Duke of Norfolk, the uncle of his wife, is made clear and by this claim he both attaches himself to a powerful family but also affirms his own recusancy. Regardless of the Reformation, a Catholic Squire has placed himself in a newly converted protestant church.
It is George Shirley’s recusancy that is essential to the understanding of the significance
of these monuments. Shirley was preoccupied with maintaining his place amongst the
honour community of the gentry.-
The irony cannot have been lost on the congregation. In a small church, recently stripped of rood screen and other images, there in the north aisle are the ever present brightly painted effigies of the Squire and his family in attitudes of prayer. This in a church they rarely attended.
· Bayliss, J.C., (1991). ‘Richard and Gabriel Royley of Burton-
· Bayliss, J.C., (1993). ‘A Dutch Carver: Garrett Hollemans I in England’, Church
Monuments Vol.8 pp.45-
· Cust, R., (1988). ‘Catholicism, Antiquarianism and Gentry Honour: The Writings of Sir Thomas Shirley,’ Midland History Vol. 23 pp.40 – 70.
· Shirley, Sir S.E. Bart, (1873) ‘Stemmata Shirleiana: or the Annals of the Shirley Family, Lords of Nether Etindon in the County of Warwick and of Shirley in the County of Derby,’ [online] London, Nichols & Son. Available at http://archive.org/details/cu31924029787250 (accessed 06.08.13).
· Williams, B.C.J., (1996). The Story of St Hardulph Church, Breedon on the Hill. Nottingham. Hawthorne Printers Ltd.
Special thanks go to the volunteers who ensure that St Mary and St Hardulph’s is open to the public.In twenty years of visiting this little gem of a church it has never been locked.
Monument of the Month -
Lady Elizabeth Clinton (d. 11 September 1423)
In her will, dated 1422, Elizabeth, ‘lady of Clynton’, requested ‘my body to be beryet in ϸe chauncel of haversham before ϸe ymage of oure lady Seynt Marie’. She makes no mention of a tomb monument, but one survives on the north side of the chancel of St Mary’s church at Haversham. Although there is no inscription or surviving heraldry it is of the right date to commemorate her.
Fig. 1 General view of tomb monument to Lady Clinton.
Lady Clinton lies recumbent with her hands held in prayer, her head resting on two
pillows supported by angels and with a large lion at her feet. She is dressed in
Fig. 2 Lady Clinton’s effigy.
Lady Clinton rests on a tomb chest, now somewhat damaged. On the front are six panels.
The first and last two have figures of angels dressed in clerical attire and holding
large square shields on which arms would originally have been painted. The middle
two panels have male figures in fashionable dress. They wear houpelandes with high
collars and long wide sleeves; the garment is held tightly by a belt, at waist level
on the figure on the left and higher on the figure on the right. This distinction
may have been intended to suggest that the right-
Fig. 3 Detail of tomb chest figures.
What is the significance of these figures? One carries a rosary and the other a prayer book, hence they function as mourners. The distinction between the two suggests that they were intended to represent specific men, undoubtedly kinsmen of Lady Clinton. When in 1347, her father William de la Plaunk, lord of Haversham manor, died, he left two daughters Katherine and Joan, aged four and two, while Elizabeth, was born after his death. By 1361 Elizabeth was the wife of John son of Fulk de Birmingham, but this was the least prestigious of her three marriages. By 1356 Joan was dead and Katherine seems to have died without issue sometime after 1372, when a second inquisition was held as to her father’s property, and Elizabeth was seised of the whole by 1389, when she was the wife of John, Lord Clinton. He must have died within the next ten years as sometime between 24 December 1398 and 15 January 1399 Elizabeth married Sir John Russell of Strensham (Worcestershire), who died in 1405 and is commemorated by a brass in Strensham church. Elizabeth left no issue at her death in 1423, although that she had borne at least two children is indicated my directions for prayers to be said for various kinsmen including ‘my children soules’. The likelihood is thus that the two weepers represent her second and third husbands; perhaps the more elaborately dressed figure on the left represents Sir John Russell and the plainer figure on the right John, lord Clinton.
Fig. 4. Monument to Ralph and Katherine Greene at Lowick.
Elizabeth’s appointed seven executors to carry out her will, but had no widower or child upon whom she could rely to set up her tomb monument. It may well be that she had it made in her own lifetime. The weeper figures on the tomb chest are unusual and indicate a special commission. Her own effigy bears a close resemblance to that of Ralph Greene (d. 1417) and his wife Katherine at Lowick (Northamptonshire). The contract for its manufacture survives showing that it was ordered in 1419 by Katherine Greene from Thomas Prentys and Robert Sutton of Chellaston (Derbyshire). Lady Clinton’s monument is another likely product of this workshop, probably made in the closing years of her life.
Copyright: Sally Badham
Monument of the Month -
Maria Rebekka Schlegel, 1736, Stadtmuseum, Meissen, Germany
The city museum in Meissen is a fragment of a former monastic house. The main building
is part of the original church and has cloisters (kreuzgang) attached that house
a variety of funeral monuments gathered from former city churches and churchyards.
Among them are a number of eighteenth-
The monument is signed: Io:Ioach:Kandler Kon:Modelmeister
fecit (Fig. 2)
Johann Joachim Kändler was born near Dresden in 1706 and trained as a sculptor in that city. From 1723 he was a pupil of Johann Benjamin Thomæ. In 1731 he was appointed court sculptor to Elector Friedrich Augustus I (Augustus the Strong), as his master had been in 1712. Shortly after his appointment he was summoned to the Meissen porcelain factory to work as a modeller, nominally under Johann Gottlieb Kirchner, although he was paid considerably more than Kirchner. He became chief modeller (modelmeister) on Kirchner's resignation in 1733, a position he held until his death in 1775. It was under Friedrich Augustus's sponsorship the secret of making hard paste porcelain in the manner of the Chinese was discovered and put into practice at Meissen. From 1764 Kändler shared the post of chief modeller with the much younger French sculptor Michel Victor Acier. Other than that to Frau Schlegel, Kändler's only other signed monument is that to Alexander Miltitz, died 1739, in the church at Naustadt near Meissen, although others in the cloisters of the Stadtmuseum are attributed to him or his workshop.
The major sculptural programme in Saxony during the early eighteenth-
Although it may seem that Kändler's career took the reverse course to that of John
Bacon the elder, Bacon beginning as a modeller at Nicholas Crispe's Vauxhall china
manufactory and working as such for Wedgwood and the Chelsea-
Monument of the Month -
Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, 12th Baron de Ros of Helmsley (c.1492 – 1543) Bottesford, St Mary (Leicestershire)
Fig 1 – General view of the monument
In front of the high altar in the crowded chancel of St Mary’s church, Bottesford
(Leicestershire) stands the tomb-
This is the only documented work by Richard Parker “the alabasterman”, and as thus
is an important source of information on the work that he was producing in his workshop
in Burton upon Trent during the mid-
The monument to the first Earl was the first burial within the chancel at Bottesford, and it was he who was responsible for having the monuments to his ancestors moved to Bottesford from Belvoir Priory and Croxton Abbey at the dissolution. The chancel of the church at Bottesford houses a fabulous collection of monuments to eight Earls of Rutland from 1543 to 1679. The first Earl’s monuments stands at the centre of the chancel and is overshadowed (in more ways than one) by the imposing monument to Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland, KG (1573 – 1632), the ‘witchcraft’ tomb.
Thomas Manners was the son of George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros of Helmsley and his wife Anne St. Leger, the daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, he therefore had connections through blood to Edward IV and Richard III, and through marriage to Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Thomas succeeded his father as 12th Baron de Ros at his death in 1513. His father’s monument is also a product of the alabaster workshops of Burton upon Trent, and stands in the Rutland Chantry Chapel at St George’s Chapel, Windsor (Berkshire). As well as being Baron de Ros, Thomas Manners was created the 1st Earl of Rutland by Henry VIII on 28th June 1526.
Fig 2 – Detail view of the Earls effigy showing his coronet and the mantle of the Order of the Garter
The monument consists of an alabaster tomb-
Fig 3 – Detail of the tilt-
The Earl is shown in full mail and armour with a tabard, over the tabard he wears
the mantle of the Order of the Garter. He wears a coronet and his head rests on a
As well as documenting the construction of the monument, the Belvoir Castle records describe in detail the care that was taken of the Earl’s body to preserve it prior to the burial. Initially the body was embalmed with spices from Nottingham, and then a surgeon encased it in wax. Following this a plumber was employed to encase the body in a close fitting lead shell.
This fabulous mid-
Further Reading: Bayliss, J. (1990) Richard Parker ‘the alabasterman’, Church Monuments 5: (pp. 39 – 57 )
Text and Photographs: Edward Higgins MA BSc (Hons)