Church Monuments Society
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KEY BOOKS ON MONUMENTS
The following is a list of books about church monuments, which, instead of following the usual practice, has been compiled in the main in the datal order of their publication. None of these books is about monumental brasses or churchyard memorials, although they may contain references to these subjects. There are many books about such memorials which may be found elsewhere.
Most of these books are now out of print. However – with the exception of the antiquarian
In fact, very few books have been published about church monuments alone, although there is very often information and illustrations in books on sculpture, architecture, churches, topography and county histories, such as the Victoria County History series on England. For example, much valuable information may be found in the Pevsner series – The Buildings of England, of Scotland and of Wales, all of which are in print. Also well worth consulting are the series of county inventories from The Royal Commission of Historical Monuments of England and The Royal Commission of Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and of Wales; most of these volumes are no longer in print.
From an earlier age, topographical and architectural books will describe monuments as they appeared at the time of their writing and, even more importantly, describe monuments which are now lost, sometimes illustrating them. For example etchings of the now lost monuments in Old St Paul's Cathedral appear in William Dugdale's St Paul's. Often these descriptions are tantalizingly vague and, as there are frequently no illustrations to back them up, it is only possible to speculate what the monument actually looked like. The best known are: John Leland, Leland’s Itinerary (1546) and John Stow, A Survey of London. (1608). Both of these books are likely to be available as modern reprints.
The books below range from massive multi-
It is also important to refer to Church Monuments, The Journal of the Church Monuments
Society. This has been published annually by the Church Monuments Society since 1985
and contains well-
The Monumental Brass Society runs a bookstall ('Aspiring Church Books') which carries
an extensive stock of books on church monuments -
Weever, John, Ancient Funerall Monuments (London, 1631)
Poet and antiquary John Weever (1576-
Canterbury, Rochester, London and Norwich only, never completing his project.
There are a few woodcut illustrations but the importance of this book is that it describes much of what has been subsequently lost, although it must be said sometimes vaguely. John Weever was buried in St James’ Church, Clerkenwell.
The contents and abstract of this book may be found by clicking here.
Gough, Richard, Sepulchral Monuments of Great Britain. (The Author, London 1786 & 1796)
Antiquary Richard Gough (1735-
Blore, Edward, The Monumental Remains of Noble and Eminent Persons (Harding, Lepard & Co. London 1826)
Edward Blore (1787-
Stothard, Charles A., Monumental Effigies of Great Britain. (The Author, London 1817
– 1832) In this work the representation of monumental effigies becomes an art form
in itself. Charles Stothard (1786-
Bloxam, Mathew Holbeach A Glimpse at the Monumental Sculpture of Great Britain (1834)
There was also a proposed second edition with handwritten title page: Fragmenta Sephulchralia,
A Glimpse ...etc (1840-
Hollis, Thomas & George, Monumental Effigies of Great Britain (John Bowyer Nichols
& Son, London, 1839-
Boutell, Rev Charles Christian Monuments in England and Wales (George Bell, 1854)
Charles Boutell (1812-
Wall, J Charles The Tombs of the Kings of England (Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd, London, 1891)
This work describes in detail the tombs of the kings – actually monarchs -
Notes on Terminology
The terms etching and engraving are often used loosely in the popular although strictly
incorrect sense. Strictly speaking these terms should be used for the actual process
by which the artist manufactures a metal plate to produce an intaglio print. This
should not to be confused with the usual – and again rather loose -
With the development of photography at the end of the nineteenth century, this new process now becomes the standard method of illustrating books. However photographs can never show the detail or the clarity of a good drawing and this is borne out by writers of these later books who sometimes using prints of works by Stothard and others to supplement the photographs. On rare occasions new drawings are used but these are usually printed by lithography.
Crossley, Fred H English Church Monuments 1150-
This was the standard introductory work on pre-
Fryer, A. C. Wooden Monumental Effigies in England and Wales (Elliot Stock 1924, revised edition)
This book describes wooden effigies from the 13th to 17th centuries. There are 67 photographs, mainly taken by the author, and a helpful county list, giving detailed information about the effigies.
Esdail, K A English Monumental Sculpture since the Reformation (SPCK 1927)
Gardner, Arthur Alabaster Tombs of the Pre-
Again this was another standard work of its time but this time on alabasters, with chapters about the sculptors, tomb chests and the effigies themselves, dealing with portraiture, colour, posture etc. There is then the usual section about dress and armour. There is a county list of alabaster monuments giving concise information and many, rather good, photographs.
Esdail, K A English Church Monuments 1510-
A very well illustrated book from the same publisher as Crossley book above and which follows the story of monuments from the end of the Medieval period to the mid nineteenth century.
Stone, L Sculpture in Britain: The Middle Ages (Pelican History of Art, 1955)
This is a well written and comprehensive survey of all sculpture in the Middle Ages.
Panofsky, E Tomb Sculpture (Thames & Hudson, 1964; Phaidon reprinted 1992)
'Four lectures on its changing aspect from Ancient Egypt to Bernini'. These lectures were given by the author to the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1956. Edited by H W Janson; new foreword to the second edition by Martin Warnke. 471 illustrations.
Gunnis, B Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-
This is the standard work of reference and a magnificent example of scholastic endeavor. A well illustrated and fascinating book.
Physick, John Designs for English Sculpture 1680-
Dr John Physick was Deputy Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, President
of the Church Monuments Society and is now one of its Vice-
Collinson, H. Country Monuments, Their Families and Houses (David & Charles 1975)
Family monuments even more than portraits provide us with a visual history of the
English people; they are readily accessible in parish churches and are complimentary
to the treasures of country houses. A post-
Penny, N Church Monuments in Romantic England (Yale University Press, 1977)
Discusses works of 1780-
Leach, Rosemary BA An Investigation into the use of Purbeck Marble in Medieval England (The Author, 2nd Edition,1978)
This small book catalogues the use of Purbeck during the Middle Ages. There is much
on tombs but other aspects of its use are listed too -
Hampton, W E Memorials of the Wars of the Roses (The Richard III Society, 1979)
This is extensive catalogue of monuments of those who fought in or were connected with The Wars of the Roses, arranged county by county. There are several illustrations: photographs and reproductions of etchings and brass rubbings. It even includes a photograph of the bones of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of King Edward VI, who was reputed to have been drowned in a vat of Malmsey wine
Kemp, Brian English Church Monuments (Batsford, 1980)
Professor Kemp (see below) comprehensively surveys church monuments from coffin lids of the 12th century to those of the Victorian age. There are176 specially taken and very good black and white photographs. Although several books specifically about church monuments had appeared in the past, this, rather surprisingly, was the first such book to deal with such monuments of all periods. As Professor Kemp says in his introduction: ... There is no doubt that both specialized and general interest in church monuments is on the increase ... as recently as 1978 an International Society for the Study of Church Monuments (now The Church Monuments Society) was founded in London... The present work is offered as a contribution to foster this interest. Several decades later this has proved to be the case. This book is now out of print but well worth looking up. A shorter but similar book by Professor Kemp is listed below.
Tummers, Harry Early Secular Effigies in England: The Thirteenth Century (E J Brill, Leiden, 1980)
Harry Tummers, from the Netherlands, is a founder member of the Church Monuments Society. This book deals inconsiderable depth with 13th century effigies of knights, ladies and civilians. There is a nearly complete list of monuments with their various attributes and 185 good photographs. As might be expected of a work of this nature there are extensive notes and bibliography.
Curl, J S Death and Architecture (Sutton, 1980)
This book deals with all forms of commemorative structures of all ages from antiquity to the present time. However, this well illustrated and detailed book contains enough information about church monuments as such to justify an inclusion here.
Kemp, Brian Church Monuments (Shire Album149, 1985; reprinted 1997)
A short but remarkably detailed and concise introduction to English church monuments
of all periods. There are chapters on the historical development of monuments, on
effigies, on symbolism, on their making and on places to visit. A well illustrated
paperback. Brian Kemp is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Reading,
was President of the Society 1991-
This book has now (February 2010) been republished by Shire and is now illustrated in colour.
Whinney, M Sculpture in Britain 1530-
This is another volume in the History of Art series; this volume was revised by Dr John Physick (see above). This is a comprehensive survey of sculpture from the Reformation to the accession of Queen Victoria, with emphasis on family tombs and portrait busts, the favoured form at that time.
Llewellyn, Nigel Funeral Monuments in Post-
Funeral monuments are a most complex and important kind of surviving post-
Duffy, M Royal Tombs of Medieval England (Tempus 2003) In Print
This is a profusely illustrated paperback which deals with tombs from 1066 to 1509, detailing not only royal tombs in the narrowest sense of the word – monarchs – but also those of just about all of their family. Thus, for example, the tombs of Robert Duke of Normandy, son of William I, The Black Prince, son of Edward III and Humphrey Duke of Gloucester are all included. Lost tombs – such as that of John of Gaunt, another son of Edward III, and tombs on the Continent of Europe, such as the Plantagenet tombs, are also included as are tomb designs for tombs which were which were never completed, such as that for Henry VI. The illustrations are particularly good and extensive: there are many photographs, several in colour and also reproductions of etchings, drawings and similar, which are most welcome
Dodson, Aidan The Royal Tombs of Great Britain (Duckworth 2004) In Print
Aidan Dodson is an archaeologist so the approach to the subject here is somewhat
different. This deals with all the kings and queens of what is now Great Britain
in a very comprehensive manner from the earliest times until the present day. In
effect it is an update – as well as a correction -
Hartshorne, Albert The Recumbent Monumental Effigies in Northamptonshire (Basil Montagu Pickering, 1876)
Although the title page states ‘a series of photographs from 128 scale drawings’, these are lithographic prints of the author’s rather good and accurate drawings with ‘historical and critical descriptions.’ The monuments illustrated date from the late twelfth to the early eighteenth centuries; all of these, as the title indicates, are in the recumbent attitude
Richardson, Edward The Monumental Effigies of the Temple Church (Longman, 1843)
Edward Richardson was the sculptor who restored the effigies in the Temple Church. His work was not without criticism. However this is a book of excellent lithographs of the effigies by the author, which gives an indication of their appearance before their damage by enemy bombing in World War II.
W H Rogers The Ancient Sepulchral Effigies and Monumental and Memorial Sculpture of Devon (published by the author, 1877)
This book is essentially the contents of two papers the author presented before the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society in 1866 and 1874. The first section describes various attributes of the medieval monuments in South Devon and then lists and describes them parish by parish. There is then a brief reference to Exeter Cathedral. The third section deals similarly with South Devon but wanders into other areas. There are many drawings of brasses, heraldry, and architecture in these sections. The final and the longest of the numerous appendices consists of a series of drawings of effigies by the author, which, although well intentioned, are somewhat crude and oddly distorted.
F Chancellor The Ancient Sepulchral Monuments of Essex (Edmund Durrant & Co, 1890)
This very hefty volume describes monuments from 13th to the 17th century and contains 157 drawings by John Shewell Corder printed by ‘photolithography’
I’Anson, William M. The Medieval Military Effigies of Yorkshire (Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1928)
This is a bound reprint of two articles from the Yorkshire Archaeological Society’s Journal. The author had intended to publish a book on the military effigies of the whole of England but a fire at his house in Saltburn, which destroyed his books, notes and drawings, put an end to this project. However, such was his determination he began again but limited the project to those effigies in Yorkshire. Sadly this project was itself cut short by his death, so ends with monuments of about 1370. He discusses the commemorated and their armour and there are many small drawings of the Yorkshire monuments plus a few as a comparison from elsewhere.
Roper, Ida Monumental Effigies of Gloucestershire and Bristol (published by the author, 1931)
Only 100 copies of this book -
Moss H R The Monumental Effigies of Sussex (published by the author, 1930)
This tiny book certainly contrasts with the Chancellor above! There is one photograph (the frontispiece) but the main text describes effigies and other aspects such as inscriptions in some detail from 1250 to 1650. There is also a chronological and a distribution list
Rev C L S Linnell, MA Suffolk Church Monuments: A Preliminary Survey (Suffolk Institute of Archaeology, 1955)
This is a bound offprint from the Proceedings of that Institute. Despite the title
this book deals only with monuments of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. There
is a preliminary introduction, followed by a comprehensive list and then twenty-
Routh, P. Medieval Effigial Alabaster Tombs in Yorkshire (Boydell, 1976)
The title explains exactly what you will find in this book. There are detailed descriptions of the monuments, backed up by 87 photographs, and full information about the monuments and the commemorated.
Ryder, Peter Medieval Cross Slab Grave Covers in West Yorkshire (West Yorkshire Archaeological service, 1991)
This handbook catalogues all the cross slab grave covers recorded by the West Yorkshire Archaeological Service. There is a useful map showing their position and a section about the various designs and emblems
Knowles, R. and Routh, P. A Ryther Legacy: The Monuments Assessed (Bedesman Books, 1981).
This is one of the short single church books. There are several interesting monuments in this church, which the authors discuss together with their background and their then recent conservation. Several photographs and reproductions of old drawings and documents add to the interest of this little book. Richard Knowles is a founder member of the Church Monuments Society and for a number of years was its very successful Journal editor.
Knowles, R. and Routh, P. The Medieval Monuments of Harewood (Wakefield Historical Publications, 1983)
This is another single church book but a church with a unique collection of fifteenth
century alabaster monuments, which show a range of armour and costume of the period
and difference in style of carving. The book deals discusses the monuments and their
background as well as their conservation, which took place 1997-
Downing, M The Medieval Military Effigies Remaining in Shropshire (Monumental Books, 1999) In Print
Society and Council member Mark Downing has produced this small but detailed volume on medieval military effigies of his home county. It includes many of his own excellent photographs
Downing, M Medieval Military Effigies up to 1550 Remaining in Worcestershire.(offprint from:Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society. Third Series Vol. 18, 2002 )
Another small yet detailed volume. There is a short introduction about the monuments followed by their topographical listing, again with very good blackand white photographs.
Mark Downing. Medieval Military Monuments in Lincolnshire (Archaeopress 2010)
Military monuments in Lincolnshire have hitherto received little attention, with
only four out of a total of sixty-
Mark Downing. Military Effigies of England & Wales Volume 1: Bedfordshire-
This is the first of eight volumes which will survey all the medieval military monumental
effigies in England and Wales, that is effigies in the round so that brasses and
incised slabs are not included. A comprehensive survey of everything -
Drummond, James Sculptured Monuments in Iona and the Western Islands (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1881)
After an introduction there follows around 200 beautiful lithographs of the characteristic monuments from this area of Scotland with short introductions to them. Some of these would be later reproduced in the following book.
Steer K. A. and Bannerman, J. W. M. Late Medieval Sculpture in the West Highlands (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 1977).
This is one of the Royal Commission volumes mentioned above but in this case one which deals specifically with monumental sculpture. This is a very detailed inventory with many photographs and drawings of monuments from places such as Iona and Oronsay.
Gresham, Colin A Medieval Stone Carving in North Wales (University of Wales, 1968)
This book surveys in detail sepulchral slabs and effigies of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The first section deals with materials, heraldry, dress, the commemorated etc. Part two gives a description of monuments by type and date. There are then various appendices on list of monuments by counties, by persons and in various ecclesiastical building. Even the ordnance survey reference is given, a great appeal to me. There follows a helpful glossary. The book is illustrated in a separate section with many rather good photographs and throughout the text with accurate, if somewhat shaky, line drawings by the author; it is refreshing to note that he feels that drawing is the most satisfactory method of illustration of this subject. This is a superb book.
Morgan, Octavius. Some Accounts of the Church Monuments in the Priory Church of Abergavenny (1872)
This is a pioneering book in being one of the first -
Burgess, Frederick English Churchyard Memorials (Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 1963
Richly illustrated and admirably well written, this is far and away the best book on the subject; it includes an invaluable survey of the various regional styles and types of churchyard monuments and much information about professional monumental masons throughout the country.
Thomas Cocke FSA (Ed): The Churchyards Handbook (Church House Publishing, 4th Edition 2001)
This book gives practical advice on all aspects of churchyard management, law relating to churchyards, advise on their archaeology and ecology. It also considers the design of memorials.
Lees, Hilary English Churchyard Memorials (Stroud, Tempus, 2000)
A survey based on all churchyard memorials in England which have be listed as Grade I or Grade II*. Having explained the history of the churchyard and the churchyard cross, the author deals with memorials from the earliest times until the present day. 100 photographs with 25 in colour
Bailey, Brian Churchyards of England and Wales (Robert Hale, 1987)
This book looks at the origin and the history of churchyards, the legends surrounding them, the traditions and rituals associated with them as a whole, as well as the monuments found in them. There is also a county by county appendix indicated where famous people are buried. Illustrated with over a hundred photographs and drawings
Harold Mytum Recording and Analysing Graveyards (York, Council for British Archaeology, 2000)
Above are three books by Betty Willsher, the doyenne of the study of Scottish historical kirkyards. Clear and accessible, her publications reflect a lifetime's experience of recording Scottish kirkyard memorials.
Understanding Scottish Graveyards (1985 & 2006 edition)
Scottish Epitaphs: Epitaphs and Images from Scottish Graveyards (Cannongate Books, Edinburgh, 1996)
How To Read Scottish Graveyards (Council for British Archaeology, Scotland, 1985)
Flora Davidson Seventeenth Century Tombstones of Angus and The Mearns: An Inventory (Angus District Council, 1977)
A most remarkable work of independent scholarship, with an exemplary introduction, of great use as a model for anyone interested in the subject of carved tombstones. It includes a few late sixteenth century stragglers and excludes the large collection in the Dundee Howff, which is well documented elsewhere.
303 La Revue des Pays de la Loire, Recherches et Creations XVIII (Couseil Régional des Pays de la Loire, 3e Trimestre 1988)
303 is a quarterly arts magazine and, although periodicals are not normally included
in this section, this is a special edition solely about monuments with effigies from
the earliest, such as those at Fontevraud and l'Épau, to those of the nineteenth
century, such as the tomb of Général De Lamoricière at Nantes. Of particular interest
is an article about the collection of drawings of monuments (many now lost) commissioned
Above are three books about the Abbey Church of Saint-
Santos, Serge (textes) and Sauvageot, Claude (photos) Saint-
de Guilhermy, Baron F. L'Abbaye de Saint Denis -
Parker, John Reading Latin Epitaphs -
Many epitaphs are written in Latin and this little book goes a long way in helping those of us with little or no knowledge of Lingua Latina to decipher them. As the author says 'Latin is not an easy language to master and this book can do little more than offer a helping hand along a road which at times can be stoney' However he does an admirable job: there's a section on simple grammar, a relevant vocabulary, a list of common phrases and abbreviations as well several example of translations of lengthy epitaphs, which is very helpful. Even if this doesn't temp you to buy a copy of Kennedy or Lewis and Short, it's a good book to carry with you!
Pearson, Lynn F. Discovering Famous Graves (Shire Publications, 1998)
There are several books -
With many thanks to Richard Knowles FSA, founder-
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