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December 2017

Monument of the Month Deceber 2017

The Tayler family monument at Edington, Wiltshire

Among the many fine monuments at Edington is the magnificent standing wall monument of Sir Edward Lewys (†1630) and his wife, Lady Beauchamp. Undoubtedly metropolitan work, it shows a cherub offering Sir Edward, whose wife lies beside him, a heavenly crown, while below their children kneel along the side of the tomb-chest, flanked by angels. Additional cherubs hold shields of arms atop the structure (Fig 1).

Wonderful though this monument is, it seems to have moved the patron of a nineteenth-century hanging wall monument in the same church to parody.  The monument celebrates Martin †1825 @90 and Anna Maria Tayler †1778 @40 and their children: two daughters who died in infancy mentioned, but not represented, on the monument; Mary †1836 @66, Martha †1849 @80, William †1850 @84, and George, patron of the monument, who died in 1852 aged 75.  Martin and Anna Maria Tayler, together with the children who survived infancy, are shown kneeling along the base of the monument, flanked by angels. Another angel surmounts the monument, holding a crown resembling that on the Lewis monument. Each person's record on the double inscription tablet is followed by a suitable biblical text; George Tayler's is "We spend our years as a tale that is told", identified as Psalm 90, verse 9 (Fig 2)

Each of the kneeling figures is identified by their initials (possibly an allusion to another monument in the church, that supposedly to John Bayntun, which has initials as well as a rebus). The figures are apparently rather crude attempts at portraiture, almost caricatures, showing the men wearing gaiters with knee-britches, coats and stocks, and the women with loose pelisses, tippets, caps and sensible shoes.  Their clothes are old-fashioned, belonging to the 1810s rather than the period at which all but the mother died (she is dressed the same as her daughters, but her features are less aged). The impression given of a funny old farming family might be ascribed to the ineptitude of the carver (Fig 3) were it not that the remainder of the monument, including the three angels, is quite competent (the angel copied from the Lewis monument is the least accomplished). This raises the question of whether the intention of the patron was to construct what might be termed a dialect monument. There was a fashion for dialect poetry in the nineteenth century: William Barnes is the best-known exponent, but Tennyson also wrote some notable poems in the Lincolnshire dialect. The best example of the use of what may be termed a dialect-style is the Waggoners' Memorial at Sledmere, North Yorkshire (Fig 4), where the exploits of the Waggoners Reserve during the First World War are depicted in a rather cartoonish style, together with dialect verses in their praise: clearly the visual effect of the carvings is designed to echo the dialect verse.

It seems likely that a similar effect is being sought in the Tayler monument. It satirises the aristocratic monument to Edward Lewys by repeating elements from it, but in a style that emphasises the rootedness of those commemorated in the area. Martin Tayler, the father, is described in the inscription as a 'gentleman', as is Lewys; he gets a heavenly crown, as does Lewys. The old-fashioned garments emphasise the antiquity and continuity of the family, and this feature may again link the monument to dialect poems which often oppose stable country values to modern urban ones. The monument both mocks the non-resident aristocracy and asserts the validity of the stable farmers.

George Tayler was evidently a man who liked people to enjoy themselves. He left monies in trust to four local villages - Edington, Steeple Ashton, Keevil and Poulshot - much of which was dedicated to providing children with cake.  The Edington benefaction board (Fig 5) shows the terms of the bequest: these differ from the other three villages only in the provision for the maintenance of the family memorial. The board at Keevil also survives. Similar farinaceous provision was made for the Methodist church in Edington (a sermon suitable for children followed by cake). At the end of the nineteenth century yeast-raised currant buns were a penny each, so a threepenny cake would have been pretty substantial. The character revealed in the charitable bequests ties in well with the parodic nature of the monument.

Monument of the Month November 2017

The Tomb and Effigy of Anne Lake 1630

The tomb lies within St. Leonard's church Rodney Stoke in Somerset. It is a magnificent example of the use of Somerset alabaster, quarried near Watchet. The alabaster deposits there were discovered by a Dutchman in the 17th century and it is believed this tomb monument and several others in the same material to be found in the South West Region e.g. in Dunster, Wivelsombe, Cothelstone and Pitminster, may have been carved by Dutch masons.

The monument comprises a tomb atop of which is a life-sized effigy of Anne; Figure 1. The effigy is carved in the  minutest of detail showing her hair, clothing and jewelry; Figure 2.  Above the tomb is an arch bearing carvings of clouds and studded with stars to represent her ascent into heaven; Figure 3.  A framed plaque on the monument carries the following eulogy:-

Here resteth in the Peace of God the body of the Right Honourable Anne Lakes Daughter of Sir Thomas Lakes of Channons in Middlesex. Sometime principal Secretary and Counsellor of King James First... Married to William Cecil Lord Roos, eldest sonne unto the Second Earl of Exeter of that Family...ince when to George Rodney Esq. Sonne of Sir George Rodney Knt. by the space of 10 years who by this stone doth acknowledge her deserth towards him and desireth to perpetuate the memory of a good wife and most penitent Christian. She died in the year of Grace 1630 of her own age and now only hopes for a joyful resurrection

So what crime had Anne committed for which she was 'most penitent'? Her story is summarised below.

 Anne was the daughter of Thomas Lake, son of a lowly customs official and Mary Ryder. After a grammar school education Thomas entered the service of Secretary Walsingham at a menial level but his abilities where soon recognised and he became Walsingham's personal secretary and a favourite of Queen Elizabeth. Upon  the death of Elizabeth I he became a favourite of James I and was knighted in 1603 and eventually rose to become a Secretary of State in 1616. In the same year Anne married William Cecil, Lord Roos, grandson and heir of the Earl of Exeter. William apparently turned out to be a licentious cruel beast and  the marriage quickly failed. Lord Roos had mortgaged his Walthamstow estate to Sir Thomas and as a result of the breakdown of the marriage Sir Thomas, using the influence his office afforded him, insisted that the estate be transferred to his daughter. To keep up the pressure both Anne and her mother Mary perpetrated malicious rumours about Roos, who was threatened that if he did not agree, Lady Roos would sue for an annulment on the grounds of his impotence and make public a string of nefarious deeds they claim he was involved in.  Roos did agree, but his grandfather, influenced by his young wife the Countess of Exeter, refused to allow the deal to go ahead. The Lake family was absolutely furious and a bitter feud between the two families ensued. Roos was assaulted by Anne's brother and eventually, with the Lake family’s insinuations  hanging over him, he could stand it no longer and decamped to Italy. Anne then turned her attentions on the Countess of Exeter, whom she now insinuated, quite falsely, had had an incestuous relationship with her husband and also accused her of trying to poison her. She also forged a paper purported to be in the Countess’s handwriting admitting her guilt together with another paper supposedly signed by one of the Countess’s servants, which stated that she had also tried to poison Sir Thomas.  Lord Exeter could not let such accusations go unchallenged and petitioned the king. The king  referred the case to the Star Chamber and the Lakes were eventually, in 1620, found guilty of deformation, suborning witnesses and forging evidence and were heavily fined and imprisoned in the Tower for a time. Sir Thomas lost his position, which he never regained, though he was eventually readmitted to Court and became an MP in later years. Meanwhile Lord Roos had died in Italy in 1618. (Ref 2)  After admitting her guilt Anne was released from prison and married George Rodney, son of  Sir John Rodney, by whom she had one child, Anthony Rodney, through whom the Rodney family line continues to this day.  The scandal resulted in her vilification in a ribald contemporary poem, A Lybell uppon the Ladie Rosse and that the scandal lived on is evidenced by the fact that this poem was repeated in an unpublished play of 1650 by Francis Osbourne The True Tragicomedy Formerly Acted at Court

The poem reproduced below, which is a transcriptionof a manuscript held at Chester County Record Office (MS CR 63/2/19, fol 20r), has been copied from  Early Stuart Libels (Ref 3) by kind permission of Professor Andrew McRae, University of Exeter.

“A Lybell uppon the Ladie Rosse”

Waste not a signe that courtlye Rosse should fall

when that her Mirkine lost his Coronall

what tricke in dancinge could the devill produce

to fitte her too a haire and make it loose

Twas no Caper for she hath ofte bene boulder

when she advancte her legge on one mans shoulder

Sure some crosse poynte for in open waye

her Mirkine nere was foundered or made straye

who had the harder chance I praye you reade

the Page that founde or she that lost her bearde.

Explanatory notes

Mirkine: merkin. The exact meaning of the term is a little vague here; in contemporary usage, a merkin could be the female pudenda, a fake vagina, or fake pubic hair.

Coronall: crown; here, presumably, pubic hair.

Caper: an energetic type of dance.

crosse poynte: a dance step.

in open waye: here implying sexual intercourse.

A further five poems relating to the Lake – Roos affair have been published in Early Stuart Libels.


1. Gerard, John. (1633). Particular Description of Somerset. Reprinted in Somerset Record Society XV, (1900).

2.  Gardiner, Samuel Rawson. History of England from the Accession to the Outbreak of the Civil War. Vol.3,189-194. Available online at;view=1up;seq=13 accessed 28.05.2017

3. Early Stuart Libels: an edition of poetry from manuscript sources. Ed. Alastair Bellany and Andrew McRae. EarlyModernLiteraryTextSeries(2005). (accessed 20.05.2017)

Michael Statham

Monument of the Month October 2017

Monument to the Rev’d Hamlet Jones (d.1843)    Pontesbury, Shropshire

In the 1640s and 1650s a number of cast-iron ledgers were being produced, mainly in the Broseley area of Shropshire. They were surprisingly robust and a large number of such items survive, in a remarkable pristine condition, both within churches and in churchyards. However, it was not until the mid-eighteenth century that the iron-master became more innovative, and it was John Wilkinson (1728-1808), a Cumbrian industrialist who became a partner in the Bersham ironworks at Broseley in 1757, who introduced a variety of cast-iron goods, including churchyard monuments. Wilkinson, who was the instigator of the first iron bridge at Telford, acquired the nickname of “Iron-Mad” Wilkinson and when he died in 1808 he was deposited in three iron coffins beneath a huge iron obelisk on his estate at Lindale-in-Cartmel, Cumbria.

In the churchyard at Madeley, Shropshire (which formerly included Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge) are a number of large cast-iron monuments, the earliest of which is a tomb-chest to the Rev’d Jean de la Flechère (d.1785), the German vicar of Madeley. In the same churchyard is an exceptionally elegant cast-iron monument to the ironmaster William Baldwin (d.1822), taking the form of a large pedestal with corner fluted columns, an entablature with palmette cresting and a small sarcophagus above, the whole surrounded by tall, slim railings. Ten miles to the east of Madeley is the village of Pontesbury. Its churchyard also has a cast-iron monument from the Baldwin foundry, to the Rev’d Hamlet Jones (d.1843). Unfortunately its iron railings have long gone, but the tall pedestal, a variant of that at Madeley to William Baldwin, supports an enormous flaming urn.

Hamlet Harrison (b.1765) was a Lancashire man. He attended Brasenose College, Oxford (BD and MA) and was ordained deacon in May 1790 and priest in December of the same year. He was made perpetual curate of Shareshill, Staffordshire on 22 January 1793, the same day that he was also appointed schoolmaster at Brewood Free School. Holding livings in plurality was not unusual at that time and on 3 November 1809 he was presented by Brasenose College as rector of Stratford-le-Bow, Middlesex. In December of the same year the family living of Pontesbury, Shropshire became available and Hamlet was presented by his father, Joseph Hamilton of Park Stile, Walton-on-the-Hill, Lancashire as rector. In February 1811 he resigned the living of Shareshill whilst keeping those of Stratford-le-Bow and Pontesbury. Eventually resigning the latter in April 1824. He remained rector of Stratford-le-Bow until his death on 2 October 1843 and was buried in the churchyard at Pontesbury.

Julian Litten                          Photo: Phil Hellin

Monument of the Month September 2017


In1839 Madelina, the wife of John Edwin Lance, Rector of Buckland St Mary died of smallpox on March 26, seven days after giving birth to a son, Reginald Strathallan, who himself died three days later. They were buried together on Easter Day (31 March). Twenty-two years later, as part of his great construction programme for Buckland St Mary, John Edwin Lance erected a composite memorial, partly paid for by his brother-in-law Henry Porcher, on the north side of the sanctuary (Fig 1). This consists of a stained glass window showing the Resurrection above an arched tomb-recess (Fig 2) in which is a representation of Madelina Lance smashing open the lid of her sarcophagus and climbing out clutching her baby (Fig 3). The quality of the monument is good, but the whole has most bizarre effect, resembling the worst type of zombie film.

Perhaps because of its isolated position Buckland St Mary, designed by Benjamin Ferrey, is one of the underappreciated gems of the Victorian religious revival. Ferrey, the friend and fellow-pupil, and later biographer, of Augustus Welby Pugin, travelled in Europe, including Switzerland, with George Gilbert Scott. The current Pevsner is tepid about the building, the interior of which is certainly dark, but filled with goodies, including a spectacular font and a series of windows commemorating the donors to the church, most of them from the Lance and Porcher families and their connections. The chancel is particularly rich, the walls decorated with diaper-work derived from Westminster Abbey

The source of the monument to Madelina Lance is that by Johann August Nahl to Maria Magdalena Langhans, wife of Pastor George Langhans, who died in childbirth in 1751 aged 28, at Hindelbank, Switzerland. This monument was the subject of a Romantic cult, visited by notable figures such as the writers Christoph Martin Wieland,  Johann Kaspar Lavater, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the artist Alexander Trippel, and the  philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.  In addition terracotta models of the monument were made for sale as souvenirs one example of which is in the British Museum < ectId=63049&partId=1&searchText=Langhans&page=1>.  Its image was also widely disseminated in the form of prints <>. It became an essential item for British (and indeed American) visitors touring Europe.

It was not necessary for a member of the Porcher/Lance family to have visited Switzerland to know about the Langhans monument. Even so, they must have been attracted by the parallels between the situation of John Edwin Lance and George Langhans.  There is the coincidence of the dead women's names, their deaths associated with childbirth, and their husbands' avocations. There may even be a remote similarity in the sound of the names Lance and Langhans. In any case, although the peak of the fame of the Langhans monument had passed by the time of the erection of the Lance monument (although not at the time of Madelina Lance's death) the Lance monument's source might be expected to be recognised by the educated visitor.

The sculptor of the Lance monument was James Forsyth, a major figure in nineteenth-century ecclesiastical sculpture, who also made the pulpit and reredos. The reredos represents the Entombment, so that it forms a coherent programme with the earlier Resurrection monument and window. As with Ferrey, the Lance and Porcher families had gone to one of the leading artists of the day to fulfil their commission.

The Buckland St Mary monument, therefore, is not a bizarre provincial piece by a non-metropolitan artist with a design that now appeals only to devotees of steam-punk and gothick horror, but a serious work of art which places Buckland St Mary at the heart of the tradition of European Romanticism.

The connections between Romanticism and the Nineteenth-century religious revivals in architecture, ecclesiology, and worship are well-known, albeit somewhat contentious. The elevation of the Gothic style above all others, combined with an elevation of an imagined heroic past and a privileging of emotional experience (the locus classicus is probably Wagner's Die Meistersingers von Nuremberg) fed into attitudes to religion, whether in the High-church (bells and smells, the use of liturgy in an atmosphere designed to heighten the senses) or Evangelical (plain liturgy with an emphasis on conversion experience) forms.

Lance and his architect were both attached to the High-church or Tractarian party. In building Buckland St Mary Church and the monument to Madelina Lance they proclaim themselves, together with Forsyth, both adherents to Tractarianism and men of Romantic sensibility

Monument of the Month   August 2017

John de Mohun (d. after 1322), Whichford, Warwickshire

Cross slab monuments generally receive little attention. They are usually regarded as anonymous memorials, which probably commemorate priests. In fact they memorialised both the clergy and laymen. Most of those cannot be identified by name but the example discussed here is an exception.

The south chapel of Whichford church was built about 1330 by the de Mohun family (Fig. 1). There is an altar at the east end, a piscina in the south wall and a doorway to the outside in the south wall. This has a shield over it, the arms of which are effaced. Most of the glazing in the three windows has been lost, but arms of the de Mohun family (Or a cross engrailed sable) remain both in the chapel (Fig. 2) and elsewhere in the church.

An arched recess in the south wall has a blank shield above; this was presumably originally painted with the de Mohun arms. Within is an unusual heraldic cross-slab with a stepped calvary (Fig 3).  The low relief cross itself is engrailed, reflecting the de Mohun arms. High on the head of a cross is suspended a shield (Fig. 4). This bears a variant of the de Mohun arms; it has a label, which signifies that it represents an eldest son who died in his father’s lifetime. Although there is no inscription, it is not difficult to establish who is memorialised by this monument.

In 1204 King John granted the manor of Whichford to Reynold de Mohun, to whose widow Alice land in Whichford was assigned in 1215. It then descended in this family, one knight’s fee here being held in 1235 by Reynold de Mohun, who had a grant of free warren in 1253. John de Mohun was lord of Whichford in 1279. In 1305 the manor formed part of the settlement of John son of John de Mohun on his marriage with Christiane daughter of John, Lord Segrave. In 1316 their son John de Mohun, 1st Baron Mohun, (1269–1330) was recorded as lord of Whichford.  

He married Anne Tiptoft, daughter of Paine Tiptoft, by whom he had numerous issue including his eldest son and heir apparent. This was John de Mohun (died after 1322), who predeceased his father, having married Christiana Segrave (died 1341), daughter of William Segrave. He fought at the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322 and died some time after in Scotland. This is evidently the person commemorated by the monument at Whichford and the chapel may even have been erected to house his remains. It was probably a chantry chapel, although no record can be found of the establishment of a chantry at Whichford. Why John de Mohun was buried here rather than at his father’s seat at Dunster (Somerset) or in Scotland is unknown.



Copyright: Sally Badham

Monument of the Month   July 2017

John Mertun (d. 1537), rector of Whichford (Warwickshire)

In a wall recess on the north side of the chancel at Whichford is one of the finest alabaster incised slabs to a cleric dating from the early fifteenth-century (Fig. 1). The recess in the north wall of the chancel between the windows is likely early-sixteenthe century and has jambs and four-centred arch of a double-ogee moulded order and a hood-mould.The main feature of the incised slab is a priest in mass vestments holding his hands in prayer and his head on a pillow with tassels at the corners (Fig. 2). On one side of the pillow is a chalice with a wafer in the bowl and on the other a closed book, presumably a missal. It appears to have a richly embossed cover. The priest stands underneath a triple canopy with an embattled top. It is a fine product of the Midlands alabasterers.

The incised inscription round three sides of the slab reads: ‘Hic iacet dominus Johis Mertun  quondam rector istius  / ecclesiae nec non / capellanus Thome Stanlei comitis de derbi qui obit tali dei / ... [Here lies Master John Mertun sometime rector of this church and former chaplain to Thomas Stanley Earl of Derby who died on such day ...]’. Thomas was appointed rector of Whichford on 10 October 1507. We do not know his date of death, which was never filled in on the top edge of the slab, but it was probably in 1537, when his successor was appointed. Evidently the monument was commissioned by Mertun himself in his lifetime; stylistic features suggest a likely date in the 1520s.

The incised slab is not the only element of interest in this monument. It sits on a tomb chest carved from oolitic limestone (Fig. 3). It is not Horton stone, from which most of the church is constructed, but one of a light creamy hue. The sides of the stone base are treated with quatrefoiled panels. On the front there are three; the central is embellished by what appears to be foliage, while those either side have chalices.  That at the east end has a blank shield, but the one on the west is of most interest (Fig. 4). At the top of the quatrefoil is a book, the cover of which is decorated by cross hatching and which is held shut by a clasp. Below is a pair of  pinch-nez or spectacles, a most unusual feature. This is one of the earliest known representations of spectacles in English art. All in all, this monument illustrates how much can be learnt by looking at the details.

Copyright Sally Badham

Monument of the Month    June 2017

Monmouth Town War Memorial

Monmouth town war memorial stands in the centre of St James' Square in a small  garden surrounded by metal railings. It is made of Portland stone and comprises a statue of an infantryman wearing his steel helmet and carrying full kit including rifle, back pack, ammunition pouch and water bottle. He stands on a tall rough hewn pedestal atop a tier of three steps, although originally there were only two steps. The names of the fallen of both world wars and the Korean war are now cast in bronze tablets fixed to the pedestal, though the original WW1 lettering was carved into the stonework ; Figure 1.

The monument was designed by J. Reginald Harding with minor alterations by Harry Gregory of W. Clarke of Llandaff, the firm responsible for its production. Mr. Harding was a civil engineer, the nephew of Lord Llangattock. In 1914 Clarke's had been responsible for making a memorial tablet to the late Lord Llangattock which was erected in Monmouth parish church which had been designed by J. Reginald Harding. The marble bust for this monument was sculpted by Sir William Goscombe John. The statue of the infantryman was modelled and sculpted by William W. Taylor; Figure 2. Mr. Taylor finally received public recognition for sculpting the monument when the Monmouthshire Beacon published his obituary on 1st March 1935.The names recorded on the tablets have been listed on the Imperial War Museum's website (  accessed 3.12.2016)  and by Ray Westlake (First World War Graves and Monuments in Gwent. Wharnecliffe 2001, pp. 117-9).


The story of the Monmouth war memorial can be found in the pages of the local newspaper, the Monmouthshire Beacon. At a meeting of the Town Council on Monday 18th November 1918, a committee was formed to gather subscriptions for peace celebrations and a permanent war memorial for the town. The secretary elect was Mr. George B. Adamson and the treasurer Mr. C. H. Woodhouse. At this time Mrs Howard Arnott donated 100 guineas and by the end of the meeting £310.15s. had been collected. No decision had been made at this stage as to what form the memorial should take. At a meeting in January 1920 Mr. Adamson reported further contributions had been received and the Mayor, Mr. W. Sambrook, put forward the idea of extending the Wye Embankment as a suitable war memorial. This would have involved the demolition of houses and general town improvements. Others felt this was not at all a suitable form for a war memorial.  

By the following April about £400 is stated to have been collected but the committee had yet to organise a general collection. Two designs for a memorial tablet to be placed in the Shire Hall were rejected and the whole question of what form the memorial should take was still unresolved. At a meeting held in July of 1919 the Memorial Committee submitted a report on their considerations of the numerous schemes that had been put forward for a war memorial. Their favoured scheme involved the fencing off of four acres of Chippenham for the purposes of organised games and that the house and premises occupied by the Phoenix Coal Co. be purchased; an entrance made through Chippenham, with entrance gates from Monnow Street; on the pillars of which to be affixed a tablet containing the names of Monmouth men who had fallen. After heated discussion, hingeing largely on who was to be responsible for subsequent upkeep, the report was accepted. The scheme obviously never came to fruition.

Clarke's became involved in the spring of 1920 when Guy Clarke made several journeys to Monmouth. The final design must have been more or less settled by April when Harry Gregory spent some time working on it. In June 1920 the Committee asked for sanction to erect the memorial in Monnow Street and this was granted. However, as late as June 1921 it was reported that the statue in Monnow Street was considered to  constitute a dangerous obstruction. St. James's Square was therefore put forward as an alternative location but some thought this to be too secluded a spot and favoured Agincourt Square as the location if Monnow Street was to be ruled out. The final decision to locate the monument in St. James' Square was reached at a meeting a week later. The decision was swayed by a letter the Committee had received from Mr. Guy Clarke who wrote  "Dear Sir, I have carefully considered your letter of the 30th ult., and must say that I don't consider Agincourt Square a nice or suitable location for the War Memorial. The peacefulness of St James' Square appeals to me against the somewhat crowded conditions and mixtures of Agincourt Square. I don't think even if the Rolls monument were moved to one end and the War Memorial at the other that one could say they would balance and as far as harmony is to be considered. I certainly see nothing in either monument which would harmonize in or with the old building. My father [William Clarke] who knows the position very well quite agrees with the above remarks and I hope your committee will eventually agree to have the War memorial placed in St James' Square gardens. Yours faithfully, Guy Clarke."

Clarke's actually commenced work in earnest in August 1920. William Taylor spent a total of 304 man hours producing a  scale model of the statue in clay; Figures 3a & b and a further 675 man hours on carving it from Portland stone with help from Mr. Ellis. The stone was obtained from Messrs. E. Turner and Sons, Portland. In December of 1920 a temporary shed had to be erected in Clarke's yard to accommodate the works.   Durnell and Llewellyn, with help from Dare worked on the lettering. Unnamed masons worked for a total of 1057 man hours helped by unnamed labourers for a further 566 man hours. Others who worked for a significant period on the project were Sid Pollard and Dando, the latter being responsible for overseeing the installation of the monument.  The carpenter Kingston made a crate for transporting the statue.  The monument was put in place in August 1921 with final touches and cleaning  in September. In total about 3,720 man hours was spent on the project by the firm.  The total cost of day works including materials and all expenses (including 2/- paid for the loan of a rifle) amounted to £583:15:7 and the final bill came to £725, representing a profit of about 24%. Day book and bill book records are appended. An interim payment of £500 was received on 3rd of October but final settlement was not received until 30th January 1922 as more funds had to be raised. An archive photograph of the original monument as installed is shown in Figure 4.

The memorial was unveiled on 6th October 1921 by Major Reade and dedicated by the Rev. Canon Harding. A copy of the programme for the unveiling is held in the archive. The event had full coverage in the local newspaper complete with a photograph taken by C.V. Hyam of the unveiling  and together with portraits of the mayor Councillor A. T. Blake,  Major Reade, D.S.O., M.C. and Mr. George B. Adamson. Before the war Mr. Reade had been headmaster of Monmouth Boys School. He joined the army as a  private at the onset of hostilities rising to the rank of Major. After the war he returned to his former job.

In November of 1921 it was reported that the local Lodge of Freemasons was to bear the expense of adding a granolitic step around the base of the monument and levelling and paving the area in front of it. In October 1922 Mr. Adamson reported that the project had paid off all its debts and the Freemasons had paid for the extra step and paving. It was also suggested by Mr. Horace Bailey that the report of the opening ceremony be reprinted from the Beacon and a framed copy be hung in the Rolls Hall so that future generations would appreciate the achievement and this was duly undertaken.( THE WAR MEMORIAL. Monmouthshire Beacon. 10th November 1922.)

Michael Statham



Monument of the Month  May 2017

We have been discussing on Council the very complex ethical and legal issues around posting photos (on Twitter and on this web site) of monuments and other memorials. These could be politely described as a minefield. The issues around reuse of monuments are even more complex and intractable. Lutyens’ unfortunate choice of stone for the Commonwealth War Graves memorials means they have to be renewed regularly. The old memorials cannot be reused and are broken up for use as chippings. And what should we do with memorials to those whose activities are now considered to be reprehensible – slave traders, racists, men who in their own day were revered as war leaders and are now considered war criminals? Members will remember the debates over Jimmy Savile’s tombstone when the full horror of his activities became apparent.

Our ancestors were much more relaxed about reusing tombstones. Old churches are full of cross slabs reused as building materials. They made particularly useful staircases, window and door lintels and even doorsteps. Even effigies could be reused. The church at Llanblethian in the Vale of Glamorgan had a late thirteenth-century effigy tomb which was planed off in the fifteenth century and used as part of a buttress in the south-west tower. (It has now been rescued and sits in an alcove in the south chapel, but this is probably not its original location.)

Llanblethian has an even more striking example of reuse, striking because it seems to have been done so soon after the stone was first installed At the base of the tower, fixed against the north wall, is a floriated cross slab commemorating Eme... the wife of Walter Torig.  

Fig 1

The full inscription reads DAME : EME..T : LA : FEMME : WATER : TORIG : GIST : ICI : D[EU : [D]EL : AME : EIT : MERCI . (There may have been a further inscription on the chamfer but it is now indecipherable.) Nothing is known about Eme... or about her husband. The stone is a tapering slab with a single chamfer. This would suggest an early date in most parts of England, but in Wales tapering slabs were still being used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The design of the cross, with its knopped arms and large plain fleur-de-lys finials, looks early fourteenth century, and this would also fit with the large Lombardic capitals of the inscription.

The stone was actually found inverted (carved side down) in the south chapel, over a stone-lined shaft containing a skeleton. In a niche in the side of the shaft was a low-grade pewter chalice.

Fig 2

This is the antiquarian C. B. Fowler’s drawing of the shaft and skeleton from his ‘Discoveries at Llanblethian Church, Glamorganshire’, Archaeologia Cambrensis 5th ser. 15 (1898), p. 129. (The article has a lot more detail about the church, including a drawing of the effigy built into the buttress.)

Priests were normally buried with replica chalices, so we can assume that the skeleton is that of a priest and not a woman. The chalice can still be seen, and from its style it is probably fourteenth century – so the tomb slab may have been used to cover the priest’s grave within the lifetime of someone who saw it laid in its original location over Eme...’s grave.

Madeleine Grey

Monument of the month April 2017

Undocumented Sculptures by Sir William Goscombe John

I have, over the last year or so, been engaged in cataloguing and digitising the contents of the firm of W. Clarke of Llandaff. The firm was set up in the 1870s by Llandaff born sculptor William Clarke, son of Edward Clarke, a Bristol born sculptor, who came to Cardiff in c1851 to work for Prichard and Seddon on the renovation of Llandaff Cathedral. William Clarke's great grandson William Michael Clarke (known as Mike) now runs the firm. Bill book and day book records are extensive and date back to the 1890s.  Some drawings and photographs are even earlier, though coverage is patchy.

The project commenced with the photographing of thousands of pages from day books, bill books and notebooks, then moved on to photographing most of the drawings. This part of the project is substantially complete. Indexing has begun but much (boring) work lies ahead if it is to be completed!

This article continues in a word document with footnotes, click here to read it.

There are additional photographs that go with this article and link to the text and footnotes.

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Figure 7

Monument of the month March 2017

Thomas Walsh d. 1593 Stockton on Teme, Worcestershire and Francis Walsh d. 1596 Shelsey Walsh, Worcestershire

This month's monument of the month focusses on two similar monuments commemorating members of the Walsh family in adjacent parishes in Worcestershire. They are of an unusual type, being constructed from wood rather than stone, but both heavily painted to disguise the underlying material and to give the impression that they were prestigious stone monuments. The choice of material may have been an economy measure. It is likely that wooden monuments were once less rare than they now appear, but the twin forces of Puritan iconoclasm and decay probably lead to the loss of many. Those that survive, especially examples which imitated stone monuments, are thus of special interest.

The earlier of the two is at Stockton on Teme by the altar and commemorates Thomas Walshe (1593) (Fig. 1). It is the more elaborate of the two monuments, the form being reminiscent of a court cupboard. It consists of a rectangular tomb chest with panelled sides containing painted shields, surmounted by a canopy supported by turned posts painted to give the appearance of marble. It was restored and repainted in 1856.

There is no effigy, but the identity of the person commemorated is provided by an inscription on the back of the tomb reading: 'The tombe of Thomas Walshe esquier Lord of this manor and patron of this church who departinge this life at London the 21 of November his bodye was hither translated the 21 of December A[nn]o D[omin]i 1593 by his cosine jarmaine Thomas Walshe gent his sole Executor the Erector of this tombe'. This is supplemented by a Latin inscription round the edge of the flat top which is partly concealed and difficult to view. This explains that Thomas  was the son of Thomas Walshe, one of the barons of the Exchequer to Henry VIII, and Catherine his wife, daughter of John Saxilby, chief clerk of the household to Henry VII, and Elizabeth his wife; Elizabeth was the daughter of John Gainsford of Surrey. Thomas Walshe, the father of the Thomas here commemorated, was the second son of John Walshe of Shelsley Walsh and Margaret his wife, who was the sister of Sir Edward Blount of Sodington. These inscriptions shows that lineage and descent were important to Thomas or to his cousin Jarmaine who acted as his executor. This view is reinforced by the prominent display of heraldry on the monument. On the flat top of the tomb is a raised shield with the arms of Walshe differenced by a ring. The rest of the tomb is richly embellished by many other shields with the arms of many of his connection and labels giving the names of the families concerned. A warning to the viewer is provided by a brief inscription at the back of the canopy reading 'Such as you are such were we. But such as we are now such shall you bee'. Three delightful skulls apparently gnawing at bones flank and separate the two sentences.

At the northeast of the chancel of Shelsey Walsh church is a painted wood rectangular tomb chest with tapering pilasters and with panels with blank arches enclosing shields (Fig. 2). Again there is no effigy. The flat sunk top has a moulded edge with an inscription on the chamfers inside and outside. It reads: 'Heere lieth Fraunces Wallsh esquire sonne and heire to John Wallsh esquire and Allice the daughter of Cristepher Baynham knight which Francis married Anne the daughter of Richard Cornewhall barron of Barford and had issue 3 sonns and 6 daughters and departed this mortale lif the 19 of July in the year of our Lord God anno Domini 1596'. Like his kinsman's monument, Frances Walsh's chest has a prominent display of heraldry. The shield on the west side has evidently been repainted; it represents Walshe with five quarterings, with the crest, a griffon's head razed and the motto 'Veritaset Virtus Vicinae'. The other shields show the arms of family connections, although they do not have identifying labels. Another touch evidently copied from the Stockton tomb is a memento mori inscription running above these shields. It reads: 'As you are nowe so was I. As I am so shall you be'.

There can be little doubt that the two monuments were designed and carved by the same hand. They are not signed, but Nigel Llewellyn has persuasively suggested that they are the work of the foreign painter Melchior Salaboss, who signed the magnificent painted triptych commemorating several generations of the Cornwall family at Burford (Shropshire) (Fig. 3). This was commissioned in 1588 by Thomas Cornwall, who was the brother of Anne Walsh of Shelsey Walsh.

@ Sally Badham

Obedience Nevitt, 1619, Burwash, Sussex   Monument of the Month: February 2017

The memorial that commemorates Obedience Nevitt at Burwash in East Sussex, seen by those who attended the society's symposium at Herstmoceux last September, is deceptively modest, just four pieces of alabaster, the topmost a half-circle inscribed 'An Epitaphe', the second has an heraldic oval to the left side (the charge recorded as argent a double-headed eagle displayed sable), and on the right 'In memorie of Obedience Nevitt wife of Thomas Nevitt of London Gentleman and daughter of Robert Cruttenden of this parish'. The third and the top of the fourth are occupied by a verse epitaph. Below the final couplet are details of Obedience's life and of the charity her husband confirmed in her memory:-

   { Borne 18 April 1587

Shee was { Married 11 March J604

  { Buried 15 1619

And in whose further memorie Her said

Husband and hath in his life time confirmed to

This Parishe an anuitie of 50 Shillinge eight

Pence to be disposed on Yearlie For ever as

Is declared in a table heareunto annexed

The annexed table is no longer apparent and nor are its contents recorded although charitable bequests to Burwash are included in Thomas's will of 1633 and are still in effect. Obedience's memorial is a cenotaph – she and her husband were buried in London at the church of St Benet Paul's Wharf. Thomas's will made provision for the cleaning of the monument to Obedience he had erected there among a number of charitable bequests and early the next century Strype recorded 'A Table hanging up where a Monument stood before the Fire, for Tho. Nevet, and Obedience his Wife; both good Benefactors to this Parish.'

    Obedience's father had taken a lease of the Burwash forge in 1592 but died in late 1596 or very early 1597 leaving two young sons, three young daughters and a pregnant wife.  Thomas Nevitt, who had completed an apprenticeship to a draper, seems to have been in the service of Sir Robert Sidney, later the Earl of Leicester, from early 1594, initially in charge of Sidney's wardrobe, until Sidney's death in 1626. At some point after the death of James I in 1625 he compiled accounts (Nevitt's Memorial) of the income and expenditure of his master. Amongst the income from the earl's land is this entry:

Receaued of Henry Cruttenden and myselfe for a lease of Halden

and for the woodes there att two seuerall tymes    2520li

In the accompanying text this is referred to as 'purchase of the Lease att Halden by my brother Cruttenden and my self'. If Henry Cruttenden is the man who was in partnership at Cowden in 1638-43 with the ironmaster John Browne, it is likely that that Nevett and Cruttenden bought the lease of Halden and of the woods in order to make iron. A Henry Cruttenden of Burwash, a yeoman aged 40 in January 1632/3, had lived in Burwash all his life and his age makes it likely he was Obedience's brother and Robert Cruttenden's eldest son. Halden is presumably High Halden in Kent, about 20 miles from Burwash. Cowden is around the same distance.

    The verse epitaph appears to be the work of Christopher Brooke, a poet who made his living as a lawyer. Well regarded in the circle around John Donne and, unlike Donne, published in his own lifetime, his work is little-known now. When Sir Thomas Overbury's poems were published a year after his murder, various poets contributed memorial verse to open the volume, each having his initials after his contribution. The penultimate couplet of C. B.'s elegy was:

For him, and to his life and death’s example,

Love might erect a statue ; Zeal, a temple:

very close to the final couplet of Obedience Nevitt's epitaph. The expression 'Exchequers Store' from another verse epitaph by Brooke which once hung over the grave of Elizabeth, died 1597, wife of Sir Charles Croftes, in the church of St James, Clerkenwell, seems to be unique to Brooke as it is used only in that verse and that for Obedience Nevitt.

Neer Nature framed A better wife,
By Lawes Divine Shee squarde her Life;
Shee was not proude, nor High in aught,
Save when to Heaven Sh'advanced Her thought;
Her name and nature did accord,  
Obedient was Shee to her Lord;
And to His Hests Shee did attend,
Wjth dilligence until Her end;

Her hart was an Exchequers store,
Of love to Friends, and Bountie to the poor

Envy Shee strooke dumbe, who might repyne,
But not to reprove Her Vertues so Divine;

  To whose faire Life and Death’s example,

  Love might erect a Statue, Zeale a Temple.

Text and picture: Jon Bayliss


Nevitt's Charity:  Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command, Volume 11 (1831), 120

Nevitt's Memorial:

Monument of the Month: January 2017

An aweful warning for the New Year.

In the churchyard at Gwyddelwern in Denbighshire is this eighteenth-century chest tomb, commemorating the Rev. Edward Wynne (d. 1745) and his wife Jane (d. 1730).

The tomb has a lovely combination of cherubs and memento mori (the hour glass comes complete with cherub wings), and a chilling warning. The angel on the long side is the Angel of the Last Judgement, blowing a trumpet to wake the dead. The inscription reads 'Codwch y meirw, Dowch i'r farn' - 'Awake, dead, come to the judgement'. According to Bede, these words were written (in Latin) by St Jerome. They appear in the medieval painting of the Last Judgement at Penn (Bucks.) They may be the words coming from the angel's trumpet in the Coventry Doom but there they are just below the margin of legibility. They also crop up in a mixture of Latin and English in the N-town play of the Last Judgement, which begins with the Archangel Michael's call:

Surgite! All men aryse!

Venite ad judicium

The Dreamer's vision of the Day of Judgement in the beginning of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress includes 'a voice saying, "Arise, ye dead, and come to judgement"; and with that the rocks rent, the graves opened, and the dead that were therein came forth'. Probably as a result of this, the line appears on a number of eighteenth-century gravestones (there are examples at St Michael and All Angels, Elton, Notts.; Dunstaffnage, Argyll; St Columba's, Kingussie; and in in Old Errigal Cemetery, County Monaghan, and in Dromin and Monasterboice, Co. Louth). Our Twitter friend 'Stiffleaf' recorded it on a stone over the door to the nave at Broxbourne, Herts, and suggested that this could have been a reused tombstone. The Gwyddelwern example is the only version on a Welsh tomb that I know of, though Hywel Harris used a slightly different translation, 'Cyfodwch feirw, a dewch i'r Farn',  on the weathervane of his great religious centre at Trefeca (Brecs).

On the east end, around the winged hourglass, is another warning inscription in Welsh: 'Mal yr awr, y mae'r Einioes' - 'Life is but an hour' (thanks to David Hale and Gwen Awbery for help with the translation).

These are unusual inscriptions. The first, 'Codwch y meirw, Dowch i'r farn', is mentioned in Robin Gwyndaf's survey of Welsh monumental inscriptions (, in Welsh), but there are no other versions in the article and nothing about the second inscription.  However, Edward Wynne was an important figure in Welsh literary circles and may have cast the net quite wide for his tomb design. He was the adjudicator at the Bala Eisteddfod in 1738. According to tradition, it was he who addressed the chaired bard (the highest honour at an eisteddfod) with the alliterative line 'Goreu y gyd, gwr y gadair' which has since been used as one of the Eisteddfod mottoes (though the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth suggests the infamous Iolo Morgannwg may have made this one up:

Madeleine Gray