Church Monuments Society

Bertrand monument Mold Flintshire Phil Hellin

The Bertrand monument and its ledgerstone

Month: March 2023
Type: Wall monument  
Era: 18th Century

Visit this monument

St Mary the Virgin
6 Church Ln, Mold CH7 1BW

More about this monument

A relocated monument which refers to the ledgerstone over the actual burial

During one of the many restoration projects during the 19C at St Mary’s, Mold, Flintshire the majority of the mural monuments, most of which are cartouches, were moved from their original position within the building to its west end, such as the 1757 monument to the Rev William Wynne by John Michael Rysbrack of three cherub heads below a moulded canopy. One of the more interesting of these is IN MEMORY OF/ LOUISE BERTRAND,/ who Died the 7th of October/ 1789, Aged 42. It is economically inscribed, being of but thirty-five words, twenty-one of which indicates her place of burial. It is an elegant convex marble cartouche, shield-shaped, surmounted by a squat urn, flanked by tasselled drapery and supported by a cheeky cherub’s head with a winsome lock of hair falling over his forehead.

But, as already noted, it is the last twenty-one words of the inscription which is of interest here, stating “and whoƒe/ Remains Lie Interred in/ The South Aisle Near/ This Place, with a Stone/ OVER HER GRAVE/ INSCRIBED/ L : B/ 1789.” The capital letters are to draw the reader’s attention to the literal place of her burial, but the rest of the inscription is of greater value for us as it explains why so many ledgerstones in British churches bear just initials and the year of death, for that in itself is a sort of shorthand to indicate that the individual has a monument close to hand which will contain further details on them. Of course, there were some sufficiently wealthy able to afford both a mural monument and a fully-lettered ledgerstone, but this shortened form of ledgerstone inscription was frequently used by those of more modest means.

So, when you next come across such a ledgerstone during your church-crawls, adopt the advice given by Sir Christopher Wren on his monument in the crypt of London’s St Paul’s cathedral, which states ‘Lector si monumentum requiris circumspice’ (Reader, if you seek a monument, look around you.)

Julian Litten