Church Monuments Society


The Effigy of Sir Roger Salaman at Horley c.1345/50

Month: June 2021
Type: Effigy  
Era: 14th Century

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St Bartholomew
Church Rd, Horley RH6 8AB

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Fascinatingly intricate armour on an effigy from the period when extensive advancement took place from mail to supplementary plate defences.

The mid-fourteenth century is arguably one of the most fascinating periods for the study of arms and armour, when an extensive advancement took place from mail to supplementary plate defences. There is no better example to study these transitional changes than at St Bartholomew’s church Horley (Surrey), where fascinating intricate armour can be seen. The effigy under discussion lies on a tomb-chest between the nave and the north aisle. Below is a description of the effigy.

Although the effigy is well-preserved, the right hand, sword’s pommel, grip and quillons are missing.  Represented on the shield, a double-headed eagle charged on its breast a leopard’s face [Salaman] [1]. The figure is straight-legged with the left hand resting on the dexter corner of the shield with the right hand originally holding the sword. The feet rest on a lion which is looking towards the effigy’s right. The head, which rests on a tasselled rectangular cushion, wears a basinet with attached aventail with large pendants hanging from the vervelles; a moustache is represented. The effigy wears a hauberk with the sleeves extending to the elbows, which has an additional mail sleeved garment below and then another sleeve in the form of scales, to which the gauntlet appears to be riveted. The legs are protected by mail hose (mail represented by parallel rows of Cs) with the poleyns riveted to the hose. On the shoulders are besagews decorated with leopards’ faces, which also decorate the couters that are strapped around the elbows. The left hand is protected by a plate gauntlet. The coat-armour is short in the front and long at the back with zigzag lacing along the right side. Seen beneath the hem is the lower edge of the coat-of-plates, indicated by rivets. Also beneath is the hem of the hauberk and vertically-quilted aketon. Passing across the chest from the right shoulder is a guige; shield on the left hip. Attached to the breast of the coat-armour are two hexafoil bosses which have chains attached. The left chain passes over the shoulder while the right falls on to the slab on the right then rises to the hand, presumably once attached to the sword that was held in the hand; the scabbard is on the left. The rondel dagger is also attached to a chain, presumably from the waist-belt. Around the heels are spurs.

There are some very interesting details that make this effigy special. While not unique the basinet with hanging pendants is rare and only seen on a small number of effigies, for example John of Eltham at Westminster Abbey: the additional mail sleeve shown below the sleeve of the hauberk: the scale armour that the cuff of the gauntlets is riveted to and the circular bosses that the chains are attached to on the breast. These bosses are in reality riveted to the coat-of-plates. Scale armour, like here, is also represented on the forearms of the brass to Sir John de Northwood c.1330 at Minster in Sheppey (Kent) and on the gauntlets of the brass at Buslingthorpe (Lincolnshire). These scales in reality would have been sewn to a base, very likely leather. Another very rare feature is the breast chains with only 11 represented with these in England. As tactics for warfare changed during this period he is most likely dressed to fight on foot rather than horseback. While I cannot prove this, I believe this is the work of a continental sculptor, notably the way he represents the left hand on top of the shield, which is placed at hip-level; a feature represented on French monuments recorded by Charles Stothard[2]; this and other unique features point to a continental influence. The sculptor may have emigrated to England or this effigy may have been imported. I have not been able to identify the type of stone, which if proved to be French would support my theory. Sir Roger Salaman died in 1343[3].

Mark Downing FSA

[1] H. Lawrance, Heraldry from military monuments before 1350 in England and Wales, publications of the Harleian Society, vol. 98 (London, 1946), p. 39.

[2] R. Knowles, French Excursions, Charles Alfred Stothard and the Monumental Effigies of France, Church Monuments, vol. 13 (1998), pp. 44-69, figs. 15, 16.

[3] Calendar of the inquisitions post mortem and other analogous documents preserved in the public record office, Edward III, vol. 8 (London, 1913), pp. 300-301.