Church Monuments Society

The Journal


Volume XXXV

The 2020 volume of our Journal reflects much of the activities of the Society before lockdown. Ian Bass writes on the identification of a medieval monument in Hereford Cathedral, an article based on his entry in our last essay competition. Sophie Oosterwijk reflects our European interests with an article on the lost tomb of a margrave of Baden. Roger Bowdler's study of a resurrection monument in Egham is based on a lecture at the 2019 AGM, and David Hale's discussion of poetic evidence for medieval Welsh monuments and burial practices was a lecture at a day school in Brecon. There is another Welsh article, Bob Silvester on vernacular wall monuments in the southern Welsh marches. Edward Impey looks at the creaton of memory in the Cumnor monument to Anthony Forster. Wide-ranging reviews and a tribute to the late Igrid Roscoe conclude the volume.
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Church Monuments 35:  Abstracts


‘A Swinfield family mausoleum’: An examination of an unidentified medieval monument in the north-east transept of Hereford Cathedral

Today, often obscured from view, in the south wall of the north-east transept of Hereford Cathedral is a low recess with a much-defaced effigy of a civilian of the early fourteenth century. This article discusses this hitherto unexamined monument, assessing the significance of its location and comparing it with other monuments in the east parts of the cathedral, before turning attention to the identity of the person commemorated. It is revealed that the fourteenth-century effigy is a later addition to the internal fabric of the cathedral, relocated to this north-east transept recess from the cloisters during the nineteenth-century restoration work of Sir George Gilbert Scott. Finally, it is argued here that the recess was probably commissioned for a member of the Herefordshire branch of the Swinfield family, with the most likely candidate identified as Canon Richard de Swinfield (d. 1311).


The Dry Bones of Sir John Denham (d. 1639)

 Sir John Denham (d. 1639) was an elderly judge who erected a dramatic tomb for himself at St John the Baptist, Egham (Surrey). It showed his near-naked body rising out of a coffin to the sound of the last trump. Below this is a remarkable relief of bones, skeletons and bodies coming back to life, including a second portrait of the judge and one of his second wife. It is securely attributed to the mason William Wright. Iconographically, it draws on the theme of the Vision of Ezekiel in its depiction of rising bodies in different states of completeness and represents an intensification of the then-popular genre of the resurrection monument. The article looks at the circumstances of its commissioning, and places it in the context of other resurrection memorials of its day.


Burial and commemoration practices in late medieval Welsh poetry

Some notable research into medieval tombs and tomb carvings in Wales has been conducted recently which has assessed the material evidence in both the Welsh and the wider British/European context. However, Wales has a remarkable and possibly unique corpus of written evidence in the thousands of poems composed during the period which still survive in manuscript format today. Much of this has been made more accessible in the last few decades through the transcription of many volumes of medieval poetical work into modern Welsh. Being in Welsh, these poems are largely unknown outside the Welsh-speaking community.  This article analyses some of these poems and compares what is in them with the material evidence. In so doing, it shows the relevance of the poetry in historical research while also adding to the knowledge already available from the material evidence.


‘His Fame shall make live’: the Forster monument at Cumnor (Oxfordshire)

 The monument to Anthony and Anne Forster dates from shortly after his death in 1572. It is of a particular chest and canopy form common in the period c.1470–1580, entirely of Purbeck marble and carefully integrates old-fashioned gothic design with Ionic columns. Abundant heraldry proclaims the Forsters’ standing and connections, and a thirty-two line Latin epitaph extols their virtues, adding up to the ‘fama’ (fame) through which, it states, Anthony is ‘made to live’. Not local and  without heirs, a monument was all the more necessary to preserve their memory, and as such – both boosted and defamed by Sir Walter Scott’s portrayal of Anthony in Kenilworth – it has been admirably successful.


The two tombs of Bernhard I, margrave of Baden (1364–1431): Evidence and interpretation

 Bernhard I, margrave of Baden, commissioned two tomb monuments in his lifetime. The first, which survives in the abbey church of St Maria, Bad Herrenalb (Baden-Württemberg), is an impressive canopied tomb made of sandstone probably in the 1380s. However, it is actually a cenotaph as Bernhard changed his mind about his preferred burial place in his second will, dated 27 August 1412, wishing instead to be buried in the parish church (now Stiftskirche) in Baden where his younger brother Rudolph VII had been laid to rest in 1391. The surviving evidence suggests that Bernhard’s second tomb was a cast copper-alloy effigial monument that was evidently intended to surpass the first. As such, it fits within the long German tradition of cast ‘bronze’ tomb monuments, of which several were created around this time, and it was to be the start of a series of family tombs in copper alloy across several generations. It is plausible that Bernhard commissioned this second tomb himself in his own lifetime: if so, it should be added to the Europe-wide inventory of precious-metal effigial monuments in the period 1080–1430 published in Church Monuments, 30. However, there are no known records of this commission nor any accurate antiquarian descriptions of the tomb in Baden prior to its destruction in the seventeenth century.


Eighteenth–century wall memorials in the southern Welsh Marches

The small churches in and around the Black Mountains that spread across several counties in  the southern Welsh Marches have long been known for their highly decorated eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century wall monuments, locally fashioned in sandstone and commemorating working people in the local communities. While these memorials are normally linked in the literature to one particular family of masons, the Brutes of Llanbedr in the Usk Valley, many other masons are evidenced, both stylistically and from the signatures and occasionally the workshop locations that appear on the stones. Such are the numbers of memorials surviving in over two hundred churches that trading patterns and the changing fortunes of some workshops are recognisable.



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