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at present stand; and this of Sir Robert Shurland might have been rescued in the same manner.
Next in point of time, and scarcely inferior in interest, are the two brasses which lie in the centre of the Chancel, on either side of the lectern. These, now on separate slabs, were until lately side by side on a large block of Bethersden marble (now hidden under the choir stalls), though no doubt they originally rested each on its own altar-tomb. Their general character-the clean cut outline of the figure inlaid in a corresponding indented matrix, instead of forming part of a large oblong unbroken plate, including effigy, canopy, shields, and probably inscription-scroll, as is customary with foreign brasses-would seem at first sight to lead to the inference that they were English work; but a closer examination of the details-the finer lines, with the intervening spaces chiselled out, instead of the deep bold lines with which an English graver would produce the shading of the figures-indicate in both brasses a French or Flemish hand, and such they are pronounced by experts to be; an opinion further confirmed by the style of dress of the female figure.
The question then rises, "Whom are they supposed to represent ?" Weever, in his Funereall Monuments, writing in 1631, says that in his day there lay at the foot of the figures, though it has now disappeared, the following inscription, 66 HIC JACENT ROGERUS DE NORWOOD & BONA UXOR EJUS, SEPULTI ANTE CONQUESTUM." The palpable anachronism of chain armour "before the Conquest" proclaims the utter valuelessness of this statement, while the character in which the letters were written proved also that they must have been of much later date. Still, while admitting the ignorance which is stamped on this inscription, it is possible to surmise the ground on which it was attributed to Sir Roger. The cross engrailed on a field ermine pronounced it to have belonged to a Northwode, and, as has been already shewn, Sir Roger had been a great benefactor to the Abbey and Church, and it was but natural that he should be supposed to be the one to whose memory, as a grateful recognition of his good deeds, this brass should have been placed in the Church in which it was known that he desired to be buried. Then again the
dress of the lady might be thought to confirm this view, for the ends of her mantle, drawn over her shoulders, and hanging down in front, exhibit a vair-en-point-like ornament, which might be thought to form heraldically a connection with the Fitz-Bernard family, to which Bona the wife of Sir Roger was known to belong.
But the armour refutes the theory that it was meant to represent a man who had lived in the thirteenth century, to say nothing of being "before the Conquest." The light bascinet, instead of the heavier heaume or helmet, the haubert of banded ring-mail, in the place of the simple chain armour, associated with the Crusader times, the plated shoulder-piece and elbow-piece, too-all mark the transition period of the earlier years of the fourteenth century, and combine to strengthen the claim of another member of the Northwode family, Sir John, the son of Sir Roger, who was even more distinguished in the annals of the country; who was also created a Knight-Banneret, and had by marriage allied himself with one of the most powerful and influential of Kentish families, the Badlesmeres.
Assuming then that these brasses represent Sir John Northwode and his wife Joan (de Badlesmere) we are able to fix the date of their deaths. Sir John died in May 1319, and she in the following June; she was thus spared the sorrow of knowing that her father, Bartholomew (Lord) Badlesmere, three years after paid the penalty of his refusal to admit Queen Isabella into Leeds Castle, of which he had been appointed Custodian by Edward II.
Now of the figures themselves, each was composed of two pieces; that of the lady has retained its original form; but the lower portion of the knight's brass has undergone more than one change. Until a few years ago there lay, as a drawing in Stothard's Monumental Effigies* shews, a broad space between the middle of the shield and the grotesquely misshapen legs; this has been accounted for by the supposition that it was at one time proposed to lay the two figures on one stone; but the disparity of the height was met by applying the
* Stothard, in his Monumental Effigies, p. 54 (1811), gives a representation of the brass as it then appeared, with the "gaping interval."
Procrustean process, and cutting away enough from the middle of his body to reduce the excess of height, and to make it correspond with the female figure, which made the ignorant addition of the lower limbs the more ludicrous.
The research of the late Dr. Maitland, while Librarian at Lambeth, brought to light an interesting entry in the Lambeth Registers, which enables us to conjecture the date of this strange suffix. In the year 1511 the Churchwardens of Minster made a presentation to the Archbishop (Warham) at his Visitation to this effect, "That wheare a long tyme agoo in the chapell a knight and his lady were buryed, the pictures upon them were sore worn and broken," and they requested permission to remove them. But the Archbishop's Commissary "admonished them to implore his Grace for permission that they might be repaired."+ It is most probable that the addition was then made; and that (utilizing as a palimpsest a portion of another brass, on which was engraved the drapery of a female figure) on the back of it was designed by some illiterate local workman what he fancied might have been the form of the cross-legged Crusader knight. The lapse of 200 years, and the ignorance of the engraver, would easily account for the gross incongruity, and also suggest the date when the old inscription was added, as, on old Fuller's shewing, the character would belong rather to the sixteenth than to the fourteenth century.
The next and the last step in the metamorphosis of the Northwode knight took place a few years ago, when the Church was being restored. A member of that family supplied the gaping interval between the upper part of the figure and the grotesque legs, by introducing a third piece, on which the remainder of the shield and the armour were engraved, with far more harmonious effect.
*British Magazine (1847), vol. xxxi., p. 547.
This brass seems to have been the subject of another petition at an earlier date. The late Rev. R. C. Jenkins of Lyminge, in his Dioc. History of Canterbury, p. 234, gives, without stating his authority, the following account of the difficulty which its presence caused to the inhabitants of Minster: they petitioned the Archbishop "that they might remove the effigies of a knight and his wife, and lay in the place a plain stone with an epitaphy that the people may make setes and pews where they may more quietly serve God." He gives the fifteenth century as the date of this petition, but the writer has found no entry of it in the Lambeth Registers of that period.
The Northwode interest in Minster would seem to have continued for some generations.* The eldest son of this Sir John, also a Sir John, was buried here; again, the first wife of his eldest son, a Sir Roger, and their son, a Sir John too, who died in 1379,† found burial here.
The next monument to be noticed is that standing under the eastern bay of the colonnade which separates the Parish Church from the Abbey Chapel, and forms the most conspicuous monument in the Church. On a very massive tomb of Bethersden marble, with its sides and ends richly ornamented with sixteen escutcheons proclaiming the proud alliances of the Cheyney family,‡ lies an alabaster figure of a knight in full court costume of the later years of the sixtenth century, with the badge of the Garter lying on his breast, and the ribbon at his knee. It has been already said that on the death of Sir Robert de Shurland, the marriage of his only child Margaret with Sir William de Cheyney§ carried the Manor of Sheppey to the Cheyneys of Patricksbourne; and although the family pride and interest in the Sheppey estates flagged somewhat under the Cheyneys, yet it is clear that they looked to Minster as their ancestral burial-place.
This monument, as the now partially effaced inscription running round the verge still shews, was in memory of Sir Thomas Cheyney, who had been Knight of the Garter, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Constable of Dover Castle, Treasurer of the Household to Henry VIII. and Edward VI., and Privy Councillor under Mary and Elizabeth. In spite of all his honours, his heart, as shewn by his will, reverted to the old family home, and like his ancestor Sir William,
*Other brasses of Northwodes mentioned in Philipott's Church Notes, in British Museum, Harleian MSS. 3917.
Will of Sir John Northwode (Archbishop Sudbury's Register, f. 100 b) (1379): "Volo corpus meum sepeliendum in Ecclesia Monasterii Sancte Sexburge de Menstrye in Scapeya," etc.
The tendency to emblazon their tombs seems to belong to the name of Cheyney, for a descendant of this Sir Thomas, Elizabeth, of the Gestling branch, who had married Sir Thomas Colpeper, and died in 1638, had a similar heraldic display of alliances on her tomb in Hollingborne Church.
§ Will of Sir William Cheyne (Chichele's Register, part i., f. 475) (A.D. 1441): "Volo corpus meum sepeliendum in Capella Sancte Katherine infra Abbathiam Sancte Marie & Sexburge in Insula de Scapeia. . . . . Item lego ad pictum Crucis, & ad reparacionem Capelle Sancte Katherine in Ecclesia de Menstre XX8."
who had died in 1441, he left the following record of his wish: "I will (he said) that my bodye be buryed in the Minster in the Isle of Sheppey, in a chapel there, wheare my late wyef Dame Frydeswith and divers of myne ancestors are buryed." This wish was carried out in 1559; but his son, Sir Henry (created by Elizabeth in 1572 Lord Cheyney of Todington), parted with the Sheppey estates to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who pulled down and sold the materials of what had been the family chapel of the Cheyneys; the one redeeming act in this sad transaction being that, though Lord Cheyney sold to a stranger the chapel his father had so loved, he had the grace to solicit from the Archbishop of Canterbury a licence to remove his father's tomb, and the remains of other ancestors, and place the tomb reverently in the body of the Church, where it now stands, having happily suffered very little disfigurement or mutilation. There lies the old knight in all the grandeur of his official robes, his hands clasped, his head resting on a pillow richly diapered, and supported by angels; the most striking if not the most interesting monument in the Church of a man more than once described in Rymer's Fodera as "Strenuus Miles;" and by old Fuller in his Worthies as "a spriteful (? spirited) gentleman."
Here is another monument, which in point of time takes precedence of Sir Thomas Cheyney's, in far more lowly position, lying on the ground, with no raised altar-tomb, no sculptured recess, to give it dignity, with no inscription, nor any heraldic device by which it might be identified, the only clue to its probable date being the armour, a plated breastplate and tuilles, without a trace of a coat of mail either above or below; this would indicate the earlier part of the fifteenth century. Its history, at least as much of it as is known, is strange. It was found buried in the churchyard, some five feet below the surface, in the year 1833, and here it lies in a vacant space against the north wall of the Chapel; a knightly figure of Purbeck marble, on a coped slab; the face and upper part of the body in fair preservation, but the feet and projecting portions of the thighs roughly chiselled away and sadly mutilated. There is no trace of sword or