Monument of the Month

July 2015


The Farnham Monuments: Myths, Legends and Family Fables (Pt.2)


Fig 6

The sixth monument to Thomas Farnham (d.1574) and Anne Eyre was another incised slab which, according to Nichols, was set in the floor next to the other tombs in the south chapel. This slab is now lost. The seventh monument is the hanging monument (fig.6). Although Nichols ascribes this to another Thomas (d.1666), I believe that the wall monument is in memory of Thomas, younger brother of Francis. There are four reasons for my attribution. The style of clothes is correct for this period and would be old fashioned in 1666. The hanging monument shows the right number of children, four sons and two daughters –the Thomas suggested by Nichols, had two sons and four daughters. Any monument for him would have been placed in the north chapel and the lack of dates on the wall monument might suggest they are already recorded nearby. Although this monument is visually different in style, the inscription continues to play a prominent role and is in a very similar in tenor:

He saieth to rottenes thou art my sire ...

His linadge from a knight his life unstainde

His hand not slack in bountie to the pore 

 By the 1570s, the south chapel would have been pleasantly cramped with five monuments whilst the north side still had just one. In the 1940s this monument was tentatively attributed to Epiphanius Evesham and since then this ascription has been repeated often, including in Pevsner. However, both White and Bayliss disagree with this attribution and Bayliss has suggested it is the work of a William Hargrave of Bilborough who worked at Wollaton Hall. In 1887, when it was relocated, the inscription was moved from the foot end of the monument to the head end. Although this is the only monument with fully carved figures, it would still have read very like the other four chest tombs, each monument consisting of images in the top two thirds and an inscription in the bottom third. This similarity is now lost and with it the visual clues that relate these monuments to each other. 
 As a young man, John had been a soldier and then became a pensioner at the court of Elizabeth I. He was rarely in Quorn and sold Nether Hall to Thomas his brother for £80. It was bequeathed back to him when Thomas died (1562). On John’s demise it went to the next brother, Matthew. Although other estates went to the daughters of John and Thomas it seems that it was important to keep the Quorn property in the Farnham name. John’s will makes interesting reading. Not only does he allow 100 Marks for a funeral ‘answerable to my degree’ and an equivalent sum for his monument, he also lists possible places for his burial. His first choice is the ‘north side of St Bartholomew’; his second is in ‘Christ church within Newgate by or near unto my good friends Walter Haddon and Nicholas Beaumont’. We don’t know how much his monument cost, but 100 Marks is about £66 which is a substantial amount to spend on a tomb.[1] On the inscription it was important to let it be known that ‘he descended of an antient house’. He takes his place alongside the rest of the family, but also manages to redress the balance between the north and the south side by commissioning a very large and splendid monument.
John also departs from the sentiments so far expressed in the other inscriptions. He is neither in ‘rottenes’ like Thomas nor is he extolled for his modest and responsible lifestyle. He is celebrated both for having lived an exciting life – firstly on the battlefield ‘for youth the best expense of days’ and then at court ‘where princes great he truely served ... for good conceit and pleasant wit favord in every place beloved of the noblest sorte well liked of the rest.’ This post-Reformation inscription celebrates John’s secular achievements and there is no purgatory to worry about because ‘the heavens his soule containe’. Traditional values were upheld on the modest inscribed slabs made by the Royleys, and John Farnham’s superb tomb, displaying an engagement with what was then termed the ‘new style’, is a complete departure from them.

Fig 7
So what of the putative Robert de Farnham alabaster relief? (Fig 7) Well it certainly doesn’t date from the fourteenth century, but it could have been created later to commemorate this infamous ancestor.[2] This would beg the question why was it commissioned 200 years after the event and originally placed in the North chapel?

Fig 8
 There is neither inscription nor date. Nichols records it as being on the wall next to John’s monument. His sketch of the monument (Fig 8) shows that it had suffered somewhat and suggests it had lost its frame or surrounds. Following its restoration this looks very like a contemporary portrait of John Farnham, and his armour matches the effigy on the monument exactly. The Victorian restorer might have just replaced the original head and parts of the arm and leg. However, they may well have created completely new parts based on the portrait and John’s effigy. (Figs 8 & 9)
Fig 8
Fig 9
 Kemp observes that there was a fashion for depictions of scenes in the life of the deceased, which started to occur at the end of the sixteenth century and he includes this relief as an example.[3] This would make it a portrait of John. But, I think it is more complex and that this ambiguity was intentional from its inception. John or the commissioners of this relief were playing on the parallel of both he and Robert being soldiers. John on the cadet side of the family is attaching himself to Robert de Farnham, a common ancestor, perhaps in order to suggest that like Robert, he too had a flamboyant lifestyle and was anything but repentant.


Please note: Three photographs of incised slabs were accidentally omitted from Part 1 of the Monument of the Month. These have been restored to their correct position and may be seen here.

Thanks need to go to:-

Mary Arthur church warden for making the Chapel accessible to me

Sue Templeman of The Quorn Village On-line Museum who was so generous with information and sources

Dr Julian Litten who answered many silly questions over time, he also prompted me to think about why two second sons have monuments and introduced me to the idea of ‘peripatetic monuments’

Dr Adam White who helped so much with reading the inscriptions and attributing the monuments

Jon Bayliss who confirmed and suggested the attribution of these monuments



Primary Sources

  • Available at Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office.

Commissioning document: 26D53/2751 9 Aug.1585.

  • Agreement betw. George Shirley of Staunton Harold Esq., and Richard Royley and Gabriel Royley of Burton on Trent, tomb makers.
  • Commissioning document between Sir George Shirley and Richard & Gabriel Royley for a memorial to Sir Thomas Fermor and his wife at Somerton, Oxon. (1581) transcribed fully in Greenhill, F.A., (1958) The Incised Slabs of Leicestershire and Rutland 
  • Nichols, J., (1800) The History and antiquities of the county of Leicestershire Vol. III pt I [online]

Secondary Sources

  • Badham, S., (2004). “A new feire peyneted stone’: Medieval English Incised Slabs?’ In Church Monuments Vol. XIX
  • Farnham, G. F. B., (1912) Quorndon Records London Mitchell, Hughes & Clarke ( Facsimile Edition, Miami, Hardpress Publishing)
  • Farnham, G., & Hamilton Thompson, A (1929). ‘St Bartholomew’s Church Quorndon: Historical Notes & Architectural Notes’ In The Leicestershire Manorial Researches Vol. 16, [Online]  (accessed 14.04.2014)
  • Greenhill, F. A., (1958) The Incised Slabs of Leicestershire & Rutland. Leicestershire Archæological and Historical Society, The Guildhall, Leicester.
  • Kemp, B., (1981). English Church Monuments. London, Batsford.
  • Richardson, C., (2013) ‘Make you a cloak of it and weare it for my sake’: Material Culture and Commemoration in Early Modern English Towns’ In Penman, M.,(Ed)  Monuments and Monumentality Across medieval and Early Modern Europe Shaun Tyas Donnington
  •  Sherlock, P., (2008). Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England. Aldershot, Ashgate


[1] The most expensive Royley monument, to Thomas Fermor (d.1580) at Somerton was contracted to cost £40.
[2] Robert de Farnham went to war to avoid charges for ‘robbing Elena le Rous on Barrow Bridge’. He acquitted himself with such credit he was pardoned and able to return home.
[3] Kemp ( 1981) p.71


Moira Ackers
        Monument of the Month - Contributions Wanted!
This page is designed for the general reader and is intended to feature monuments of all types and all ages: those to the famous and to the unknown, those by famous sculptors and those by unknown local craftsmen, the artistically spendid and the simple but beautiful or curious. So far mostly members of the Council have contributed but contibutions are welcome from everybody - members or non-members of the Society. We would welcome a photograph or two and a short text telling us why the monument interests you: it may be of an ancestor, of someone you admire, something you have discovered or just something you just like or find interesting.
Please send the text as a word document and the photographs as separate jpg files ; please do not send the photographs embedded in the text as I cannot then edit the document. However, it is always useful - but not essential - if an embedded version could be sent as well, as then I can lay out the document as you intended. Please send contributions to . We will feature the monument for a month and it will then be archived.

Some tips on the photographs:
1. It is always polite to ask the vicar or rector of the church for permission to take photographs, stressing they are not for profit or commercial purpose. It is important to confirm when the church is normally open. Don't forget to enclose a stamped addressed envelope for your reply.
2. Cathedrals and some other large churches have a visitors' desk and permission may often be obtained there on the day; sometimes there is a modest cost. Some of these churches do not normally allow photography although permission may be obtained if one writes before hand. To date the only place that I have been refused  is Durham Cathedral. Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral also do not allow photography.
3. Try to carefully remove items that block the view of the monument if you are able. Especially don't leave your camera case in the way as I have on occasions! Or alter the angle of the photograph to minimise this problem.
4. Try to avoid excessive contrast in taking the photographs - dark shadows and bright sunlight. In other words, try to see what the camera sees, not your eyes! Flash can be difficult to use as it creates harsh shadows and burned out highlights; this is especially difficult when a photograph is taken of a subject of some depth when the foreground becomes too bright and the background too dark, because of the rapid falling off of the brightness of the flash with distance.
5. Please send photographs as jpg or gif attachments; do not embed them in the text where they cannot be edited and require a lot of memory space. If you wish I can scan printed photographs if they are sent to me; they will always be returned.
Click on the link below to see earlier Monuments of the Month
January 2010 Thomas Moore (d. 1586) & his widow Marie at Adderbury (Oxfordshire) Sally Badham FSA
February 2010 The so-called ‘Stanley boy’ monument at Elford (Staffordshire) Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
March 2010 William Shakespeare’s monument, HolyTrinity, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire Dr Adam White PhD
April 2010 The Lovell Tomb at Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire Dr Ellie Pridgeon PhD
May 2010 The chantry of Humphrey Duke of Gloucester 1391-1447 at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban Jane Kelsall
June 2010 Thomas Babington of Dethick (d. 1518) and his wife Edith at Ashover (Derbyshire) Dr Kelcey Wilson-Lee PhD
July 2010 Baptist Noel, Third Viscount Campden (c. 1612-1683) at Exton, Rutland C B Newham
August 2010 Isabelle of Angoulême at Fontevraud Abbey J K Bromilow MInstP
September 2010 The Monument to Thomas Strode at Beaminster, Dorset Dr Clive J Easter PhD
October 2010 The cadaver monument of Guillaume de Harcigny (d. 1393) at  Laon (France) Dr Sophie Oosterwijk FSA
November 2010 The John Donne Monument (d. 1631) by Nicholas Stone in St Paul's Cathedral, London Dr Philip Cottrell
December 2010 Walter Helyon (d. c. 1357) at Much Marcle (Herefordshire) Sally Badham FSA
January 2011 Hungerford, Berkshire Dr Ellie Pridgeon PhD
February 2011 The Schaw Monument Dumfermline Abbey Church Dr Jenny Alexander
March 2011 Two wooden Epitaphien from Königsberg Jerome Bertram
April 2011  Abbot Adam of Carmarthen, Neath Abbey South Wales Dr Rhianydd Biebrach Ph D
May 2011 Sir John Newdigate, 1610, Harefield, Middlesex Jon Bayliss
June 2011  The joint tomb of João I of Portugal (d.1433) and his queen, Philippa of Lancaster (d. 1415) Founder’s Chapel, monastery of Our Lady of Victory, in Batalha, Portugal  Joana Ramôa
Photographs by  José Custódio Vieira da Silva
July 2011 Today and not tomorrow’ Doctor James Vaulx and his two wives Editha and Philip   St Mary’s Church, Meysey Hampton Joan and Robert Tucker
August 2011 The Bourchier Monuments in St Andrew’s Church, Halstead (Essex) Mark Duffy
September 2011 Two Monuments in Bedfordshire Cameron Newham
October 2011 Floor slab of Joost Corneliszoon van Lodensteyn, burgomaster of Delft (d. 31 April 1660), his wife Maria van Voorburch, and their descendants, Oude Kerk (Old Church), Delft (Netherlands), Belgian hardstone, 223 x 136 cm. Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
November 2011  Berengaria of Nevarre, Queen of Richard the Lionheart in L'Épau Abbey J K Bromilow MInstP
December 2011  The Watton Monument at Addington, Kent Dr Clive Easter
January 2012  The monument of Lady Margaret  Grey (d. 1330) at Cogges  Oxfordshire Sally Badham
February 2012 The Effigy of Walter Stewart, Earl of Menteith, at Inchmaholme Priory, Scotland Mark Downing FSA
March 2012  Thomas Walwyn (d. 1415) and his Wife  at Much Marcle (Herefordshire)   Sally Badham 
April 2012  Lady Barbara de Mauley, St Nicholas, Hatherop   Joan and Robert Tucker  
May 2012 The tomb of John Marshall in Llandaff Cathedral Dr Madeleine Gray PhD FRHistS
June 2012 The double tomb monument to Reinoud III van Brederode (d. 1556) and Philippote van der Marck (d. 1537) in Vianen (Netherlands) Trudi Brink
July 2012 Lowsley Family Tomb, Hampstead
Norris, Berkshire
Dr Andrew Sargent
August 2012 Oliver Cromwell's Coffin Plate J K Bromilow MInstP
September 2012 A Monument in Holy Trinity Church Hull Sally Badham FSA
October 2012 East Worldham (Hampshire) Sally Badham FSA
November 2012 Floor slab of Cornelis Pietersze (d. 1532) and his wife Jozijne van Domburch (d. 1557), Sint-Maartenskerk, Sint Maartensdijk (province of Zeeland, Netherlands), Belgian hardstone, 254 x 141 cm. Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA and Kees Knulst BA
December 2012 An exercise in white marble and whitewashing: Cenotaph of Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam (d. 13 June 1665), by Bartholomeus Eggers, situated in the choir of the Jacobskerk, The Hague (Netherlands), white, red and black marble and wood. Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
January 2013 Martin Kistenmaker and his Parents
Heiligenkreuz, Rostock
Jerome Bertram
February 2013 The monument to Archbishop James Sharp (d.1679) in Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews (Fife) Phoebe Armstrong
March 2013 The Monument at Sheriff Hutton (Yorkshire).
Is this the tomb of Richard III’s son?
Dr Jane Crease
April 2013 Zacharias Johannes Szolc, 1682, and Stanisław Bużenski, 1697 Frombork Cathedral, Poland Jerome Bertram
May 2013 The monument to Dr Thomas Turner, died 1714. Stowe-Nine-Churches, Northamptonshire  Dr Clive J Easter FSA  
June 2013 'Left for dead' Major Thomas Price Robert Tucker
July 2013 An unusual saint: Floor slab of Jacopmine Huyghendochter, wife of Foert Christiaenszoon (d. 1553), Sint-Maartenskerk, Wemeldinge (province of Zeeland, Netherlands), Belgian hardstone, 185 x 114 cm Dr Sophie Oosterwijk  FSA
August 2013 Thomas and Mary Acton, erected 1581, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire Jon Bayliss
September 2013 Cholmondeley Monument, St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London  Dr George Roberts
October 2013 Revd Theophilus Pickering (d. 1710) and John Dryden, Poet Laureate (d. 1700), Titchmarsh (Northamptonshire) Sally Badham FSA
November 2013 Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, 12th Baron de Ros of Helmsley (c.1492 – 1543) Bottesford, St Mary (Leicestershire)   Edward Higgins MA BSc (Hons)
December 2013 Maria Rebekka Schlegel, 1736, Stadtmuseum, Meissen, Germany Jon Bayliss
January 2014
Lady Elizabeth Clinton (d. 11 September 1423) Haversham (Buckinghamshire)
 Sally Badham
February 2014 LUGENS MŒRENSQUE Moira Ackers
March 2014 A son’s delayed memorial to his dead mother: The tomb of Catharine of Bourbon, Duchess of Guelders (d. 1469), Stevenskerk, Nijmegen (Netherlands). Sophie Oosterwijk and Trudi Brink
April 2014 Robert Crane (d. 1500), Chilton (Suffolk) Sally Badham
May 2014 A monument with a story
Double monument said to commemorate Lady Constantia and her son John, St Leonard’s church, Scarcliffe (Derbyshire).
Sophie Oosterwijk and Sally Badham
June 2014 A military effigy
St James's Church, Iddesleigh, Devon
John K Bromilow MInstP
July 2014 Brecon Cathedral: a post-Reformation cross slab Dr Maddy Gray PhD
August 2014 The monument to Lady Wolryche, 1678: the Lady with the Lute Dr Clive J Easter FSA  
September 2014 Row On Row (1) Robert Tucker
October 2014 A Fool’s Monument?
The Tomb Slab of Hans Has at Wertheim, Germany
Dr Martin Spies
November 2014 A Ledgerstone at Aldenham, Hertfordshire Dr Jean Wilson
December 2014 Heaven under our feet: the Laleston triple cross Dr Madelaine Gray PhD
January 2015 Llancarfan and Carisbrooke: some thoughts on a seventeenth-century cross slab in the Vale of Glamorgan Dr Madelaine Gray PhD
February 2015
A medieval miniature adult? An unidentified female miniature effigy at St Giles’s church, Coberley (Gloucestershire)
Sophie Oosterwijk
March 2015 Monument to William Villiers died 1643 Dr Clive J Easter FSA
April 2015 An Effigy in the Porch of Beaumaris Church Dr Madelaine Gray PhD

May 2015

Edward, the Black Prince, d. 1376, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent Sally Badham MBE, FSA
June 2015 The Farnham Monuments: Myths, Legends and Family Fables (Pt.1) Moira Ackers