Brass of the Month
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Page last updated 13 January 2018
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Copyright: Jon Bayliss
Dame Millicent Meryng, 1419, East Markham, Nottinghamshire
The inscription to this month's brass reveals only sparse details of the life of its subject.
It is not clear of whom Millicent Bekering was the daughter. Thoroton, using evidence collected earlier in the seventeenth century by St Lo Kniveton, notes that her brass was on a fair marble tomb and that the arms showed Meryng impaling Bekering. Glass nearby showed Burdon impaling Bekering. Millicent's first husband was a Burdon. The History of Parliament and other sources give him as Sir Nicholas Burdon, killed fighting for Henry IV at the Battle of Shrewsbury on 21 July 1403. The Burdons were a Nottinghamshire family. It is clear that she then married John Markham, whose wife the heiress Elizabeth Cressy had died in 1408. John Markham was the jusge who drew up the legal intruments by which Richard II was deposed in 1399. Judge Markham's son Robert had previously married Millicent's daughter Elizabeth. As was often the case the marriage of Robert Markham and Elizabeth Burdon was between children and not consummated at the time. Millicent was quickly widowed again when Judge Markham died in 1409. The marriage was to secure the whole of the Bekering estates for the Markham family on Millicent's death. Judge Markham was commemorated in the church at East Markham by an alabaster tomb with three shields of arms in roundels along the side and a top slab with a marginal inscription. The blank spaces on the slab have been filled with graffiti, much of it early and interesting.
Following Judge Markham's death Millicent married again to another local man, William Meryng, who was in favour at court and was knighted by summer 1417. William was indicted for various illegalities during a protracted dispute (1411-
Millicent's monument is an exception in being a brass in an area where commemoration in alabaster was more common. Recent photographs show that, like many others, it is now disfigured by bat urine. The marginal inscription is very spaced out compared to many and says little other than to identify her as the wife of Sir William Meryng, record her date of death and request God to have mercy on her soul. It reads:
Hic jacet Dna Millicensia /
Meryng quondam uxor Willim Meryng Militis que obijt /
xxviio Septembero /
Anno dni mo cccco xixo cujus aie ppicietur deus. Ameno
(Here lies Dame Millicent Meryng sometime wife of William Meryng knight who died 17 September in the year of our Lord 1419 on whose soul God have mercy Amen)