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Children on Brasses
Children occur on brasses either in their own right as subjects of commemoration, or as 'weepers' accompanying their parents or (more rarely) other relatives. Especially in the case of medieval weepers, a distinction must be made between children and offspring: figures may appear small, but that does not always indicate age. The small daughter between the parents on the 1509 brass at Hillingdon is apparently an adult responsible for commissioning her parents' monument.
In the case of weepers, one often finds uniformly presented groups of male (on the left) and female offspring that tell us nothing about the age or status of the individuals; the Stokes brass at Ashby St. Ledger is typical of this type. A curious case is that of the row of identical siblings on a brass at Beddington which contains four consecutive Johns, two Williams and two girls named Agnes, suggesting that the earlier namesakes may have died in infancy. Other groups show the weepers decreasing in size according to age, as on the Great Hale incised slab; this also depicts children who died young as shrouded figures. Occasionally one finds weepers with more distinct characteristics: clerical or monastic dress for some children, or loose hair for unmarried daughters. This is shown on the groups of daughters at Dagenham and the sons at Carshalton.
One distinguishing feature is the use of pedestals for children shown on brasses to other family members, as at Stoke Fleming, Cobham and Westminster Abbey. A minute pedestal is also visible in the inlaid and incised slab of Princess Eleanor at Beaulieu Abbey; this is a case of a monument for a young child in her own right, although its large size belies her age. Other brasses dedicated to children include chrysoms (see separate Picture Libary page), infants in cradles (Windsor), boys in school dress (Wraysbury), boys in frock too young to have been 'breeched' yet ( Stowe), but also children in adult-
For another unusual brass to a child, click here
Copyright Sophie Oosterwijk
Click the links below for the corresponding thumbnail image. Click any image for an enlarged view.
Princess Eleanor, d. 1311 aged 5, incised and inlaid slab, Beaulieu, Hampshire
John Corp, d. 1361, and granddaughter Eleynore, d. 1391, Stoke Fleming, Devon
Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, d. 1397, Westminster Abbey
Sir Reginald Braybrook, d. 1404, and two sons, Cobham, Surrey
Phillipa Carreu, d. 1414, Beddington, Surrey
Thomas Stokes, d. 1416, Ashby St Ledger, Northamptonshire
Sir Thomas Urswyk, 1479, Dagenham, Essex
Nicholas Gaynesford, c.1490, Carshalton, Surrey
Lord John le Strange, d. 1509, Hillingdon, Middlesex
John Stonor, d. 1512, Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire
John Temple, d. 1592 aged 2 months , Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Dorothy King, d. 1630, Windsor, Berkshire
Robert Cawdron, d. 1653, incised slab, Great Hale, Lincolnshire
Detail from brass to Phillipa Carreu, d. 1414, Beddington, Surrey
showing her named siblings in a long line
Drawing of inlaid and incised slab to Princess Eleanor, daughter of Edward I from his 2nd marriage, d. 1311 aged 5, Beaulieu, Hampshire
John Corp, d. 1361, and his granddaughter Eleynore, d. 1391, Stoke Fleming, Devon
Drawing of lost brass to Thomas
of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester,
d. 1397, Westminster Abbey,
featuring both his parents and
siblings, including two brothers
who died in infancy.
Sir Reginald Braybrook, d. 1404, Cobham, Surrey, with his sons Reginald and Robert on pedestals
Detail from brass to Thomas Stokes, d. 1416, Ashby St Ledger, Northamptonshire, showing groups of identical children
Group of daughters from the brass
to Sir Thomas Urswyk, 1479, Dagenham, Essex. The first is
shown as a nun and the next two
as married ladies. Six smaller
figures with their hair loose
represent unmarried daughters.
A group of sons from the brass to Nicholas Gaynesford, c.1490, Carshalton, Surrey. The eldest is shown as a knight like his father, the next is a priest and the other two are dressed as civilians
Lord John le Strange, d. 1509,
with his wife Jacquette and daughter, Hillingdon, Middlesex
John Stonor in school dress,
d. 1512, Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire
John Temple, d. 1592
aged 2 months, Stowe, Bucks
Dorothy King, d. 1630 aged 8 months, Windsor, Berkshire
Robert Cawdron, d. 1653, incised slab, Great Hale, Lincolnshire.
The living children are ranged behind their parents, while those who died young are shown as shrouded figures lying on the ground.
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Copyright © 2002 Monumental Brass Society (MBS)
Page last updated 04 May 2004