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Page last updated 04 March 2015
Dorothy Brewster was the daughter of Sir Thomas Jocelyn of Willingale Doe. She was in her mid-
At the time that Thomas and his father were at the Middle Temple, links with Lincoln's Inn were close, as the two co-
Brooke was much better regarded as a poet by some of his contemporaries than he has been since. He was perhaps at his best in the four lines from A Funerall Poem that he suggested to might be omitted on publication lest they cause offence in his letter to ‘the gentlemen that shall licence this poem for the presse’. The licencer struck through these four and the following four but the poem was, in fact, never published.
The worthles Knights that now and then are made,
Some fooles, some clownes, some yeomen, some of trade:
That when wee speake of them (as 'twere in scoffe)
It may be ask't what trade the knight is of:
The Brewster brass is from one of the Southwark workshops that were coming to their ends at this time, although they still had a few years to run. Dorothy is shown in a farthingale, a fashion also coming to an end during this decade. But for the epitaph, it is in most respects an unexceptional brass.
Lack, Stuchfield & Whittemore, The Monumental Brasses of Essex, 2 vols (London, 2003), pp. 812-
Rev Alexander B Grosart (ed), The Complete Poems of Christopher Brooke in Miscellanies of the Fuller Worthies' Library, vol 4 (1876).
W P Baildon (ed), The Records of the Honorable Society of Lincoln's Inn: The Black Books, vol 2, 1586-
C H Hopwood & C T Martin (eds), Middle Temple Records: vol 1, 1501-
(The full texts of all bar the first of the above are available via Google Book Search)
Like most poets of the time, Brooke wrote epitaphs. They were not necessarily intended to be engraved on the monuments of the deceased. Two were formerly on boards in the church of St James, Clerkenwell and were transcribed in a later edition of Stowe's Survey of London. One of these was for Elizabeth, first wife of Charles Croftes of Bardwell in Suffolk, who died in 1597. She was the mother of Charles Croftes, who was bound to Messrs John and Francis Brewster of the Middle Temple in late 1598. A third can be found at the end of A Funerall Poem, commemorating Sir Arthur Chichester, who died in 1625. All three can be found in in The Complete Poems of Christopher Brooke, but the one at Willingale Doe is not included.
An Epitaph: Consecrated to the memorie of
Mris Dorothie Brewster, late the wife of
Tho: Brewster Esquier, and Daughter
of Sr Tho: Ioseline Knight
Behould heere Youth and beautie lyinge,
Nurst by nature's Hande, and fed;
And thus timelie layd to bed;
From wayward griefes and woefull cryinge,
Whose Lyfe is but a vitall dyinge.
Yet seeke Her not whose name I keepe
In the Grave; for she's ascended;
Earth with Earth alone is blended;
And Angells singe; though wee do weepe,
Shee wakes in Heavne, though heere she sleepe
Vanish thy Blood: thy lyfe shall springe,
From thy Vertues; ever deathles;
Fame hath Breath, though thow be Breathles
My pen thus Impes, thy Praises winge;
Which stones shall speak, & Tyme shall singe,
Obiit 27 Iunij 1613. Devosio Christopheri Brooke
Copyright: Jon Bayliss