Brass of the Month
Copyright © 2013 Monumental Brass Society (MBS)
Page last updated 04 March 2015
June 2013 -
This important brass has long been known to English antiquaries, though difficult to see. It lies on the sanctuary floor, between the high altar and the temporary “Volksaltar”, protected by a low railing. I am grateful to the Kustor of the Cathedral for exceptional permission to photograph it, albeit very quickly; more grateful to Tim Sutton for “stitching” together my snaps to make one image of the entire brass. It was engraved for Edward Kite’s Monumental Brasses of Wiltshire (1860, reprinted 1969), as a fold-
Sally Badham confirms Norris’ conjecture that it is an outstanding example of the London “D” style, in almost perfect condition. The slab is of Purbeck marble, and the surface remains in good condition throughout, doubtless owing to the secluded position of the brass. The sinister shield has certainly been restored: Kite shows it missing, as it is on a rubbing of 1864 in the Antiquaries’ collection. The cross-
So has there been any restoration? It seems incredible that a German engraver could have copied the English style so closely: all 19th-
He was quite a significant figure, of course, and has a long entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Bishop Hallum attended the Council of Constance which was the last occasion on which a Pope abdicated – in that case there were three, all of whom were deposed by the Council to put an end to the Western Schism; two, John XXIII and Gregory XII went quietly, the third, Benedict XIII, refused to go, and lingered on in Spain for many years with few supporters. Hallum was particularly influential in persuading John XXIII to go. His death at the Council and his burial in the Cathedral attended by all the prelates and the Emperor is described in von Reichenthal’s account reprinted by Kite. There has never been any doubt that the brass is English, but it has not formerly been noticed that the stone is also English: it was of course normal to send brasses from the workshop already fastened to their slabs, but it must have added enormously to the cost of transportation of such a weight from London to Konstanz, which is above the Rhine rapids.
The design is conventional, perhaps slightly unusual in having angels rather than saints in the side-
The marginal inscription, with the usual evangelistic symbols, is in Latin hexameters with internal rhymes:
Subiacet hic stratus Robert(us) Hallum vocitatus
Quondam p(re)latus Sar(um) sub honore creatus
Hic decretor(um) doctor pacis q(ue) creator
Nobilis anglor(um) Regis fuit ambaciator.
Festu(m) cuchberti septembris mense vigebat
In quo Rob(er)ti mortem Constantia flebat.
Anno Milleno trecent(um) octuageno
Sex cu(m) ter deno cu(m) xpo vivat ameno.
Beneath here lies the man called Robert Hallum, once created prelate of Sarum, for honour; He was a doctor of decretals and maker of peace, and ambassador of the noble King of the English. The feast of Cuthbert was being kept in the month of September on which day Konstanz mourned the death of Robert. In the year one thousand, three hundred and eighty, with thrice ten and six ; may he live with our dear Christ.
The September feast of St Cuthbert is the translation of his relics to Durham, on the 4th. The lettering is perfectly normal for the period, but it is curious that many of the usual abbreviation marks are missing, and the English saint Cuthbert is mis-
Photographs by Jerome Bertram, 25 April 2013.
Copyright: Jerome Bertram