Portfolio of Brasses
Each month we feature an article about a brass of particular interest.
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The 1480s were a time of rapid change in the ruling circle of Stamford. The town was governed by twenty-five men, with an alderman at their head and two groups of twelve burgesses, the first and second twelve. Christopher Browne, a nephew of William Browne, founder of Browne's Hospital, and grandson of John Browne, merchant of the staple, was a member of the family that dominated fifteenth-century Stamford. He was made free in 1482, made a member of the first twelve without having served in the second twelve and became alderman at the end of...read more
The Stafford family of Blatherwyck had their origins with the Staffords of Grafton. Their is a profusion of heads of the family named Humfrey that makes identifying any particular Humfrey a task that needs care. Like his father, who died little more than a dozen years before his son did, the particular Humfrey represented on the brass was a knight. He is referred to on occasion as as Sir Humfrey Stafford junior, as when he was on service on the Continent in Henry VIII's army in the early 1540s. At other times, as when he wrote to Thomas Cromwell...read more
The subject of this month's brass has recently attracted attention because he has been identified as the owner of a surviving illustrated missal in Cambridge University Library. Research into his life is currently being undertaken by Professor Carole Rawcliffe and Dr John Alban.
With homes in Norwich and Honing, close to Bromholm Priory, where the elder Sir John Paston was buried in 1466, Nicholas Parker might be expected to feature in the contemporary letters of the Paston family, yet the man of the same name who does was the notary public of...read more
Although his month's brass was mentioned in many guidebooks in the century before the First World War it has since received rather less attention but relates directly to one of the major problems faced by Elizabeth I during her reign.
On 2nd May 1568 Mary Queen of Scots escaped from imprisonment in Castle Leven, set on an island in Loch Leven. She had been forced to abdicate in favour of her ten month old son, James VI, on 24th July the previous year following the murder of her second husband and her marriage to the man many believed to be the...read more
This brass commemorates George Rede, who was rector of Fovant, Wiltshire from 1473 to his resignation in 1504. The inscription reads, in translation 'Pray for the soul of George Rede, formerly Rector of the Church of Fovant at the time of the building of the new tower there, AD 1492, on whose soul God have mercy Amen'. This indicates that it was not laid down by his executors after his death, as was the norm at this time, but was commissioned by Rede himself, probably around the time that the building works to the tower were completed.
The brass which Rede...read more
This brass commemorates Nicholas Gaynesford, who died in 1498, and his wife, Margaret (nee Sidney), died 1503. Gaps are left in the inscription for the dates of death, showing that the brass was engraved in the lifetime of the pair, probably 1480-5, and so shows them as they personally wished to be represented. He is shown in armour and she in a butterfly headdress and gown with a collar of Suns and Roses, denoting allegiance to the Yorkist dynasty. The brass forms the back panel of a high tomb on the north side of the old Chancel of Carshalton church.read more