Monumental Brass Society

Henry Dove

Date of Brass:
Salisbury, St Edmund



September 2019

The 'Recovery of an Ancient Brass at Salisbury' was reported in a short article of the same name by C[lifford] W[yndham] Holgate in the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine published in 1894.1 It was the brass of Henry Dove and the church was that of St Edmund. He described it as copper rather than brass and thought it had probably been taken from the vault under the church where Dove had been buried and appeared once to have been inserted in stone. It was in the possession of someone living near Andover who had informed a museum director who in turn notified the rector of St Edmund's. It was then purchased and restored to the church, where it was placed on the north wall of the tower. It is a rectangular plate measuring 9 by 7 inches and according to Holgate appeared to have once been gilded.

The inscription identifying the man commemorated reads as follows:

OF SALISBVRY.           ANO. DO 1616.
ÆTAT. 57.                   AVGVST 24.
The space between the two halves of this inscription is filled by a shield with the arms of Old Sarum surmounted by the crest of a dove with an olive branch in its beak but with a sword held in its right foot. Beneath appears an altar tomb, with a skull and hourglass placed upon it, and engraved with this verse epitaph:

I, voyd of gall, this cities sword did sway :

As God freely confer'd the same on me ;

Soe I, (before my full præfixed day)
Resign'd the same againe unto God free.
In Peace I liv'd, in Peace I did depart ;
Now in æternal Peace I have my part.

Henry Dove was elected mayor of Salisbury in 1615 but died in August the
following year before completing his term of office. His wife Ann had died in
1612-13 and was buried in the church as was Henry, son of Henry Dove, mayor,
in 1615-16 with a gravestone. He left a young family behind. His sons Robert
and Thomas were clergymen, the former dying in 1645. Robert and Thomas both
matriculated from Magdalen Hall, Oxford, Robert at the age of 17 in 1623 and
Thomas at the age of 18 in 1630, before proceeding to BA and MA. Alumni
Oxonienses notes that Thomas succeeded Robert as rector of Elm and Emneth
when the latter was sequestered in 1645 but Joseph Beaumont, also an academic
and poet, was Robert's immediate successor and replaced by Thomas in 1647.
Henry Dove had at least two more sons, Francis and John, both members of the
congregation of St Edmund's church, John serving as churchwarden in 1625. He
was mayor of Salisbury in 1635 and an MP. It is not clear whether Francis,
mayor in 1645 and 1650 was Henry's son or the Francis Dove, junior, mentioned
in the churchwardens' accounts.2 Both were puritans.

Stylistically Henry Dove's brass fits with the brasses engraved by Richard
Haydoke, but is much smaller and lacks the play with imagery that other
examples of Haydocke's work have. They have been considered Oxford work as
most commemorate Haydocke's contemporaries at Oxford. Haydocke had indeed
learnt to engrave at Oxford to avoid the expense of paying someone else to
engrave the title page and other illustrations he needed for his translation
of Lomazzo's Trattato dell'Arte published in Oxford in 1599 but had moved to
Salisbury to practice medicine in 1605 before he began to produce monumental
brasses. The tomb chest on the Dove brass is treated in the same way as those
appearing on a number of his brasses, with hatched lines of shading on the
back half of the top and the same profile mouldings of the edges of the slab
on the top. The lettering too matches Haydocke's known work, both in the forms
of the capital lettering and the lower case italics. A further Salisbury brass
once in the cathedral commemorated Dean John Gordon, died 1618. It fits
entirely into Haydocke's oeuvre. Peter Sherlock's analysis of Haydocke's work
accepted two more Wiltshire brasses as Haydocke's work, those of Robert Longe
at Broughton Gifford and William Button at Alton Priors, both excellent fits
with his signed work.3 While they are not full-blown emblematic brasses in the
manner of those to prominent Oxford scholars such as Erasmus Williams, died
1608, Haydocke's old tutor at New College, at Tingwick, Buckinghamshire, or
Henry Robinson, Bishop of Carlisle, died 1616, one time provost of Queen's
College, who has a brass not only in the college chapel but a very similar
one in Carlisle Cathedral, the Longe and Button share design and lettering
characteristics but were not aimed at an audience of dons. Perhaps Dove,
Longe and Button were patients of Haydocke.

Copyright: Jon Bayliss

1 Vol 27, 180-1

2 H J F Swayne, Churchwardens' Accounts of St Edmund & St Thomas, Sarum 1443—1703 (1896)

3 Peter Sherlock, Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England (2008), 215-224


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