Monumental Brass Society

John Draycote

Date of Brass:
Abbots Bromley
London sub-B



May 2022

John Draycote, who died in 1463, may have been a younger son of the Draycotes of Painsley, Draycott-in-the-Moors, Staffordshire, but is difficult to locate in the accessible records of the period. His brass in the church of St Nicholas, Abbots Bromley, is set in an alabaster slab above a three-line inscription. It asks for prayers for his soul, calls him a burgess of Abbots Bromley, mentions his wife Joan and asks God to have mercy on their souls. It was apparently once on the chancel floor but is now on the wall of the north aisle. It is most unlikely that it was originally set in alabaster, although there are very occasional medieval examples. Medieval brasses are uncommon in Staffordshire, where proximity to the alabastermen of Burton upon Trent meant that most monuments were made locally.

Abbots Bromley was made a borough in 1222. It was licensed by Henry III, and the abbot of Burton upon Trent made a gift of the liberties of Lichfield to the new borough. Abbots Bromley became important industrially in the remainder of the Middle Ages, particularly in becoming the main centre for glass making. Many of the glass houses where the glass was made were on land owned by the Bagots of neighbouring Blithfield. In 1472 Roger Draycote esq quitclaimed all his land in Blithfield to John Bagot and his wife Agnes.

The inscription on the brass has been read as:

Orate pro anima Johannis Draycote quondam Burgens' de Bromley

Abbatis qui obiit 29 die maii Anno domini. MCCCCLXIII cum Johanna uxore ejus

quorum animabus propitietur Deus. Amen

which translates as:

Pray for the souls of John Draycote formerly burgess of

Abbots Bromley who died the 29th day of May A.D. 1463, with

Joan his wife, on whose souls God have mercy. Amen

Robin Emmerson identified the brass as belonging to the London sub-B style. This means it was laid down a few years after Draycote’s death, as the London B style lasted until the second half of the 1460s. Its sub-B continuation lasted until the mid 1470s, when new leadership produced the London F style, resulting in some of the most attractive brasses of the century.

John Draycote illustrates the problems of researching the individuals commemorated by brasses even when their name and date of death survives. The figure and inscription were seen and sketched by Stebbing Shaw, the historian of Staffordshire but his early death meant that the second volume of his history was never completed. No doubt evidence of John Draycote survives in as yet unindexed documents.

Copyright: Jon Bayliss


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