Monumental Brass Society

Richard Folcard

Date of Brass:
London B


August 2021

The brass of Richard Folcard lies at the entrance to the south chancel of Pakefield church on the coast of Suffolk, just south of Lowestoft. He was the rector of the south part of the church which was a dual church: for hundreds of years it was divided in two, the southern half being dedicated to All Saints, the northern to St Margaret. The two halves were once separated by a wall and constituted two churches until united in the eighteenth-century. The church retains another brass, that to John Bowf and his wife Agnes. It is mounted on the north wall in a modern slab. The original slab can still be seen towards the eastern end of the north aisle, which would have been the nave of the north part of the church. There are a number of other slabs which once bore brasses. They include the full length figure of a priest as you pass into the church from the north porch and an unusual one taking the form of a floriated cross head with an inscription beneath it in the north chancel. Most of the indents are of Purbeck marble. There is no sign of the original slab of Richard Folcard’s brass. It had been replaced by a Portland slab by the time that Davy described it in the first half of the nineteenth-century although the indent was still in existence then. Folcard is shown wearing academical costume as befits a former principal of an Oxford Hall and is a half effigy, with an inscription beneath and a scroll to the left of his head. Herbert Druitt, in his book Costume on Brasses, identified him as a Master of Arts.

Richard Folcard’s career is not well recorded. He was the principal of Haberdash Hall, as revealed by a list of the principals of Oxford Halls compiled on 9 September 1438. It was presumably he who was a commissioner sitting in the Court of Admiralty at Ipswich in 24 Henry VI (1445-6). There he wa described as a bachelor of law. Other than these few snippets, his date of institution at Pakefield in 1445 (Thomas Bardolph esquire and his wife Alice being the patrons) and his date of death, St Martin’s day in 1451, are known. The latter is attested by the inscription of his brass, He did leave a will. He made it on 9 November 1451 and it was proved nine d The vicar of nearby Kessingland was his executor. He left a considerable number of clerical vestments of different types to fellow clergy. A bequest to the poor of Blythburgh might indicate his birthplace but quite where he fits into the various Folcard families in Suffolk and Norfolk is is entirely unclear.

The inscription reads:

Hic iacet Magister Ricardus ffolcard quondam Rector mediatatis

istius ecclesie in parte australi qui obiit in die Sancti Martini in Jeme

Anno domini ccccli cuius anime propicietur deus Amen

It translates:

Here lies Master Richard Folcard sometime rector of the mediety

of the south part of this church who died on St Martin’s day in winter

in the year of Our Lord 1451 on whose soul may God have mercy Amen

Clarifying St Martin’s day as in winter distinguishes it from the feast of St Martin (4 July) and identifies it as 11 November.

The scroll reads:

Misericordias domini in eternum cantabo

It translates:

I shall sing evermore of the mercies of the Lord

The brass belongs to the London B series.


Copyright:Jon Bayliss

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