- Date of Brass:
- St Nicholas-at-Wade
- London G (Lytkott)
February's brass of the month is from St Nicholas-at-Wade in Kent.
This brass lies in the north chapel of the church of St Nicholas at St Nicholas-at-Wade, on the Isle of Thanet in Kent. What immediately strikes one is the very odd placing of the main figures above the inscription. The first clue as to the reason for this is to be found in the inscription which reads:
Here lyeth buried ye Bodyes of Valontyne Edvarod Gentylman who had too
wifes Agnes and Joane by Agnes he had iiii sonnes & too daughters and also
by Joane his second wyfe iii sonnes & vi Daughters which Valontyne decessed
the xxv daye of February in the yere of our lorde God MCCCCC lix: after whose
desese the sayde Joane maryede wth Thomas Parramore and by him hade a
sonne and a Daughter; and the sayde Joane Decessed the fyfthe day of Aprill in
the yere of or Lorde God MCCCCC lxxiiii, whose soules God hathe take to his mercy
So we have one husband, who died in 1559, who had two wives, and one wife, who died in 1574, who had two husbands. The second clue is on the slab where a small indent is to be seen between the heads of the figure of the woman and man on the right-hand side. And this indent matches the head of the woman to its left. The implication is clear. The wife on the right must be Valontyne’s second wife Joane whose figure has been shunted to the left to make room for her second husband, Thomas Parramore. This was not altogether successful as Thomas looks as though he might topple off the edge, and he appears to be contemplating the abyss as he looks away from his wife. The relative disposition of the figures has the overall effect of isolating Agnes, on the left, with Joane now flanked by her two husbands. Thomas shuns his wife because a stock figure of a married civilian has been used and he would normally be on the dexter, and looking towards his wife at sinister. The very similar figures of Peter Godfrye and his wife Jone at Lydd, Kent demonstrate this relationship well.
We therefore have a palimpsest brass by adaptation. This was confirmed when the late Dr Keith Cameron lifted the brasses in 1965. His photograph shows the original indent for Valontyne Edvarod and his two wives and the new indents for Joane and Thomas. We therefore have Edvarod’s brass of 1559 adapted in 1574 by Parramore when his wife died. He added his own figure and a new, longer, inscription. The size of the original inscription can also be seen in the photograph. Thomas, however, did not add the two children he had had with Joane.
The brass was found to be doubly palimpsest with the discovery of engraving on the reverse of the figure of Valontyne, hardly surprising as it comprises three parts joined together, each with a different patination. All three parts come from the same brass to a man in armour of c.1395. Both groups of children are palimpsest and they are conjoining pieces of a kneeling civilian with a pouch and rosary hanging from his belt. This can be dated to c. 1500. All the palimpsest work on the reverse is English, so this is probably Dissolution spoil.
© Les Smith
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