Englefield History

Monuments in the Church

 

The church contains a good number of monuments, both ledger stones and wall tablets but none, other than a few brass plates commemorating deceased Rectors, have been added since the one to Richard Benyon de Beauvoir erected by his successor at the time of the rebuilding in 1855-7.  The great majority of monuments are to members of the Englefield and Benyon families but there are a few to other people, including some that have little or no apparent connection with the village.

 

Those still extant are described on other pages but Ashmole described a good number of gravestones on the floor in various parts of the church that  are no longer to be seen, either removed or covered by the seating installed in the 1850s. Ashmole lists the following:

 

  • In the centre of the chancel, a blue marble slab with epitaph to Martha, wife of Gilbert Wimberly, who died in 1645, a gravestone near the south side for John Howesman, Rector until his death in 1588, and another near the entrance to the chapel for Mary Walton who died in 1636.
  • In the nave, near the entrance to the chancel, a black marble stone engraved for Grace, the wife of Humphrey Drake, who died in 1658
  • In the aisle, near the entrance to the church, a grave stone with a brass plate on it showing a man in a gown and an inscription to Philip Englefield, Lord of the Manor, who died in 1439.
  • Also in the aisle a marble gravestone, again with a brass plate showing a man in a gown with a pouch by his side and his hands clasped in prayer, with inscription to John Englefield, son and heir of Robert Englefield, who died in 1464.
  • Near the east end of the aisle, a grave stone carrying a brass plate with the figure of a woman and part of an inscription to the wife of Edward Paytowe and the date 1530.
  • On another grave stone in the aisle a brass plate showing a lady kneeling with four daughters and an inscription to Susan, wife of Henry Burdet and daughter of Thomas Englefield, who died in 1569.

 

The only such memorials that exist today are the four at the east end of the aisle for John Paulet, Honora de Burgh and two of their children and the one for Catherine Powel in the knave just in front of he door to the choir vestry.

 

Richard Fellowes Benyon has a prominent grave in the churchyard just outside the east end of the chancel but the man who was responsible for the erection of the fine monument to his uncle just behind the pulpit has no such honour within the church. He was a notable philanthropist and in addition to the provision of a new village school, a bathing pool for the boys and the Workmen’s Club he was responsible for many acts of kindness to the estate tenants including the distribution of food and, in the days long before the NHS, the provision of a village nurse. Miss Winchcomb also remembered that when her mother (widow of James Winchcomb who died in the measles epidemic) needed to make visits as an out-patient to the Royal Berkshire hospital Richard Benyon drove her there himself in a dog cart.

 

As he was also responsible for the rebuilding of St Mark’s church (and those at Ufton and Mortimer, all at his own expense), perhaps for his epitaph we may borrow that of Sir Christopher Wren in St Paul’s Cathedral: si monumentum requiris, circumspice (if you seek his memorial, look around you).

© 2019 Richard J Smith

Englefield History
Englefield History
Englefield History
Englefield History