Englefield History

The Tomb of Sir Thomas Englefield


This tomb is of unpolished grey Purbeck marble and is probably somewhat earlier than the Englefield Chapel. The two sides exposed in the chancel are decorated with panelled compartments in each of which is a carved quatrefoil that formerly enclosed a shield though the shields have now gone. The back is completely plain and flat except for some oak screen work, suggesting that the tomb was erected in the lifetime of Sir Thomas against the then north wall of the chancel and when the Chapel was built later the screen work was added to ornament the plain back thus revealed. Ashmole says that this side was decorated with paintings of the arms of  Englefield and Danvers (his first wife) and Englefield and Fortescue (his second wife), though these had disappeared by early in the 18th century.


The canopy is supported on two pillars at the west end and by a flat slab at the east. On this slab matrices are cut for engraved brass plates (as can be seen in the photographs) but these plates were no longer there by the 1840s. Ashmole saw them in 1665 and described them as the kneeling figure of a knight in armour, over which is a surcoat of his arms (those of Englefield quartering Russal), with his five sons behind him. Opposite the knight had been an image of his wife, also kneeling with her daughters behind her, but Ashmole says this part was "torne away". From the mouths of the man and woman are scrolls bearing words. From the mouth of the man comes (in latin):


O good Jesus, thou know’st and can’st and willest good to our souls, we neither know nor can.


and from the woman (Also in latin):


Thou according to thy goodness ineffable with us dealest, according to what thou knowest is agreeable to thyself and to us profitable.


Beneath the figures was an inscription plate (in English), again only part of which remained when Ashmole visited:


Here lyes Sure Thomas Englefilde…

Margery his Wyffe, the whyche Sure…

The third Day of April the Yere of our...VC & XIIII on whos soulles Jhu have...


Above the figures was the arms of Englefield quartered with Russal and the crest of the Englefield family, a double-headed eagle "displayed and party per pale gules and azure" (with wings spread and divided vertically into two halves, the left one being coloured red and the right half blue.


Possibly the tearing away of parts of the brasses was the work of the Puritans but the fact that most of them remained in 1665 after the Restoration indicates some other culprit for the remainder of the desecration.


It is probable that as well as being the tomb of Sir Thomas this was also intended to do duty as an Easter sepulchre and for that reason the brass effigies were placed on the vertical slab and not on the top of the tomb itself.

Inside The Church

The plain back of the tomb with its wooden screenwork seen from the Englefield Chapel

© 2020 Richard J Smith

Englefield History
Englefield History
Englefield History
Englefield History