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Abbots Langley - St Lawrence

Dame Anne Raymond (1714)

Note the three grandchildren in cradles.

 2nd Lord Raymond (1756),
by P Scheenmakers

1st Lord Raymond (1732)
, designed by Westby Gill; executed by by Cheere

A. G. Armstrong
by T. Armstrong
Anstey - St George

The canopy above the recess is c. 1300; note the woman's head below the arch. Thr effigy which does not belong is said to be that of Sir Richard de Anestie.
Ardeley - St Lawrence
Top left: Sir Henry Chauncy (1719) Sergeant-at-Law & Recorder of Hertford. Author of The Historical Antiquities of Herfordshire (1700) Buried in the chancel. Monument erected 1913
All others: Note the baby lying on the ledge below the main figure. Attributed to Edward Stanton. 'Neare this place lyes interred ye body of Mary Markham wife of Robert Markham of Greys-In Esq. Daughter  of William Peerson of Yardley &amp Frances his wife, who had issue one sonn deceased, she dyed in the foure and twentieth yeare of her age Febr 19th 1673'
 St Mary Magdelene
Thomas Talbot Gorsuch (1820) (left and centre) & James Andrews (1796) (right and centre). Epitaphs by P Chenu. Friends who each left interest on £300 to the poor. Hon Sir John Jennings (1743) by J M Rysbrack. (signed) Rear Admiral, Governor of the Royal Hospital, Ranger of the Park at Greenwich, MP etc. 'George Jennings Esq, his only son by Alice daughter of Francis Bacon Esq of Wallington,hath caused this monument to be erected...' Rt Hon Lady Susan Clinton (1829), wife of Lt Gen Sir Henry Clinton.
Benington - St Peter
John de Benstede John de Benstede & Edward de Benstede Joan (Joanne) Benstede

Edward de Benstede (1432)
Joan can just be seen behind
John de Benestede (1359) & Petronilla Moyne (1378)
Flamstead - Saint Leonard
Church open
Park in road outside
O/S Ref: TL 079 146
Double tomb with stone effigies. Note the gablet. c. 1420 .
Far left: A bird's eye view of the double medieval tomb showing positions of the hands and structure of gablet
Left: S
ir Batholomew Fouke (1604) Alabaster and marble
Sir Edward Sebright by Flaxman (1782) Hope and Faith recline by urn
The Saunders Children.  Black and white monument erected c. 1690. Five deceased children kneel on the ledge while the sixth surviving child kneels on the floor. By William Stanton
The higher inscription is in Latin and gives the names of the children but not the dates, viz. Thomas, Robert, Helena, Helen and John; the surviving child was Anne. They were the children of Thomas and Helen Saunders. Two putti support the ledge and a winged cherub holds a draped black 'cloth' with an inscription in English.
Unfortunately the church was undergoing restoration when I visited so I was not able to gain access to the brasses nor take the photograph of the Saunders Children monument from a better angle

Kings Langley - All Saints
Church is open and you can park in the road outside; there are a few dedicated church parking spaces too. We found the church difficult to find but then we entered the village from the 'wrong' direction: set Church Lane (of course!) on your satnav. O/S Ref: TL 074 025

Edmund of Langley, First Duke of York (1402)  He was born (1341) and died in Langley Palace and was originally buried in the priory church with his wife Isabella of Castile. Alabaster on a plinth of Purbeck marble. The tomb was moved to the parish church in 1574, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries. There are now thirteen shields but there were originally another seven on the opposite long side, now lost.

The arms are - from our left to our right:
1. Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and father of Anne of Bohemia, Queen of Richard II.
2. Edward, The Black Prince, first son of Edward III
3. Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, third - but second surviving son - of Edward III
4. Edmund of Langley quartered with his first wife, Isabella of Castile, daughter of Pedro 'The Cruel' king of Castile and Leon. Her elder sister married John of Gaunt.
5. Edmund of Langley, Duke of York,  fifth - but fourth surviving son, of Edward III
6. Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester , eighth - but fifth surviving son of Edward III.
7. Henry of Bolingbroke, Duke of  Hereford, son of John of Gaunt, fourth - but third surviving son of Edward. He became king as Henry IV.
On the (our) left side are the arms of Edmund the Martyr, King of East Anglia; King Edward the Confessor; and King Richard II.
On the (our) right side are the arms of Thomas of Holland, Earl of Kent, stepson of the Black Prince; his brother, John of Holland, Duke of Exeter; and Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel.

The Rise of the Roses or So Many Children No One Knew What To Do

The trouble was that King Edward III had too many children. It wasn't just that, of course: there was also the tendency for heirs to predecease their fathers and for boy kings to succeed to the throne. Salic Law did not apply in England  but primogeniture certainly did, although it seems no one knew quite how to interpret it. The lawyers should have had a field day but the rulers of England were martial men  and had a number of other sorts of field days.

Edward's heir - Edward, the Black Prince - predeceased his father and the crown passed to his son, Richard II, a boy of ten. Boys of ten surely do not make able monarchs and this proved to be the case with Richard. Richard also did not produce an heir although the did designate one - and this is where we start to get complicated.

Edward III's second surviving son (there was a boy in between, who did not survive infancy) was Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence who again predeceased his father. He did however produce an heir but this was a daughter called Philippa, who married Edmund Mortimer, Third Earl of March, a member of a powerful dynasty. They had a son Roger Mortimer, Fourth Earl of March, and this was the person whom Richard II designated his heir. Unfortunately Roger predeceased Richard but did father four children, two of whom Edmund Mortimer, Fifth Earl of March and Anne Mortimer, the latter, who died at twenty, made a marriage which was to bring a disaster to England. We'll come to that later.

The third surviving son, John of Gaunt, First Duke of Lancaster, thrice married and father of many children, including a quartet of illegitimate ones (the Beauforts, later legitimized but they and their descendents were excluded from the throne), many of whom played a part in what was to follow. And, to be complete, an illegitimate daughter, who didn't. Here, for now, we are interested in just one son - Henry of Bolingbroke. Richard II, becoming increasingly vindictive and even paranoid, exiled Bolingbroke and to rub salt into the wounds confiscated John of Gaunt's estate on the latter's death, so disinheriting Bolingbroke. Bolingbroke then invaded England initially announcing this was to claim his Lancastrian inheritance but then to claim the throne: Richard was forced to abdicate and died, probably murdered, shortly afterwards. Bolingbroke became king as Henry IV, the first of the Lancastrian kings; his reign was not a happy one being plagued with rebellions but his son succeeded to the throne as Henry V. Although Henry IV had taken the throne by force, it could be said that he was the legitimate heir, although others thought differently.

Now we come to the man whose tomb we see here - Edmund of Langley, First Duke of York - the fourth surviving son of Edward III. He had a daughter and two sons: Richard of Conisburgh, Third Earl of Cambridge and the elder Edward of Norwich, Second Duke of York,  both of whom we'll come to shortly.

The next, fifth and last surviving son (there were two children who died in infancy after Edmund of Langley) was Thomas of Woodstock, First Duke of Gloucester. He can be quickly dealt with: his nephew Richard II had him murdered at Calais.

Now we come to the marriage which brought disaster we have alluded to above: Richard, Earl of Cambridge married Anne Mortimer and they had a son another Richard.

Henry V decided to invade France continuing the Hundred Years' War, which seemed to have gone quiet, but before he left he had to deal with the Southampton Plot: this was an attempt by Richard, Earl of Cambridge and others to replace Henry as king by Edmund Mortimer, Fifth Earl of March , who was Richard's brother-in-law, both of whom we have alluded to above. However it seems that Edmund Mortimer didn't want to be king at all - or perhaps he got cold feet - and he revealed the plot to King Henry. The Earl of Cambridge and the other plotters were executed for treason. Edward, Second Duke of York appeared to have nothing to do with his brother's plot and he sailed to France with King Henry only to be killed at Agincourt. This Duke of York had no children and his title passed to his executed brother's son, Richard, Third Duke of York.

And then it happened again: Henry V died young and was succeeded  by his son Henry VI . This latter Henry thus became king not only of England but shortly afterwards, on the death of the French King (Charles VI), king of France as well, or at least a good bit of it. This was because of his father's French conquests, helped by the concurrent civil war in France and according to the Treaty of Troyes.  Unfortunately Henry VI was six months old and if children do not make able monarchs, babies certainly do not and Henry was about to prove it in due course.

After several years of ineffective rule during which the English holdings in France were lost, Richard, Third Duke of York, alluded to above, made a bid for the English throne, the French ones having by now been lost. His claim was that he was descended from Edward III's second surviving son, albeit twice through female descent and a generation more than that of Henry VI who was descended from the third surviving son and though all male lineage. However Richard was also descended from the fourth surviving son entirely through male descent and one generation less than Henry VI. Who had the better claim: I've no idea and it seems neither did they - so they decided to fight it out. Henry VI - neither a effective king nor soldier - was championed by his wife Margaret of Anjou and the so-called War of the Roses began.

Richard, Duke of York failed in his bit for the throne as he was executed after the Battle of Wakefield. However he had a son, Edward who became king as Edward IV and who died young leaving a young boy as heir....

Sir Ralph Verney (1528) & Eleanor (de la Pole). Note the chains, clasps and necklaces and the lady's effigy and the heraldry carved in relief.
Mary Elizabeth Crawford (1793); signed: Bonomi (inv.) & Westmacott (sculp.) John Carter (1588) and his two unnamed wives and children. By the first he has four sons and five daughters and by the second five sons and four daughters. Brasses to two unamed ladies: 1528 and 1578, the latter a palimpsest.

Great Hormead StNicholas
Betty Romer (1916)
Radwell - All Saints
Mary Plomer (1605) Monument and details: note the skull and hour glass.
Sir William Plomer (c. 1625) This monument - together with the brass of William Wheteaker - were stolen in 2000 but recovered the following year. John Parker (1595) Member of the Inner Temple. Also his wife Mary (1574) and un-named son kneel with him. This son may be John, husband of Elizabeth Parker on a brass here, who died in 1602.
St Alban's Cathedral
St Alban's is a Cathedral of the Modern Foundation. Before the Reformation it was a Benedictine Abbey (and is often referred to as St Alban's Abbey), then a parish church; it was given cathedral status in 1878. No entrance fee: no photograpy fee. Park in one of the pay car parks in the City - good multi-storey nearby.

Chantry Chapels & Shrines       
Above then left to right:
Chapel of Abbot Wallingford (1484)
Chapel of Abbot Ramryge (1519)
Shrine of St Alban c. 1302-08. Destroyed at Dissolution; its 2,000 found 1872 and reconstructed. Purbeck
Shrine of St Amphibalus Clunch mid 14th century; only base remains. Reconstructed 19th century.
Medieval Tombs

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1447)
Above is a close up showing the iron grill and the entrance to the vault (grill on floor on right); then two photographs of the whole tomb with St Alban's shrine in the way; and then a view from the ambulatory.

The iron grill dates from the late 13th century. Below the floor level is a tomb chamber with the Duke's coffin; it has a wall painting of the Crucifixtion.

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390-1447) was the youngest, and longest lived, brother of King Henry V, being the fourth son of Henry IV and Mary de Bohun. He was scholarly, cultured and a patron of the arts and learning. Unlike his brothers he was not naturally courageous but gained a reputation as a successful commander during his elder brother's war in France, where his knowledge of siege warfare, gained from a classical education contributed to the fall of Honfleur. He was also an effective diplomat and politician, as well as being popular with the Londoners and commoners.
On the premature death of his brother, Henry V, he claimed the regency of England but this claim was opposed by the council, especially by his uncle, Cardinal Henry Beauford, Bishop of Winchester; Gloucester therefore was only awarded the position of protector. A will discovered as late as 1978 in fact supported Duke Humphrey's claim.
He fist married a noted beauty, Jacqueline of Hainault, in 1423 but this marriage was annulled in 1428. He then married his mistress, Eleanor Cobham, in 1441; she was arrested for sorcery and heresy which led the Gloucester's retirement from public office. He was arrested on charges of treason in 1447 but died three days later, probably from natural causes although there were suspicions of murder at the time.

Tomb Chests & Niches

Apart from the chantries, shrines and Duke Humphrey's tomb St Alban's is not rich in medieval monuments; apart from the examples above there are only the following, from left to right:

1. Altar tomb with slab of Frosterely marble. On sides, indents of 3 figures, inscription and 3 shields (RCHM) No identification and used as occasional table
2. Is this the 'rough altar tomb with plain slab' (RCHM)? I expect it wasn't hidden by the radiator in 1910!
3. Two stone coffins. Note: These coffins would not have been carried, of course, but set flush into the ground and the shrouded body lowered into them; this is recorded when the contemporary chroniclers tell the gruesome tale of William the Conqueror's funeral at Caen. The coffin would then have been covered by a stone slab with various carvings in relief or incised, such as that of a cross, sword, shears, shield, helmet, lettering, effigy and other devices.
4. A tomb niche with an another unrelated stone coffin. Late 13th century. Said to be the grave of two hermits

However there is a remarkable collection of brass and brass matrices, some on the floor, often wisely covered by carpets (removable, of course) while others, often fragmentary, have been excellently mounted on the wall.

Medieval Brasses & Matrices

R. Beaver (c.1460)
Monk holding heart
  Sir Anthony Grey (1480)  

Medieval Effigial Brasses (& some later plates) now Wall Mounted

Unknown monks c.1440

Thomas Rutland (1521)
Ob: Abbot William Albon (1476)
Rev:unknown lady
Male Civilians 1465-70
Batholomew & Florence Halley
William & Margaret Stroder 1517
Mawde Harryes 1537
Anges Selton 1604

Post-Medieval Monuments - Tomb Chests

Alfred Blomfield DD (1894) Bishop of Colchester and first Suffragen Bishop of St Albans.
Above & right: Bishop T. Legh Claughton (1895).
First Bishop of St Alban's
Alabaster tomb chest with marble effigy.
Designed by
Oldrid Scott; figure by Forsyth.

Wall Monuments

John Thrale (1704) Christopher Rawlinson (1733)
by  William Woodman.
 Figure is of History
Frederica Mure (1832)
Ptolemy James (1729) &
Charles James (1695)
John Gape (1701)  Robert (1689) &
Mary (1685) Nicholl 
Barbara Griffith (1773) ; added below:
Barbara onley daughter of the said Mrs Griffith dyed...1679 and lyes here likewise buried
χopher (1682@19m), Benjª (1690@6m), John (1696@27), Mary (1696@70) Chamberlaine. Relationships are incomprehensible. William King (1766) Charles (1665) and his sister Mary (1663) Maynard. And their father Charles (1665); he was buried at Euston Lt Col Fanshaw William Gostling (1874)
'a right good soldier'
Jane Nicholas (1708)
The monument records that in her will she left a legacy for the poor of the parish and to the parson to preach an annual sermon

Above, top left then clockwise:
William (1805) & Mary (1811) Coleman; Zipporah Sierra (1803), her mother and 'many relatives'; John Jones Wallus (1686) Latin script; Mary Ann Coleman (1808), daughter of above; illegible brass.
Right top row left to right: 1. Mary Tippet (1815) 'in the family vault of Henry Pye Rich are deposited the remains of...' 2. John (1836) & Lucretia (1836) Ried. 3. Edward (1850) & Hannah (1861) Eling. 4. John Handley (1742) surgeon & wife Elizabeth (1781): their children: John, Elizabeth & James. 5.  Rev John Payler Nicholson (1817) Headmaster of Free Grammar School, St Albans; & wife Hannah (1844)
Right bottom row left to right: 1. Henry Pye Rich (1809) 'late of of His Majesty's commissioners under the 6th article of the treaty of peace between GB and USA' 2. Edward Carter (1687) Prebendary of St Paul's London 3. Joseph Handly MD JP (1728) Many years mayor.


Rt Rev Michael Furze (1945)
Fourth Bishop of St Albans
Rt Rev John Wogan Festing (1902)
Second Bishop of St Albans
Very Rev Walter John Lawrence DD (1914)
First Dean of the Cathedral
Edmund Becket, 1st Lord Grimthorpe (1905)
Q.C. horologist and architect
Lord Grimthorpe was responsible for the rebuilding the west front, roof and transept windows of the cathedral; he work was considered out of keeping. His name has passed into the English language as the verb to grimthorpe, meaning to restore an ancient building unsympathetically.

Standon - St Mary

Sir Ralph Sadler (1587)
He began his career in the household of Thomas Cromwell. Sent by Henry VIII on several diplomatic missions to Scotland, including that to arrange the proposed marriage between Prince Edward and Mary, Queen of Scots. Before King Henry died he appointed Sadler to sit on the Council of State to govern England during the minority of Edward VI. He retired from public duty during the reign of Queen Mary but returned when Elizabeth succeeded to the throne, as the trusted colleague of Lord Burghley. He continued his missions to Scotland to treat with the Scottish Protestants. He became Mary, Queen of Scots reluctant jailer. He arrested the Duke of Norfolk during the rising of the northern earls and sat on the council that sentenced Mary to death.
Sadler married Margaret Mitchell or Barré. According to Catholic writers she was a laundress, and he had married her during the lifetime of her husband, Ralph Barré; however when this marriage took place the latter had gone abroad and was presumed dead, so this accusation seems to have been substantially correct. In 1546 a private act of parliament was passed to legitimize his children. No wife is shown on the tomb.

Sir Thomas (1606) Sadler and Gertrude Markham This Sir Thomas was the son of the above/

Walter, Lord Aston (1748)
He married Mary Howard (1723) sister to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. She died giving birth to her 121th child.

Watton-at-Stone - St Andrew & St Mary  
Philip (1712 age 30) & Elizabeth (1740) Boteler Sir Thomas Rumbold (1791) by Bacon
'Philip Boteler Esq only son and heir of Sir John Boteler knight by Dame Elizabeth his wife who was one of ye daughters and coheires of Sir Nicholas Gould of Dorset, who lyes interred near this place.
'This Philip had 1 sister Elizabeth whose fortune he agumented very considerably upon her marriage with Grey Neville Esq.
'He marryed Elizabeth Crane Ettricke 1 of ye 2 daughters and coheires of William Ettricke Esq but leaveing no issue, he (out of due regard to yer continuation of his name and family, which is of great antiquity in this county, by his will entayled ye antient seate and park called Woodhall...upon his cousin John Boteler Esq son of his great uncle who is now the last branch...in the male line.
'This monument was erected by his said cousin John Boteler Esq in honour of his benifactor.
'Here lies Elizabeth Neville, widow....In hopes of joyfull resurrection: what manner of person she was that day will discover'.
Willian - All Saints

Above: Thomas Wilson (1656) & Lucy Above: Rev John Chapman (1624) & Anne (1633) 'He was a monument before he dyde' 'A double surgeon she oft restored to health the pined wretch, as oft the poore to wealth' Above & right: Edward Lacon (1625) & Joanna (née Gray) (1624) 2nd wife of Edward Wilson
With many thanks to Jean McCreanor and aslo to Dr D & Mrs J Kelsall for many of the photographs on this page. Others taken by the Webmaster
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