Tuesday, October 28, 2014

St.Andrews Church - Boreham

 I had seen this tomb a few years back, and wanted to go again, so as the weather was warm we made the trip out, because it is just up the road.  I thought the animals  were dogs, but now on looking at them this was far from the truth, oxen and apes site at the feet and heads of the effigies.  St. Andrews church at Boreham is rather splendid, the first vicar recorded was in 1203, and there are Roman bricks used in building the church, though of course it is much restored.
Of course the statues were damaged in the Civil War by the Puritans, cannot you not imagine the locals stamping into the church, and knocking the noses off them, and then the heads of the oxen with crowns round their neck.  One almost feels that there is an element of satire going on with apes at the feet of the men, why did the apes keep their heads?
The church itself has a few faint wall paintings, all decorative......

"—of Robert Radclif, Earl of Sussex, Viscount Fitzwalter, Lord Egremont and Burnal, K.G., Great Chamberlain of England, etc., 15(4)2; and of his son, Henry Radclif, Earl, Viscount, etc., as above, K.G., Chief Justice and Justice Itinerant of all forests, parks, chases and warrens S. of the Trent, 1556/7, and of Thomas Radclif, Earl, etc. as above, K.G., Chief Justice of the forests, parks, etc., S. of the Trent, Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners and Gentlemen at Arms, etc., 1583; large altar-tomb of alabaster and black and coloured marble, each side of three panels with moulded frames and panelled pilasters; the middle panel on the E., N. and S. sides has a shield with a garter, but the former brass shields are gone; one panel on the N., S. and W. sides has an inscription; the slab has a moulded edge and bears on rush mattresses three recumbent effigies of the three Earls in enriched plate armour with peascod breast plates, swords broken, feet against couchant apes each wearing a hat; garter on left leg of each effigy, heads on cushions and behind them three couchant oxen, much mutilated, chained and collared with crowns; remains of fixing of metal chains round neck of each effigy, and traces of red colour on collar of N. effigy"

Three noble gentlemen with their noses hacked off, you can't take those Puritans anywhere!

These are three oxen at the head of the effigies, sadly they lost their heads to.

There is a certain panache about these oxen, you can see their cloven feet and tasselled tails.

All wear crowns round their necks

This is  one of the apes referred to, at the feet of the men, they kept their heads, or at least two seem to have been glued back on the third is missing.  Though it is not apparent on this photo, the monkeys wore fez hats..
The old archway with decorative panel with corresponding panel on the other side,
This is where the old abuts the new.  You can just see a buttress on the old part, mostly made of Roman brick. Also the coursing is of black pudding stone, stone had to be introduced to flint buildings to hold the flints in the mortar to the rubble wall at the back.  Essex is of course almost has no stone to speak of and flint was used quite a lot in East Anglia, sometimes knapped or just the whole flint.  Apparently 'clunch' is also used in this building (soft limestone rock).....
The detail is very fine, excellent craftmanship, even to the rush matting they lay on

Edit;  LS says why are the Earls of Sussex buried in Essex. There is a simple answer, Queen Elizabeth 1st gave the first earl Beaulieu Palace, now called NewHall, as his residence in his role as steward of the royal estates.


  1. Very beautiful and fascinating church Thelma. Sad about the desecration of many of the statues and tombs - but I suppose that as that is part of our history we have to accept it.

  2. Hi Pat, fascinating is it not? There are so many stories whirling around in the composition of the tomb, some of which I will add. The Puritans damaged to a certain extent, but why noses? In their contempt of the church, they often stabled their horses within the churches, must have been a very lively time during the Civil War.