William Lack, BOOK REVIEW William Lack, H Martin Stuchfield and Philip Whittemore. The Monumental Brasses of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. (The County Series, c/o Lowe Hill House, Stratford St Mary, Suffolk CO7 6JX. £30.00. 2007. ISBN 978 0 9554484 0 9). xxii, 502 pages; illus; refs; names indexes [Hampshire, pp. 404-32; Isle of Wight, pp. 495-502]; stiff paper covers.


This, the 14th volume in this fine series, has doubled in size from that anticipated in 2006, when the original prospectus was issued. With 399 illustrations (Hampshire 364; I of W 35), the two years taken to undertake the fieldwork for the volume has not been easy. It would not have been possible without the additional help of some 15 MBS members, including the indomitable duo of Peter Hacker and Patrick Farman, and Jane Houghton and Janet Whitham produced most of the rubbings for illustration. Some 225 locations are recorded for Hampshire (with 3 further parishes having no brasses, and 112 churches not searched (see p. 401); The I of W records 66 churches and one Museum (Ryde), plus one church searched, but nothing found. Churches with the longest entries include, in Hampshire, Petersfield (215, but many on chairs 1999- 2006); Bournemouth or Charminster, St Francis of Assisi (152, mostly on chairs c. 1930-2004); Winchester College Chapel (108 plus 39 indents/lost); Royal Garrison Church, Portsmouth (88 inscriptions 1833- 1993); Christchurch Priory (59 plus 22 indents/lost) and Winchester Cathedral (55 plus 29 indents/lost). On the I of W only Bonchurch has any number (59, all Victorian or later).

Users of this volume should, as with previous ones, read the excellent Introduction (pp. v—xiv), which often adds ‘meat to the bones’ of brasses in the main list, especially biographical information. It also notes that, unlike many counties, Hampshire has no complete antiquarian county history, though the VCH for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight was published in 5 volumes between 1900 and 1912 (reprints available from Boydell & Brewer), but at that time brasses received scant attention. In 2007, however, a group of organisations were brought together to look at the feasibility of a revision of these volumes. In contrast, Winchester Cathedral is well covered separately in many books. The brasses themselves are only covered in any detail for Hampshire by C.J.P. Cave in vols. V and VI (1908-13) of the MBS Transactions, and for the I of W less fully by R W M Lewis in the earlier CUABC Transactions, II, i (1893), pp. 2-6.

Hampshire has a number of important indents, notably at Beaulieu Abbey, Christchurch Priory (22 recorded, 10 illus) and especially Winchester Cathedral (29, 9 illus); many brasses were also lost from Winchester College (12 indents; 29 lost), including 9 recorded in Mill Stephenson which ‘mysteriously disappeared during the restoration of the chapel in 1875’, and were replaced with facsimiles in 1882 at the cost of a local solicitor. Illustrations, before and after facsimiles were made, appear on pp. 352-57 & 359. Many of the older lost brasses in Hampshire were recorded by William Pavey in 1702-06 (BL Stowe MS 845) and in the F. J. Baigent (d. 1918) Collections also in the British Library. On the I of W there are a few interesting indents at Freshwater, All Saints (especially) and Godshill.  

Many of Hampshire’s figure brasses are from London workshops, mostly D, F and G, with only 9 from London B and one from London A (Ringwood I); curiously there is a single example from the Norwich I workshop of 1450 at Winchester College [XLIX, formerly M.S.V], now lost and replaced with a facsimile (see illus. of both p. 355). There are also some good examples in the Johnson style and one attributed to Francis Grig[g]s (Crondall III). The I of W has one surviving, and often illustrated, London A brass at Freshwater, All SS I, c. 1365 (plus 2 indents) and has two London B figures at Arreton I, c. 1430 and Calbourne I, c. 1380. As well as illustrating all the earlier brasses, this volume, more than some previous ones, illustrates for the first time many previously unillustrated and unrecorded inscriptions both of 17/18th century date and later, e.g. Hinton Ampner and Nately Scures, (l7th century) and Chawton X & XI, 1896 and Pamber III, 1942, Hampshire. Also illustrated are a number of good Victorian figure and cross brasses. A great number of other entries (mainly inscriptions) relate to military and, not unexpectedly, naval personnel from the late 17th century to the Falklands War. Others commemorate men (and/or their families) serving with the East India Company, (e.g. N. Waltham, II, 1865), or who died as civil servants (sometimes together with their spouses and children) in India and elsewhere in the former British Empire.  

Hampshire: It is only possible in the space to give a broad selection of examples within certain categories. Of the older brasses, there are the well-known and often illustrated figures of two London B civilians, c. 1385, King’s Somborne I (illus. p. 275); the fine London A brass of John Prophete, Dean of Hereford, under much mutilated canopy and lost shields, 1416, Ringwood I, repaired by William Lack in 2006, (illus. p. 253, and earlier reproduction p. 255); the small civilian figures of husband and wife arm in arm, c. 1490, Brown Candover I (illus. p. 77); the unusual rectangular plate with kneeling figures of man in armour and wife, the background ‘powdered with firebeacons with scrolls’, formerly Netley Abbey, c. 1500 (now in possession of Surrey Archaeological Society, Guildford; illus. p. 205); South Wanborough I has the bareheaded figure of Robert White (d. 1512, but brass engraved c. 1490), kneeling on one knee, his sword and gauntlets on the ground nearby, and pilcrow with finger pointing to a scroll (illus. p. 319); and finally the fine series of ecclesiastical brasses at Winchester College Chapel and several at Winchester St Cross. Other interesting series include, Sherborne St John, five brasses to the Brocas family, c. 1385-c. 1535, including two good London C half-effigies of a brother and sister, with French inscription, c. 1385; Odiham I, II, VIII (palimpsest) and IX (chrysom, 1636). Many of the brasses here were loose in the church chest until 1867, when the vicar fixed them to the wall:
‘as I found that a few archaeological gentlemen has offered our sexton money for them which he refused’.  

Stoke Charity I is a good London F brass to Thomas Wayte, in armour, 1482, with, unusually, the figure of Our Lord in Piety above (illus. p. 287); LSW II, 1483, also has a surviving and elaborate Holy Trinity above the figures. Nether Wallop I has the only surviving brass of a prioress, 1436, in the county; whilst Fordingbridge has a rectangular brass of 1568 to the Bulkeley family, which has other almost identical designs to the same family in other counties, e.g. LSW VII, Cople, Beds, 1556. Kingsclere IV, is an inscription with 31 Latin verses and lost shields, engraved c. 1580 (illus. p. 180) and 36, a now lost inscription to Thomas Pearce, 1671, illustrated from a dabbing in the Society of Antiquaries (illus. p. 181). Whilst at Sherfield-on-Loddon I is a Latin inscription (not previously illustrated) to Edmund Molyneux, 1589, ending unusually for this date, with ‘CVIVS ANIMAE PROPICIETVR DEVS’.

Indents/lost brasses have already been mentioned above, but other lesser known examples of interest can be found at Romsey Abbey 58-60, including two of abbesses (illus. pp. 258-60); Nether Wallop 27, an abbot or bishop with crozier under single and super canopy, c. 1400 (illus. p. 313); Wickham 54, 10 lost slabs with brasses, one with cross, recorded by Pavey (1705); Micheldever 8, lady, canopy and marginal inscription, 1355 (no known illus.). Indents at Hambledon (25 & 26) are now in the churchyard, one of a priest, whilst a lost London D figure of a knight from Hordle (old church, now demolished) is reproduced from an impression in the Society of Antiquaries (p. 165). An indent in the porch at Stratfield Saye, c. 1490, has two adult figures with what appears to be a large, rectangular inscription between them (illus. p. 293). A supposed indent recorded by C.J.P. Cave in 1908 at Harbridge is now identified as ‘a filled-in heating grill aperture’! One small piece of marginal inscription, c. 1425-50, was found on a medieval hospital site in Winchester by a Channel 4 TV ‘Time Team’ excavation in 2001 (see p. 368 & 369).

Hampshire especially has a good selection of Victorian and modern figure and cross brasses, as well as hundred of inscriptions. Amongst these Busledon VII, 1903 (signed by Hardman) is a full-length figure of Rev Canon L. Estridge, in vestments and holding a prayer book, having all the appearance of having been copied from a photograph (illus. p. 75); Winchester College XLIV, 1876, is a small half-effigy of schoolboy Martin White-Benson (eldest son of the later Archbishop of Canterbury E W Benson), who died ‘aged 17 years, 5 months and 21 days’ (illus. p. 349); another half-effigy (possibly by Hardman) of Rev A Wodehouse, 1882, is seen at Easton IV (illus. p. 119); at Ryde, St Mary (R.C), I of W is a small rectangular brass with kneeling figure under triple canopy, 1861 also by Hardman (illus. p. 469). Messrs Waller made the fine cross brass of unusual design to J.A. Brandon, architect, 1847 possuit, Southampton or Portswood, Christ Church I (illus. p. 279); in the same church is another Waller brass to Harriet Louise Crabbe (d. 1848, but engr. 1878), with figure on bracket, 4 enamelled shields and marginal inscription (illus. p. 281). The Wallers also have cross brasses at Hartley Westpall, 1852, (illus. p. 145); Heckfield 1847 (illus. p. 157) and Hursley 1866, designed by architect William Butterfield (illus. p. 169). Messrs Gawthorp have 8 inscriptions, all signed, to members of the Bigg—Wither family, 1895—1929. An unusual 20th century figure brass, with figure in military uniform, feet on lion, under a canopy (Farnborough, St Mark XI, 1915) to Col. G.C. Shakerley, was designed by John Byrom Shaw (illus. p. 131).

Amongst interesting inscriptions to better known people are those to Anne, first wife of architect A W N Pugin, d. 1832, but engraved by Hardman 1850 (Christchurch Priory V , illus. p. 85); to novelist Jane Austen, d. 1817, but engr. 1872, (Winchester Cathedral VI and Steventon II (engr. 1936); to Sir Donald C Bailey, d. 1985, designer of the World War II ‘Bailey bridge’ (Christchurch Priory L) and film actor Boris Karloff, d. 1989 (Bramshott XVII).  

Finally all life and death is, as ever, reflected on the many inscriptions. From those who died in the service of their country in numerous wars or military expeditions, e.g. C H Tindall, MC, ‘died of shellshock contracted in the war’, 1926 (Eversley XVII); Private William Vokes, ‘taken prisoner April 1916 by the Turks and died at their hands’, aged 28 (Itchen Stoke III); to 233 men lost aboard HMS Fiji during the battle for Crete in 1941 (but engr. c. 1991) (Portsmouth Cathedral LIII); and 5 private soldiers of the Worcestershire Regt. who died of injuries ‘received at an explosion of gas’ at Cambridge Barracks, 1887 (p. 19). Many more are recorded throughout both Hampshire and the I of W, from the time of Nelson and in countless other military campaigns and wars since.

Amongst civilians, we read that Rev J C Hakins, vicar of Elsdon, died in 1894 ‘after baptising a child suffering from diphtheria’ (Alverstoke XVII, p. 14); F St Clair Grimwood, Deputy Commissioner of Assam, India, was murdered, aged 37 in 1891 (Winchester College LXIV); Harvey Collyer, verger and parish clerk of St Mary, Bishopstone, died on the SS Titanic in 1912; so too did five men from the parish of Eling; H F Rowlands, a missionary, died in an earthquake in the Punjab in 1905 (Bonchurch, I of W). On the positive side, Rev William Norris, curate (1817—27) and Rector (1827-78) of a Hampshire parish ‘born and died at the Rectory’, lived for nearly 98 years (Warblington V).  

As successive volumes in this series are published, it is a great credit to the tenacity and sheer hard work by the compilers and editors that they continue to appear. Not only are they a fine historical record of the brasses, but will also be of great interest to sociologists and especially genealogists, largely because of the very full name indexes which are a vital part of such volumes. There will be small errors and some omissions, but it is up to users and researchers to notify these to the editors.

Richard Busby
First published in Monumental Brass Society Bulletin, 107 (January 2008), pp. 134-7


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