St. Mary's Church Monumental Brasses
Stained Glass Windows
The following article has been reproduced by kind permission
There are six monumental
brasses. The oldest (Fig.1) lies in the floor of the
sanctuary on the north side. It is a memorial to a
medieval priest of the church, Rudolph Perchehay, and
the inscription in Latin bids, 'Pray for the soul of
Rudolph Perchehay, sometime rector of this church'. The
figure measures 38cms. long and dates from c. 1380.
William Palin, who was rector 1834-1882,
describes the brass thus,'in Eucharistic vestments; viz., the
chasuble, alb and amice, with the fylfot cross on the
collar. The hair is rather long and flowing, the face
good and expressive of character.' The fylfot cross was
often used for decoration in the Middle Ages,
next (Fig.2) is to John Ardalle and Ann his wife, 1504. The figures are 46cms.
long and the inscription reads:
'Of youre charite pray for the soulle of John Ardalle
gentylman sutym lord of Stifford and Ann his wyfe which
John decesid the last day of May, the yere of oure lord
MCCCCCIIII, and for his fader soulle and his moder soulle and all crystyn soullys; on whose soullys ihu
(Jesus) have mercy, amen.'
The brass was moved in the 19th
century from the floor of the chantry to the South
Chapel beneath the lancet windows. John Ardalle is in
civil costume edged with fur and his ornamented waist
belt has a purse attached to it. His wife wears the
usual costume of the time with a long enriched
There are four shields of arms (Fig. 2a). The upper
dexter bears a chevron. The upper sinister bears a
chevron between three estoiles - Ardalle of Essex. The
lower dexter bears three bulls' heads couped. The lower
sinister, a lion rampant between nine cross crosslets.
To the right of John Ardalle on
the wall of the South Chapel is a later brass which was
placed there from its original position near the east
end of the chantry floor. It is to Ann Lathum (Fig3) who
died in 1627 at the early age of seventeen. The figure,
which is 32cms. long, is above a poignant inscription
which reads: 'Here under lyeth the body of Ann Lathum y
daughter of Thomas Lathum of Stifford gent. who died the
25 daye of December 1627 in y 17 yeares of her age.
Behold in me the life of man
Compared by David to a span
Who in strength death cal'd away
Before the middle of my daye.
Let friends and parents weepe no more
Her's all the odds I went before.
And let them sone their lives amend
that death may be a welcombe friend.'
Palin describes her as wearing the ordinary pelisse,
with a long stomacher and over it a kind of cloak
without sleeves., the head-dress is something like the
Queen of Scots pattern, showing short flowing hair on
each side of the face. The shoes are extremely small.'
Ann was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Lathum.
Elizabeth was to die 3 years after her daughter's short
life had ended as can be seen by her brass which is now
next to Ann's. The figure is 34 cms. high (Fig 4). 'She
wears a long stomacher and skirt, fastened by bows down
the front. The head-dress consists of a handkerchief
thrown over the head and falling down the back and
shoulders showing short wavy hair at each side of the
face; round the neck is a large ruff.'
the inscription Elizabeth died at the age of
thirty-seven which again seems a short span these days,
There is a reference in the verse beneath the figure to
the sentiments expressed on her daughter's memorial:
'Here under lyeth the bodie of Elizabeth Lathum the wife
of Thomas Lathum of Stifford gent. Who dyed the 14th day
of Septem. 1630, in the 37 yeare of her age.
once again behold and see
The frayletie of this life in me
And as t'was sayd to me before
Let friends and parents weepe no more
So I may now the phrase returne
Let children all forbeare to mourne
And let them all in love remayne
And be prepar'd Heaven to attayne.'
The brass to the right of Elizabeth Lathum commemorates
more members of the Lathum family. William Lathum and
Susan, his wife (Fig 5). The figures are 47 cms high and
again Willian Palin describes them thus, 'William, on
the dexter side, wears a merchant's cloak lined with
fur. His hair and moustache are moderately short; his
beard is longer and pointed; his feet are small.
Susan wears a very long-waisted stomacher and
fardingdale, and a kind of cloak falling down the back
and having long pendants at the shoulders. She wears a
rather high-crowned hat with a twisted handkerchief
round the crown.' The inscription reads:
Here under lyeth y bodyes of Willian Lathum
gent late Lord of Stifford & Susan his wife
which sayd William was y sone of Thomas
Lathum of Northokendon Esq deceased
who was y sone & heire of Rob. Lathum
deceased who maried y daughter & heire
of John Ardalle deceased sometime Lord
of Stifford, & y sayd Will. dyed y 6th
day of Decemb An Dni 1622 & y sayd Susan
was y daughter of Symon Sampson of Carsey
in y countie of Suffolk Esquire deceased
which y sayd Susan dyed y 26 of Aug An Dni 1621.
Above them are three shields of arms (Fig. 5a).
1 . The Lathum and Ardalle arms quarterly with a
crescent for difference. (Difference or cadency is a
system used in heraldry to distinguish similar coats of
arms.) A crescent usually denotes the second son.
3. This shield bears a cross bottonny between 4
2. The centre shield is impaled with the other two
As can be seen. the shield 1. shows the incorporation of
the Ardalle shield with the Lathum shield. This occurred
when Thomasine, daughter of John Ardalle (Fig.2),
married Robert Lathum, second son of Hugh Lathum of
North Ockendon and brought him the estate of Stifford.
The last brass in the church is a
shrouded Priest c.1500 (Fig.6), who
is shown holding a heart. The figure
is 50cms. long in the floor of the
west end of the nave. It is very
badly worn and originally had a
scroll above the head and a plate at
the feet but only the indents
remain. A drawing (Fig. 6a) shows
the head and held heart. The heart
is inscribed with MCY (mercy).
Shrouded effigies became very
popular in the middle 15th century
but evidently priests were not often
Stained Glass Windows