ON CANOPIED WINGFIELD TOMBS
IN LETHERINGHAM CHURCH
The inscriptions of these much damaged monuments were recorded in "Ancient Funerall Monuments of Great Britain" (John Weever, 1631+). Later, along with all such monuments throughout England, the monuments were again mutilated during the Commonwealth puritanical period of the mid-17th century.
W. Dowsing of Stratford, the Parliamentary Visitor, appointed under a warrant from the Earl of Manchester, for demolishing the superstitious pictures and ornaments of churches, etc, within the county of Suffolk, in the years 1643-44. Dowsing's diary records:
"February 27 at Letheringham. We took off 3 popish inscriptions in brass, and brake down 10 superstitious pictures, and gave orders to level the steps in 20 days. 6s. 8d."
The surviving relics remained in the body of the church, apart from a few which had been removed elsewhere for safe keeping. Then in the late 1780's it was decided to rebuild the church. So the tombs, which were in the way, were simply removed by the contractors and pulverised.
The notes below are from Percy Chas. Rushen's notes (1901), in turn taken from John Weever's book (1631).
[WING512] Sir Thomas and his wife Margaret :
Arms depicted as:
WINGFIELD impaling BOVILE
inscription below reads:
Vous qz sa feme ... ... pour les alours a dieu sont recommender
[WIMG522] Sir John, and a separate monument for his widow Margaret (who had subsequently remarried)
on a plated gravestone bearing the figure of a knight, below which partly reads :
HIC JACET JOH' DE WYNGEFELD MILES Q'DM D'NS DE LETHERINGHAM CUI[US]
with the arms of :
WINGFIELD impaling HASTINGS, or, a maunch gules
Another source refers to the following inscription, which would appear to be another interpretation :
HIC JACET D'N'S JOHN'OS DE WINGFELD MILES QUONDAM D'N'S DE LETHERINGHAM CUIUS A'I'O PROPITIET'R DEUS, AMEN
On a plated gravestone bearing the figure of a lady, there was the following inscription :
HIC JACET ... MARGARETA WINGFIELD QUONDAM UXOR JOHANNES WINGFIELD MILES QUOR ANIMAB &C MARGARETA RUSSELL DE CIVITATE WIGOUN
with the arms of:
1. WINGFIELD impaling HASTINGS
2. RUSSELL argent a chevron between 3 cross crosslets fitchée sable impaling HASTINGS
[WING532] Sir Robert and his wife Elizabeth
On a plated gravestone bearing the figure of a knight and lady, there was the following inscription :
Hic iacet Dominus Robertus Wingfeld, miles et Elisabetha uxor eius, qui quidem Robertus obiit 3 die Maii 1409. Quorum animabus ... ... amen
(This wording is as given by Weever.)
[WING542] Sir Robert and his wife Elizabeth
On a plated gravestone bearing the figures of three men in armour appears the following inscription :
H'e lieth S'r Thomas Wingfeld knight, Rychard Wyngfeld and William Wyngfeld Squires Sonns of
S'r Rob't Wyngfeld knight and of Lady Elizabeth his wife, syster to the duke of Norff.
with the arms of :
1. WINGFIELD quartering WARREN - chequée or and azure
2. WINGFIELD impaling GOWSELL - Barry of 6 or & gules a canton ermine
[WING551] Sir John
On a plated gravestone, from which the inscription has been removed, are the Arms of :
WINGFIELD impaling sable a chevron between 3 trefoils slipt. argent for FITZLEWYS
Around the edge and on the sides of a chest of marble in an alcove inside the church are the Arms of :
1. BOVILE & WINGFIELD quarterly
2. WINGFIELD impaling FITZLEWYS
3. WINGFIELD impaling GOWSELL
Also, gules a lion rampant or quartering WARREN impaling GOWSELL and the inscription :
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ELIZABETHÆ ARUNDEL DUCISSE NORFOL ET JOHANNIS GOWSELL MILITIS, QUI QUIDEM JOHANNES OBIIT X MAII MCCCCLXXXI ... ... AC DOMINA ELZABETHÆ WINGFIELD UXOR PREDICTA JOHN. FILIA ... ...