RETURN TO SURREY EARLDOM

Revised 23/06/2012

SOUTHOVER

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH CHURCH

The remains of both William, 1st Earl of Surrey, and his wife Gundred were buried at Lewes Priory, first before the High Altar, then later (13th Century) in the New Chapter House, when a new tombstone was provided.

STIRPS GVNDRADA DVCV DEC[VS] EVI NOBILE GERMEN

 INTVLIT ECCLESIIS ANGLORV BALSAMA

 MORV MAR[TIR F]VIT MISERIS FVIT EX PIETATE MARIA.

PARS OBIIT MARTHE, SVPEST PARS MAGNA MARIE.

O PIE PANCRATI, TES[TIS] PIE[TATIS ET EQ[VI],

TE FACIT HEREDE, TV CLEMENS SVSCIPE MATREM.

SEXTA KALENDARV IVNII LVX OBVIA CARNIS

ILFREGIT ALA ASTV ... ...

Gundred's tombstone

at Southover Parish Church
(18 March 2005)

INSCRIPTION ON TOMBSTONE
 

Their bones were afterwards kept in separate leaden caskets, on which were respectively inscribed WILLEMS and GVNDRADA

After the dissolution of the monasteries, Lewes Priory was demolished (1538). Gundred's tombstone was later re-used for the grave of Edward Shirley at Isfield Church, 6 miles from Lewes. It was discovered here by chance (1774), and subsequently placed under a pew at St. John the Baptist's Church, Southover, it being the closest church to the old Lewes Priory. In 1845 when the railway line was being constructed between Lewes and Brighton, the leaden caskets with the bones of William and Gundred were also discovered in the ruins of the priory. A special Gundrada Chapel was afterwards built (1847) at St. John's to house all these relics.