Thursday, May 18, 2023

An Heraldic Memorial to Two Sisters

Like so many other little parish churches in England (well, throughout Great Britain, Ireland, and on the Continent, too), there are memorials to the dead on the walls and in the floor.

And many of these memorials have heraldry on them.

This memorial, for example, keeps alive the memory of two sisters, Dorothy Spilsbury and Elizabeth Hollingworth née Spilsbury.

The full text reads:

Sacred to the Memory of
Daughter of Lucas Spilsbury Esquire
of Coughton in the County of Warwick,
Who died Janry 31st 1837, aged 82 years,
at Croft Lodge in this Parish
and is buried in this Church.

Also of
Sister to the above Dorothy Spilsbury
Who died Janry 23rd 1820, aged 71 years
and is buried in the Chancel
of St. Botolph Without Aldgate London.

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.
                                   Revelation XIV.13.

On the pediment above the inscription is a coat of arms, hatched (that is, with lines in different directions to indicate the colors) and on a lozenge. (Please feel free to click on the image above to see a larger, more detailed photograph.) Burke's General Armory gives Sable a fess gules between three unicorn's heads argent as the arms of Spilsburie from Hustolbury, near Worcester.

A run through one of the major genealogy websites found a Lucas Spilsbury of Alcester, Warwickshire (1714-1764), but while he had a daughter named Dorothy, her dates are entirely incorrect for the Dorothy memorialized here and buried in the church.

Nonetheless, this is a beautiful example of an early 19th Century carved stone memorial, complete with a coat of arms upon its face. I don't think that, at least as far as visiting small English parish churches go, it gets a whole lot better than this.

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