Thursday, March 21, 2024

Armorial Memorials: Go Big or Go Home

No, really!

Sometimes I feel like some people feel they need to prove their status amongst the local peerage by having a larger, more ornate, more artistically carved, etc., etc., etc., memorial than their peers (if you will pardon the pun. Or even if you won't).

And extra points if you they can get a standing marble effigy carved by one of the best Italian sculptors of the day!

Anyway, here is the memorial in question:

This is the memorial of Thomas Watson-Wentworth, the third (second surviving) son of Edward Watson, 2nd Baron Rockingham (1630-1689). His mother was Anne Wentworth, only daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593-1641) and heiress of her childless brother William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1626-1695) of Wentworth Woodhouse.

Thomas Watson-Wentworth m. Alice Proby, a daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Proby, 1st Baronet.

 He died in 1723, aged 58. 

Their oldest son was Thomas Watson-Wentworth (1693-1750), raised to the Peerage as Baron Malton, later Earl Malton, and afterwards 1st Marquess of Rockingham, KB, Privy Council of Ireland. He was a Whig politician who in 1725 rebuilt Wentworth Woodhouse as the palatial building surviving today.

Alas, his son, the 2nd Marquess, Charles Watson-Wentworth, died without issue in 1782, and all of his honors became extinct.

The reason for raising this monument is literally "carved in stone" on the face of the monument itself:

His justly afflicted relict and son
Thomas Lord Malton,
To transmit the memory of so great worth to future times,
Erected this monument.

But, of course, it's the heraldry (and wonderfully done heraldry it is, too!) that attracted us to this monument:

The arms are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent on a chevron engrailed azure between three martlets sable three crescents or, in chief a crescent gules for difference (Watson); 2 and 3, Sable a chevron between three leopard's faces or (Wentworth); overall an inescutcheon Ermine on a fess gules a lion passant or (Proby).

The crest is: A griffin passant argent beaked and forelegged gules collared vairy ermine and azure.

Oh, and that Italian sculptor I mentioned? The monument was carved by Giovanni Battista Guelphi (1690–1736).

All in all, maybe a little over the top, but it's a wonderful thing to see!

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