Thursday, April 25, 2024

Another Great 17th Century Armorial Memorial

As I said last time, I really enjoy seeing 17th Century armorial memorials, and today we're going to look at another, also armorial, but even more sculpturally figural, memorial.

This is the memorial of Frances Matthew, née Barlow, who died a year after her second husband, 1629.

Take your time to really look at all that this memorial offers. Take your time. I'll wait.

In addition to the statue of the lady herself kneeling in prayer (on a very plush cushion) with her prayer book in front of her and placed between a pair of pulled back stone "curtains," she is flanked by two black Corinthian columns, themselves flanked by two symbolic figures. The columns rest on a pair of skull and crossed bones, and there are two infants (lacking wings, they cannot be meant to be cherubs), all in addition to the three shields of heraldic display.

Frances was the daughter of William Barlow, Bishop of Chichester, and the wife of: first, Matthew Parker (died 1575), a son of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, and; second, following Matthew's death, and for over 50 years, Tobias (Toby, Tobie) Matthew, Archbishop of York.

As a side note on Frances, her husband Tobias Matthew left his fortune not to his sons but to his wife. She gave Tobie's collection of over 600 books, then valued at £300, to York Minster. These books are the basis of the Minster library (now housed at Old Palace, York).

But we're here about the heraldry, aren't we?

In addition to the two small shields immediately above each column -- the one on the left being her marital arms of Matthew (Argent a lion rampant sable) impaling Barlow (Argent on a chevron engrailed between three crosses crosslet fitchy sable two lions combattant argent), and the one on the right being her paternal Barlow arms (on a heater shaped shield, presumably to balance the impaled arms on the left) -- at the top of the monument we have the arms of Barlow on a lozenge, as was onsidered proper for a lady.

It's an amazing work of the sculptor's art, all in recognition of a lady who must have been pretty amazing herself.

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