Stratford, Archbishop (biog)

John Stratford served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1333 until his death in 1348.  He had held other senior posts under Edward III, including those of Lord High Treasurer and Lord Chancellor.  His memorial (Image 1), standing in the south aisle of the choir between those of Archbishops Kemp and Sudbury, has been described by a leading architectural historian as “Perhaps the finest stone monument in the church” (Woodman 1981).  It is one of Canterbury’s earliest examples of perpendicular style, and also one of the earliest examples of use of alabaster for the effigy.

What to see:

  • the alabaster effigy of John Stratford wearing his mitre and mass vestments (Image 2)
  • the additional attractive mix of Purbeck stone below and Caen stone above
  • the damaged remains of a tall pinnacled canopy of delicate filigree screenwork which has sadly lost a substantial part of its original three spires
  • the two small lion heads appearing on the east end of the canopy which may provide a clue to the sculptor – views have differed on his identity but these were the trade mark of John Ramsey (Norwich) and his son William (London) (Image 3)
  • the Victorian statue by Theodore Phyffers erected on the external west end of the nave in the 1860s (Image 4)

Sources:  see standard cathedral sources;  also article by Michael Cross in Through The South West Door- issue 55, dated Christmas 2007