Henry Chichele (1364-1443)


Archbishop of Canterbury (1414-1443) – for more click here


Thought to be designed by Thomas Mapilton with sculpture work by John Massingham III.


Chichele had his tomb installed by 1427, the suggestion being that having been erected during his lifetime it became an object for personal contemplation. The tomb is a colourful double-decker with an effigy on each tier. It is of a variety known as a cadaver or transi tomb and designed to remind the viewer of the miracle of the resurrection and the transitory nature of the mortal body. It is generally regarded as the oldest tomb in the country of its type. Chichele had an active career including many journeys to continental Europe, from where his choice of tomb may have arisen. The upper life-like effigy shows the archbishop in full ecclesiastical dress, with hands clasped in prayer. Angels are located at his head while two monks pray at his feet. Viewed from the north the side of the tomb is pierced by three gothic arches revealing in the lower register an emaciated cadaver with closed eyes. The two effigies are described in various texts as being made of stone; and it has been suggested that the cadaver is made of alabaster. Unfortunately, both figures are heavily painted and no stone appears to be visible for a visual identification to take place.

The upper effigy rests on a table of Purbeck Marble with the tomb chest below constructed from several pieces of finely carved Purbeck Marble. The brass-work, or latten (an alloy of copper, zinc and tin) for the inscription plate was probably originally executed by a London workshop. The Latin inscription translates as: "I was a pauper born, then to primate raised. Now I am cut down and served up for worms. Behold my grave. Whoever who may be who will pass by, I ask for your remembrance."


Chichele founded All Souls College, Oxford in 1438. The College Fellows are responsible for the tomb’s upkeep having undertaken to carry out inspections and maintenance every 50 years. Following considerable damage to the tomb, during period of the seventeenth-century Commonwealth, much repair work was carried out. Several restorations have been funded by the college accounting for the tomb’s present colourful and complete appearance, although no inspection by the Fellows was carried out, when due, in 1997. Some restoration work to the cadaver has been carried out in modelled wax to imitate the surrounding stone. The tester and supporting ornate piers are all restored and of wood. The figurines were first replaced in 1663- 64 and again in 1897, when wooden figures were substituted.


William Howley (1766-1848)


Archbishop of Canterbury (1828-1848) for more click here


Designed by George Austin Senior or his son Harry George Austin. They were successively architects and surveyors of the Cathedral. Stone effigy by Richard Westmacott the Younger.


A Victorian archbishop during a period of social reform he crowned the young Victoria and married her to Prince Albert. He died at Lambeth Palace after a long illness and his funeral witnessed a long procession from Lambeth to the Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin in Addington, South London, where Howley was laid to rest in the chancel. The monument in the cathedral is therefore strictly a cenotaph. The Archbishops of Canterbury resided throughout the nineteenth century, in the nearby Georgian mansion known as Addington Palace.


This tomb hearkens back to its medieval precursors in more ways than one. It was the first monument to an Archbishop of Canterbury to be erected in the cathedral choir since the Reformation. The tomb and canopy are both carved from the same stone and present a uniform weathered appearance. It is unfortunately not possible to see sufficient ‘natural stone’ from the wrong side of the railings. The colour match does not appear correct for Caen Stone (note the flanking columns) and is more in keeping with a stone from the Jurassic limestone belt such as Bath Stone.  The tomb chest is faced with a blank arcade of gothic arches and a brass inscription encircles the cornice. And an effigy lies recumbent upon the tomb, the horizontal disposition of which belies the archbishop’s less than five-foot stature. The canopy is expertly carved with a rich array of decorative foliage.


Thomas Bourchier  (1404-1486)


Archbishop of Canterbury (1454-1486) – for more click here


Born into a wealthy family, Bourchier was promoted to the bishopric of Worcester in 1434, only a year after his ordination. Nine years later he was translated to become Bishop of Ely before being appointed Archbishop. Bourchier died at Knole, a property he had purchased in 1456. His body was moved to Maidstone Church and from there on to Faversham Abbey. From Faversham it was carried in state to Canterbury to be buried in a tomb already constructed. His tomb consists of a deceptively ornate tomb chest and canopy. The generous gap between the two is said to be the result of an accession by Bourchier to the cathedral monks that his monument would not occlude the light from the windows of the north aisle.


The tomb’s carving is of the highest quality. The detail of the many and various tiny animal heads and the repeated knot motif are a delight, and all the more so for being carved in the local Bethersden Marble.  Although the designer is unknown it is believed the tomb was produced by one of the London court workshops. Bourchier’s heraldic device, the Bourchier knot, appears many times on the monument. It is a modern-day granny knot and used here as a rebus of a butcher’s knot deriving from the similar pronunciations of the family surname and the French word for a butcher, "boucher". A second motif also appears on the tomb alongside the carved knot: the rose-en-soleil badge of King Edward IV whom Bourchier had crowned and later married to Elizabeth Woodvile. The badge combines the white rose of the House of York with the sunburst emblem of a predecessor, Richard II. The tomb has been badly damaged by iconoclasts and the images taken from their niches. A brass fillet inscription girdles the tomb. It has been suggested that the archbishop’s tomb was to double as an Easter Sepulchre, situated as it was in the traditional place to the north of the High Altar.


The canopy is equally ornate with a four-centred arch supporting a form of entablature with a fenestrated and niched cornice, sadly now also lacking figures. In the spandrels are finely carved quatrefoils and mouchettes. The whole canopy is made of Caen Stone and this monument canopy is an exemplar of the stone’s excellent carving qualities.


Thomas Cocks (d. 1611)


Thomas Cocks was the auditor, Chapter clerk and receiver for Canterbury Cathedral – in the latter capacity he received the rents on behalf of the Dean and Chapter from its tenants. He left behind a diary spanning almost four years of his later life. It detailed his expenses more so than his daily activities. Twenty five copies of his diary were printed in 1901. His position permitted him to enjoy for a period the residency of the unoccupied Archbishop’s Palace.


His memorial is often overlooked by the cathedral visitor, located high up on the north wall of the north choir aisle. The wall plaque is alabaster and it bears a black tablet, inscribed in Latin. If a marble tablet (sometimes the alabaster was painted) then it is most likely to be made from Black Belgian Marble.








Memorial and Fittings stones in North Choir aisle



> STONES INDEX FEATURES STYLES BIBLIOGRAPHY cocks-1 bourchier-1 howley-2 chicheley-2

©  Geoff Downer  2019

> MEMORIALS INDEX Bourchier-Detail-Geoff

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