Following on from last weeks pictures of the priory HERE, today we’re going to investigate the contents of the tombs within.
Hubert de Vaux’s eldest son Robert de Vaux was the founder of Lanercost Priory, and for centuries the de Vaux remained important benefactors of the priory. In the north transept, the oldest tomb of the priory is one of the Roland de Vaux lords from the fourteenth century. Unfortunately the knight’s effigy and tomb decorations are mostly now gone, but surviving fragments of the effigy from the top of the tomb are now in store.
I managed not to take a picture of Roly’s tomb, so asked permission to link to this one I found on Flickr.
Next up we have the first Dacre tomb, the tomb of Sir Humphrey (1424–85), 1st Baron Dacre, and his wife, Mabel Parr (d. 1510), stands in a chapel off the north transept. The visible sides are covered with heraldic imagery, showing the various families who had married into the Dacre line. This tomb was erected by their son Thomas. Sir Hump was a soldier, landowner in Cumbria, and peer, and stayed loyal to King Henry VI at The Battle of Towton during the War of the Roses. The battle took place in 1461 and was fought for ten hours between an estimated 50,000 soldiers in a snowstorm on Palm Sunday, with the Yorkist army achieving a decisive victory over their Lancastrian opponents. As a result, Edward IV deposed the Lancastrian Henry VI and secured the English throne. Our Hump was attainted, which meant he lost everything, his property and titles, but managed to keep his life.
He must have been a wiley old fox as he was later pardoned, regained the family estates, summoned to parliament as a baron, attended the coronation of Richard III, and was appointed Governor of Carlisle and Warden of the West Marches. His Missis, Mabs, was the great aunt to Catherine Parr, Ol’Henery the eighth’s last Missis, and the only one to survive marriage to him.
Thomas, 2nd Baron Dacre (1467–1525), and his wife, Elizabeth Greystoke (d.1516), are buried in the second large chest tomb, which stands in the south transept, under an early 19th-century stone canopy. The tomb was erected by Thomas during his lifetime. The arms of the Dacre and Greystoke families are set within garters, so the tomb must date from after 1518, when Thomas was made a Knight of the Garter.
Hump and Mabs, had 9 children, the eldest being Tommy who succeeded Hump as Baron Dacre of Gilsland. He too was a soldier but fought on the Yorkist side in the Battle of Bosworth, the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, which took place on August 22nd 1485. Dicky III was on the throne at this point, but was defeated and killed in the battle, with the Lancastrian Henry Tudor being the winner taking all. Like his Dad, Tommy managed to suck up to the victor and earned himself some kudos with Henry Tudor who had now ascended the throne as “King Henry VII of England” and who would continue to trust Tommy’s services for the remainder of his reign. Henry made Tommy a Knight of the Bath in 1503.
I think a small digression is worthy here, to explain that during the middle ages, knighthoods were often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. (Blokes!!🙄) The chap being Knighted would first have to have a bath and not the kind where you chill out in candlelight with nice smelling bubbles and a waterproof book, nope, instead he had senior Knights instructing him in his Knightly duties. I bet the water went cold. Then he’d be clothed in a special cloak and music would play whilst he was taken to a chapel to pull an all nighter vigil. At dawn he’d have to make a confession and go to mass, after which he was allowed to go to bed for a snooze until it was fully daylight. Lastly he was taken to see the King who instructed two senior Knights to strap spurs to the chaps heels, and then the King fastened a belt around the guy’s waist, and then smacked him on the neck with his hand or a sword. The chap was then a Knight. 🤷♀️ Nowadays the Monarch just has them visit Buckingham Palace and taps the persons shoulders with a sword, job done, no messing about with baths and spurs.
Our Tommy then declared loyalty to the next King, the Eighth Henry. He did well too and by 1509 was Lord of all The Marches. The Lord Warden of the Marches was an office in the governments of Scotland and England. The holders were responsible for the security of the border between the two nations, and often took part in military action. He had an illustrious military career, being in charge of the “Border Lancers” at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 where the invading army of James IV was crushingly defeated and its king killed. Tommy found him and transported him to Berwick on Tweed. Henery made Tommy a Knight of the Garter in 1518 and he was present, with all the other Garter Knights, at the meeting in 1520 between Henry VIII and the Pesky French King Francis I, you may know of it as The Field of The Cloth of Gold. Anyhoo, Tommy died on the borders on 24 October 1525, killed by a fall from his horse, a bit of an ignominius ending I feel,and was banged up in the tomb below.
I must mention he married Elizabeth Greystoke, 6th Baroness of Greystoke in her own right, and she was absolutely minted! Tommy
abducted eloped with her at night from Brougham Castle where she’d been staying as a ward of the King in the custody of the Baron of Clifford. When they married the extensive lands held by the Greystokes passed to the Dacre family. These included Greystoke Castle and the barony of Greystoke, Morpeth Castle and the barony of Morpeth, along with the lost manor of Henderskelf, which is now the site of Castle Howard. Tommy and Liz had eight children who all became or married, Knights and Earls and Barons but am not sure which of them would have been the ancestor of Tarzan.
Although there were very few family buriels inside the church between the 16th and 18th centuries, in 1708, a 25yr old chap, John Crow of Longlands, died whilst falling trying to climb the ruins, stupid boy, and ended up buried in a re-used 14th Century chest tomb, previous incumbent unknown. ( Stop weeping April 🙂 ) The tomb effigy is the only complete medieval effigy to survive at Lanercost.
In the 19th Century the Priory was in the hands of the Howard family, George Howard (1843–1911), 9th Earl of Carlisle, revived the use of the church as a family mausoleum. His infant daughter Eizabeth died at the age of 4 months in 1883, and he had a terracotta effigy made of her by the famous sculptor Sir Edgar Boehm. George was quite the artist with many of his works in prestigious galleries and museums, the Tate and the Ashmolean being just two.
The Howards lived in London in Kensington, in a house at 1 Palace Green,built for them by Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb in 1870,and at Naworth Castle. Among their visitors at Naworth were Robert Browning, William Ewart Gladstone, Lewis Carroll, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and many others. William Morris was an intimate friend, well that’s what it says but I think it means in the intellectual sense, and his wallpapers were used in Kensington, at Naworth Castle and at Castle Howard when George inherited it. With Morris and Webb he was one of the founding members of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
George’s eldest son Charles (8 March 1867 – 20 January 1912) became the 10th Earl of Carlisle when Dad expired in 1911 and was also known as Viscount of Morpeth from 1889 to 1911. Another soldier he was firstly a Captain in the 3rd Border Regiment, whereafter he retired from the regular army and went on to serve in the Boer War in South Africa as a Captain in the 5th militia Battalion of the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own). After the war he became the MP for Birmingham South until he got his Earldom in 1911 and joined the house of Lords. He died age 44, and his wife Rhoda Ankaret L’Estrange, with whomst he got spliced in 1894, didn’t join him until 1957 45 years later. They they stuck her in the same tomb with him and she was the last person to be entombed in the priory.
So that’s it for tombs, but there’s a couple of interesting grave slabs to look at.
Firstly the one on the right in this next photograph is possibly from the late 12th century, with a small Maltese cross on the top surface. On its left side is a sword, and on the right are a pilgrim’s scrip (purse or satchel) and palm, suggesting the deceased had been on pilgrimage. Can’t make much out of all that except the palm and the sword.
The next one below is a fragment of a late 14th- or 15th-century floor slab or tomb chest, bearing a cross with fleur-de-lys terminals. On the left is a scallop, part of the Dacre family crest.
And that is the end of our history lesson today 😊
All images taken by me except where stated otherwise, and are clickable and embiggenable. The 2 from Flickr are links from those person’s albums and you can see more of their photos of Lanercost if you click through and scroll about.
No apostrophies were harmed in the making of this post, but some may have gone out to play, and others could be playing somewhere they’re not supposed to be.
wiki for all the Lords and Ladies
for wherever next.