*  Of interest to Family Historians - Hertfordshire Church of England Parish Registers from 1538 are now available online - only most recent registers are held at the church   *
A rare tomb

A RARE TOMB

One of the most interesting tombs in St. Mary's is that of the Barforde or Beresford family, below the northwest aisle window.

Made of Derbyshire alabaster (a sort of gypsum resembling marble) with the figure carved and the lines of the carving filled with bitumen. This is an extremely rare form of tomb, although there is one dated 1549 at Cleshill in Warwickshire. The delicately carved figure wears a Spanish farthingale, a popular fashion of the 16th century.

This tomb was originally against the south wall of the chancel, but during the restoration of 1871 when the choir pews were installed it was removed.

Unfortunately , in order to fit into its present position the tomb appears to have been partially destroyed, the back and part of the sides removed, and the top slab fractured. There is a raised inscription running right round the edge of this slab, but the lettering is illegible. The arms on the side of the tomb are those of the Beresford family, collared and chained bears.

It is not known who is represented on this tomb. The family lived in North Mymms in the 16th century, and two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary died within three months of each other in about 1584, so possibly this is a memorial to both of them.

There is another fascinating contemporary tomb in St Catherine's chapel, almost hidden by the organ. Only the end is visible. This is probably the tomb of Elizabeth Frowick who married Ralph Coningsby, and whose grandson built North Mymms House. The stained glass in the chapel has the arms of the Coningsby family.

The fact that these tombs were placed in the church signifies the importance of these families, who were local landlords and benefactors to the parish.

KNOW YOUR CHURCH

Some years ago, Patricia Cook, a former Churchwarden at St. Mary's, wrote a series of informative articles on interesting aspects of the fabric of St. Mary's for the Parish Magazine. These are reproduced here, together with line drawings by Jean Atkinson, a well known local artist, who has been closely involved with St. Mary's for many years, including serving on the PCC.

The Amber Tankard Holy Water Stoup The Mass Dial
Seating over the years A hidden gem Gargoyles, Corbels or Label-stops?
Decalogue Board A rare tomb Elephants and Royal Arms
Pulpit Kesteven Brass The Somers Memorial
 
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