TF2157 : Brass of Maude, Lady Willoughby, Holy Trinity, Tattershall

taken 9 years ago, near to Tattershall, Lincolnshire, Great Britain

Brass of Maude, Lady Willoughby, Holy Trinity, Tattershall
Brass of Maude, Lady Willoughby, Holy Trinity, Tattershall
Maud was the eldest daughter of Ralph’s sister, Maud wife of Sir Richard Stanhope of Rampton. She married three times. Her 1st husband, Robert, Lord Willoughby d’Eresby, died in 1452. They had one child, a daughter, Joan, who married Lord Welles, who was attained and beheaded in 1471. In 1453, Maud re-married, but her 2nd husband, Sir Thomas Neville, died at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. Her last husband, Sir Gervase Clinton, was also a casualty of the Wars of the Roses, dying at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. After Baron Cromwell died, Maud and Joan became his co-heiresses, but the estate was later forfeited to the Crown, and in 1487 granted by Henry VII to his mother, Margaret, Countess of Richmond. Maud evidently spent much of her widowhood supporting the completion of her uncle’s collegiate foundation at Tattershall.
Her testamentary bequest to the College of three lucrative manors in return for daily masses for herself, her husbands, parents and sisters let to her being named as co-founder.

Maud’s brass was made in the mid 1470s, a few years after her 3rd husband died, the date of death being added later. In her will, dated 1487, 12 years before her death she asked to be buried in Tattershall church before the high altar on the right hand of her uncle, Ralph, Lord Cromwell “under a stone already provided”. The composition mirrors the brasses to her uncle and that to her sister, made after Joan’s death. This shared family image on the Cromwell brasses may reflect Maud’s involvement in the commissioning of them all.
Maud’s brass features a 59 inch high figure of a lady in widow’s weeds under an elaborate canopy with named saints in the sideshafts. She chose male saints on the left (Ss. Thomas of Vanterburym Christopher, John the Evangelist and Michael) and female saints on the right (Ss. Anne, Helena, Sitha and Elizabeth). At the apex of the central pinnacle was formerly an image of the Virgin and child. The saints would have been those particularly venerated by Maud. The reason for the choice of St Helena can be explained. St Helena by tradition discovered the True Cross, of which Tattershall has a relic, housed in the Holy Cross chapel in the old church, where Maud’s great-grandmother and namesake arranged for special masses to be said. That Maud, Lady Willoughby, shared this devotion is clear from the order placed in 1482 for a Holy Cross window at Tattershall, parts of which survive.
The inscription on the brass reads: Hic facet Nobilis d(omi)na Matilda nuper d(omi)na Willughby quondam uxor Rob(er)ti d(omi)ni de Wykkughby militis, ac consanguinea et hexes illustris d(omi)ni Radulphi nup(er) d(omi)ni Cromwell miitis fundatoris huius colleij ac Specialis benefactrix eiusd(e)m college que obit xxx° die aug(usti) Anno Domini Mil(es)imo CCCC° Lxxxxvij° Cuius Anime p(ro)picietur o(m)nip(oten)s Deus Amen.
(Here lies the noble lady Matilda, the late Lady Willoughby, being the wife of Robert, Lord Willoughby, knight, and a relation and heiress of the famous Ralph, late Lord Cromwell, knight, founder of this College; she was a particular benefactor of the college, and died on the 30th of August AD 1497; on whose soul may God Almighty have mercy Amen.)
This inscription, combined, with the arrangement of the complex lost heraldry on the brass, reflects how Maud wanted to be remembered. She evidently valued her first alliance most, as she chose to be described as Maud, Lady Willoughby. The shield on the upper right originally bore 1&4 Willoughby, 2&3 Bee impaling Stanhope, denoting this marriage. The shield on the upper left bore 1&4 Stanhope, 2&3 Cromwell impaling Tattershall, recording her parents’ union. The other marriage alliances were not mentioned in the inscription, being reflected only in the lost heraldry. The bottom left shield bore 1&4 Montagu quartering Monthemer, 2&3 Neville impaling quarterly 1&4 Stanhope, 2&3 Cromwell impaling Tattershall, denoting her 3rd marriage. The whole is a bold visual statement of her high status and distinguished lineage.

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TF2157, 388 images   (more nearby search)
Contributed by
Julian P Guffogg   (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Saturday, 18 August, 2012   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 28 August, 2012
Geographical Context
Religious sites 
Place (from Tags)
Church (from Tags)
Holy Trinity 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 212 575 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:6.0997N 0:11.4713W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 212 575
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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