6 St George's Chapel - 2
6 Part II - Of The Chapel of St George
East Window in the South Aisle
This was put up in June, 1792, and is painted in half tints, by Mr. Forrest, who assisted Mr. Jarvis in the great window, from a design of Mr. West's; it is a striking representation of the Angels appearing unto the Shepherds, announcing the nativity of our Saviour. Over the principal Angels, whose countenances are animated almost beyond conception, is written, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men." On different scrolls, held by the rest of the heavenly host are parts of sentences, from Luke, chap. ii, verses 10 and 11, making together "Fear not: For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord". At a distance in the background, are the Shepherds, with their sheep and dog, by moonlight. The style of painting in this window, is different from any we have mentioned; it is well adapted to the light in which it is placed, and is esteemed a masterly performance. On turning from this is the West Window.
West Window in the South Aisle
This window presents a striking proof of the superlative abilities of the last mentioned artists, in a brilliant representation of the Nativity of Christt. The Virgin Mary is seated with the infant Jesus sleeping in her lap and Joseph, with the most devout attention, is holding a lamp, to give light to her while she performs her maternal offices. The Angel of the Lord, which is a very beautiful figure, accompanied with a group of cherubs, appears with an olive branch, seeming to proclaim peace and happiness to mankind. In the back and foreground, are various objects, either descriptive of the mean situation in which the birth of our Saviour happened, or allusive to the oblation which was to be offered up for the redemption of man. This, as has been intimated, was painted by Mr. Forrest, from a design of Mr West's, and was put up in 1794.
West Window in the North Aisle
Here we have the semblance of a female figure, said to be King Edward III's Queen, standing beneath a gothic canopy; and under this, are four ecclesiastics. This was put up in the year 1783, and will be removed in the autumn of 1796, to give place to one more worthy of being exhibited in this Chapel. The design, which is the Wise Men's offering, is by Mr. West, and is now painting on glass by Mr. Forrest.
Monuments, Vaults, etc.
Before we proceed to give a description
of the monuments in this Chapel, it may be proper to acquaint
the reader, that most of them were originally founded as chantries,
and endowed with lands and other revenues for the maintenance
of chaplains and priests, to sing masses there, for the souls
of their several founders and their kindred.
Henry VIII, etc.
Near the first haut pas of the choir, is the Royal Vault, in which are deposited the remains of Henry VIII and his Queen, Jane Seymour, King Charles I, and a daughter of Queen Ann. Henry VI and Edward IV were also buried in this Chapel; the former in the south, the latter in the north aisle, near the altar. The monuments of these princes will be more particularly mentioned in the order they are exhibited by the Sexton, in conducting the stranger round this much-admired Chapel.
King Edward IV
At the east end of the north aisle, are
deposited the remains of Edward IV, in a tomb covered with touchstone,
over which is erected a beautiful monument, composed of steel,
representing a pair of gates between two towers of curious workmanship,
after the gothic manner. The trophies of honour over the Prince's
grave, were richly ornamented with pearls, rubies, and gold,
and hung secure 'till this Chapel was plundered in 1642.
On a stone adjoining in like characters are:
In the beginning of March, 1789, as the workmen were employed in preparing the ground for a new pavement, they perceived a small aperture in the side of the vault, which curiosity soon rendered sufficiently large to admit an easy entrance to the interior part. This was found to contain a leaden coffin, seven feet long, with a perfect skeleton, immersed in a glutinous liquid, with which the body is thought to have been embalmed as it is near 307 years since its interment.
As soon as the labourers had communicated this discovery, the public early flocked to the Chapel; many of them found ways and means to gratify their curiosity, and had not a timely check been put to it, the whole of the remains would soon have been dispersed over various parts of the earth; one secreting some hair, a second, a tooth, and a third, a finger, etc. etc., who now boast their plundered reliques of this magnanimous prince. On the top of the before mentioned coffin, was placed another, supposed to be made of cedar, and to contain the remains of Elizabeth Widville, Queen of Edward IV, but these were greatly decayed. On the inside of the vault were inscribed several names and characters, but which probably were done by the attendants at the funeral, or by the workmen employed in the erection of the vault, many of them being written in chalk, and as none of them immediately appertain to the King, except the name 'Edward'.
Dr. W. Wade
In a recess in the aisle, at the back of the altar, is a neat marble monument, erected by Lieutenant General George Wade, in memory of his brother, Dr. William Wade, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and canon of this Royal Chapel. He died Feb. 1, 1732, in the sixty second years of his age.
Adjoining to the last, in a similar recess is a monument to the memory of Theodore Randue, Esq., Keeper of Windsor Palace, in the reign of Charles II, who died April 30, 1724, in the eighty-second year of his age. He bequeathed, by his last will, the sum of £6400 to public charities, the particulars of which are inscribed on his tomb.
The last two mentioned monuments were originally erected near the west end of the chapel; the former in the north, the latter in the south aisle, and were removed thither in June, 1789.
At the south east corner of this church is a small Chapel, wherein are interred the remains of Edward, Earl of Lincoln, a nobleman as eminent for his wisdom in the senate, as for his naval and military abilities and conduct. The first of Edward IV, he was made admiral of the fleet sent to Scotland, and afterwards Lord High Admiral of England. After a life spent with honour and success, in the service of four of the most illustrious prince, his lordship departed this life Jan. 16, 1584, and a handsome monument was erected to his memory by his lady, who is also buried here.
This monument is of alabaster, with pillars of porphyry. On the top are effigies of his lordship, lying prostrate on a mat of curious workmanship, dressed in armour, his feet resting on a greyhound, collared and chained; by his side lies his lady, in her robes of state, her head resting on an embroidered cushion, and her feet on a monkey. Round the momument are their sons and daughters on their knees.
This monument, which in many parts was greatly defaced, was repaired in 1789, by order of the Duke of Newcastle.
On the west side of the chapel are the family arms, curiously sculptured in alabaster and blazoned.
Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury
In an arched tomb, at the east end of the south aisle, lies Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury, who was the first Chancellor of the most Noble Order of the Garter; and in an arch opposite to this tomb, formerly lay a missal, or breviary, as appears by this inscription underneath:
On the centre stone of the arch over this part of the aisle, is curiously cut a representation of King Edward IV and the above bishop, on their knees before the holy cross.
King Henry VI
Historians are much divided concerning the death and burial of this prince; but the most received opinion is, that he was murdered in the Tower, by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, on the 21st of May 1472. His corpse was, the next day, carried to St. Paul's Church, and from thence conveyed by water to Chertsey, in Surrey, and buried; but it was removed from thence in the reign of Richard III to this choir, and a second time interred. From the sanctity of this Prince's life, a general opinion prevailed, that miracles were wrought through his intercession: His reliques were therefore had in such veneration, that Henry VII applied to the Court of Rome for his admission into the Calendar of Saints, and also for a license from the Pope, to remove the body from Windsor to Westminster Abbey, to be interred with great solemnity, probably in his new erected chapel; but the exhorbitant demands of the Church of Rome, not agreeing with the avaricious temper of Henry VII, the first intention was dropped, and the latter laid aside. From this application the report probably gained credit, that the royal body was actually removed; yet it is evident, from the will of that Prince, that it never was put into execution. The whole arch under which this Prince is interred, was, according to the will of Henry VIII, sumptuously decorated, and there at present appears on the centre stone, the royal arms, supported by two antelopes, chained together with a golden chain, which, on the late repair of the chapel, were cleaned and emblazoned; but the various ensigns and devices on the different parts of the arch were totally obliterated.
Though it be pretty evident from the above particulars, that the remains of Henry are deposited in this chapel; yet, as some may still have their doubts on the subject, it is to be regretted, that the very rude treatment shown to the bones of Edward, should have operated to suppress that desire of information respecting Henry, which otherwise might have been easily and decently gratified at the time the chapel was repairing: however, not a single brick belonging to this vault was suffered to be removed, notwithstanding the workmen had occasion to dig down several feet close by the side of it.
Near the south door of the choir, is buried Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who married Mary, Queen Dowager of France, and sister to King Henry VIII.
On a marble tablet was formerly this inscription:
Nothing now remains to distinguish the grave of this noble duke but a black marble grave-stone, with this simple inscription - Charles Brandon.
Farther towards the south door of the Chapel is a small chantry, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, erected in the year 1522, by John Oxenbridge, canon and benefactor to this church. The screen is in the Gothic taste. Over the door is a lion rampant with many escalops around him, with the rebus of the founder's name, vis. an Ox, the letter N and a Bridge. Within this Chapel is painted St. John the Baptist, preaching in the Wildernest; his head delivered to the damsel; and the damsel presenting it to Herod.
Contiguous to that which we last described, is a small chapel, wherein are deposited the remains of Dr. Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and Register of the Order of the Garter, under an altar monument. Also several of the family of Aldworth, are interred here, from which it takes its present name; though it evidently appears to have been built by the above learned Bishop from the paintings on the wall and other devices relating to that prelate.
These paintings are greatly decayed, and probably will soon be entirely obliterated, as they are not in a style to merit preservation.
Opposite to Aldworth Chapel are painted, on panels of oak, carved and decorated with the arms, devices, and bearings peculiar to each prince, the portraits at full length, of:
Underneath these paintings is a Latin inscription, desiring the reader to pray for the soul of Mr. Oliver King, Professor of Law, chief Secretary to the above princes, etc., and who, as was before observed, lies buried in the chapel adjoining.
This Chapel was built in the reign of Henry VII, by Sir Reginald Bray, one of the knights companions of the Order, who was also a liberal benefactor towards finishing the body of the Chapel, as is manifest from his arms, crest, and other devices peculiar to him, being cut and placed in different parts of the roof, and likewise on the beautiful stone screen which divides this Chapel from the body of the Church. This gentleman was many years in the service of Margaret, Countess of Richmond and Derby; was highly instrumental in advancing her son, Henry VII, to the throne, and in uniting the Two Royal Houses of York and Lancaster, by the marriage of that Prince to Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV. To his great abilities as a statesman, he joined a happy knowledge of architecture, as the Chapel of St. George and Henry VII's at Westminster, do both sufficiently testify.
On preparing a vault for Dr. Waterland, a leaden coffin of an ancient form was found, which was adjudged to be the coffin of Sir Reginald Bray, and was therefore, by order of the Dean, immediately arched over. He died Anno 1502.
Dr. Giles Thomson
The first monument, in the order that they are usually exhibited, is that of Dr Giles Thomson, Bishop of Gloucester. It is of alabaster, with a bust of the Bishop, in an episcopal habit, with this inscription:
Which may be thus translated:
Adjoining to the last, is a monument supported by two pillars of curious marble, and the whole encompassed with a beautiful foliage. On the tomb is inscribed:
The epitaph is in Latin, and is thus translated:
The next is an altar monument, of grey marble, and on a plate of copper, affixed to the back, is a Latin inscription. In English thus:
He died, Oct. 13, 1659
Close to the last mentioned, is a marble monument, erected to the memory of Dr. Brideoack, Bishop of Chichester, who lies cumbent in his episcopal robes, with a mitre on his head, and a crosier by his side. Over the bishop is a Latin inscription, which we have thus translated:
Sacred to the memory of the Reverend Father in Christ, Ralph Brideoack, who put off this mortal life in a good old age, in God. He was a man resolutely good and great, yet lowly minded; a valuable treasure of the attic, and all sorts of eloquence. During the exile of Charles II he was stripped of his property, and at his return, made canon of this Chapel, Dean of Salisbury, and afterwards Bishop of Chichester; hospitable, and a friend to virtue; he was to his diocese like a father to his family, who, eager for the safety of others, while regardless of his own, in visiting his flock, was seized with the then raging fever, and died in the exercise of his episcopal function, on the 9th of October, 1678, in the 64th year of his age.
His inconsolable widow has erected this monument to the memory of the best of husbands.
In the middle of this Chapel is interred, the late reverend and learned Dr. Waterland, and his widow; and on a black marble grave stone is inscribed:
6 St George's Chapel - 2