Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Culpepper Chapel, Hollingbourne

The Culpepper chapel is tacked onto the north side of the chancel of Hollingbourne church. It was built in 1638 by Sir Thomas Culpeper, not only as a monument to his wife Elizabeth- "best of women, best of wives, best of mothers"- but as a family cenotaph. Elizabeth's tomb- the work of the distinguished sculptor Edward Marshall, later to be appointed master mason to the crown- occupies the centre of the building, while round the walls are stone shields designed to be filled with the coats of arms of the succeeding generations of Culpeppers. As it was, the family quit the area shortly after the chapel was built and most the shields are blank.

Elizabeth was a Cheney- and her sturdy, square-toed shoes rest against the flank of her family's heraldic animal- a very rare spotty beast called a theow- which- with its canine head and body, hooves and long, tasselled tail- is as close as the medieval mind came to realising a hyena.

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