22 September 2015

Chantry Foundations in late Medieval England (1)

Beside the River Till in Northumberland stand the remains of Etal Castle, maintained by the Manners family and granted a licence to crenellate in 1341 (it passed by marriage to the barony of Roos in 1495). [[In a converted Presbyterian Chapel which has been converted into an Interpretation centre, there is a lot of stuff about the Battle of Flodden, which happened nearby. Laudably, Heraldry is given an appropriate look-in. Among the arms displayed are those of the Scotch nobles who died in that battle; they include those of Archbishop Stewart ... who is shown as bearing Scotland without any difference. Surely this is improbable. And Bishop Hepburn of the Isles is shown with his family arms. Surely, in any case, these prelates had and used diocesan arms?]]

What really interested me was the fact that, a little way along the river, there are the ruins of "S Mary's Chantry Chapel". The main reason for this post and the one which will follow is to ask my erudite readership if they can think of parallels to chantry foundations a little way along a river from a castle. The next post will describe a comparable but more substantial foundation nearby. Additionally, there is the rock-chapel of our Lady of the Crag, just along the river from Knaresborough Castle in Yorkshire.

But I can't leave Etal behind without one little footnote which, I suppose, will only be of interest to fellow-patrimonials.

Nearby is Etal Manor, once owned by the Boyles, Earls of Glasgow. It was loaned to Lord Frederick Fitzclarence when he married Lady Augusta Boyle; they moved in in 1821. English readers will be aware that the Fitzclarences were the large illegitimate brood which Dorothea Bland (from Parknasilla in the County Kerry in Munster, where my wife, sons, and sons-in-law used to play golf) bore to William Duke of Clarence, later known as William IV; the eldest of them was created Earl of Munster and the rest of them were accorded the rank and precedence of the children of a duke (hence the "Lord").

Lady Augusta came under the influence of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England, and in 1856 built a chapel in her grounds, dedicated to S Mary, explicitly as a successor to the ruinous chantry chapel along the river. In it were buried Lord Frederick; and their only daughter Frederica with her husband Frederick (who had been aide de camp to Lord Frederick ... lots of freds around ... ). It contains a simple monument to Lord Frederick (a cross and a sword; copied, I suspect, from a medieval stone in the floor of nearby Ford church), and explicit prayers for the dead. I doubt whether she could have got away with that in a parish church ... remember all the trouble preceding the consecration of S Saviour's, Leeds ... but this was a private chapel on private ground.

1856 is interestingly early for the building of such an edifice in the post-Reformation Church of England ... you will not be surprised to learn that the architect was William Butterfield.

I'm going to offer a Mass for the repose of the souls of Lady Augusta and her family. One has to keep faith with such people, doesn't one?
To continue.


Unknown said...

I was reminded of the chantry chapel in the parish church of Grinton, North Yorkshire. This is right by the bridge over the river Swale. The following link takes you to a webpage concerning riverside and bridge chantry chapels. Apologies if foreign links are forbidden on your webpage. http://justbod.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/the-chantry-chapel-one-of-last.html

Chatto said...

It's a bit of a tenuous link, I think, but there is a chantry chapel on the bridge over the River Calder in Wakefield (Yorkshire, again), likewise dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin. Sandal Castle is to the south, on a hillock overlooking the river. Don't know if there's an actual link between the castle and the chapel, though.