Monday, 19 November 2012

Ingrave, Essex

I know on an intellectual level that I should dislike St Nicholas but I don't - it's splendid but sadly locked.

ST NICHOLAS. The most remarkable C18 church in the county. Erected in 1735 by Lord Petre of Thomdon Hall. The architect is unknown. He cannot have been far from Hawksmoor. Red brick. Massive W tower widened by recessed polygonal turrets, which rise above the parapet of the tower. This rests on an arched corbel frieze. Big inscription plate. The interior much plainer. Nave with central entrances from N and S; arched windows. Narrower chancel with arch on very thick imposts. - FONT. Perp, octagonal, with quatrefoil panels. - PULPIT. Panelled, probably c. 1735. - BRASSES. Margaret Wake d. 1466, wearing a butterfly headdress. - Sir Richard Fitzlewes d. 1528 and his four wives.

St Nicholas (2)

INGRAVE. It lies two miles from Brentwood by the lovely woodlands of Thorndon Hall and a medieval farm with a timbered house. The church is one of the rare 18th century buildings, with a big tower, and in it are some treasures from the lost churches of this and a neighbouring village. From old Ingrave church came the Tudor font and a 17th century communion table; and from West Horndon came the most beautiful things Ingrave has to show - a stately brass of Margaret Wake, who died in 1466, and a magnificent group of Sir Richard FitzLewes and his four wives. Sir Richard, who died in 1528, wears a rich tabard over his armour and his head rests on a crested helmet. Three of his wives wear heraldic mantles which give them great dignity. There are roundels and ermine, bugle horns and a dancing goat, and other quaint heraldic devices.

A bitter fate was soon to befall this family. In a few years time, so the story runs, John FitzLewes was burned to death with his bride on the night of his wedding, and his wealth passed to his sister, who became a ward to Henry the Eighth, he giving her in marriage to John, the son of the first Lord Mordaunt. They lie in one of the lovely tombs at Turvey in Bedfordshire.

Thorndon Hall and its 1500 acres passed to the Petre family who came here from Ingatestone in the reign of Elizabeth. In its 18th century Roman Catholic chapel lies James Radcliffe, the romantic Earl of Derwentwater who perished on Tower Hill in 1716. His was a tragic story.

When James the Second, flying in haste from the throne of England settled at St Germain in France, the second Earl of Derwentwater and his wife (a daughter of Charles the Second) joined him in exile. There in 1689 was born their son James Radcliffe, to spend his childhood with the young James Stuart, known in history as the Old Pretender. James Radcliffe came to England in 1710 and lived in his ancestral homes at Dilston in Northumberland and on Lord’s Island in beautiful Derwentwater.

Five years later the Stuarts raised their call again, summoning their friends to the hopeless task of regaining the throne for them. Radcliffe was wise, and he hesitated, but the king’s sister he had married accused him of cowardice, threw her fan at his feet, and cried : “Pick up that fan and give me your sword. I will take the field and you can stay at home.”

Stung to the heart, the earl picked up the fan and solemnly handed it back to his wife; then, drawing his sword, he cried, God Save King James, and set out for battle and the grave. With a small group of retainers he eluded the oificers who already had a warrant for his arrest, and joined the Jacobite Army. He fought with great courage at the battle of Preston, but was taken prisoner and carried to the Tower. There was a great trial in Westminster Hall, and he was condemned to death. So gallant was his bearing that he won the admiration of all, and his friends made great efforts to save him, £60,000 being offered to Sir Robert Walpole for his life, while his wife, in her remorse, went on her knees to King George the First to beg for his life. But there was no mercy for this tragic youth; he died in the cause of the companion of his childhood, one of the last of a faithful host sacrificed for a faithless House.

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