I took a detour on a recent trip to Carlisle to visit St Andrew’s Church, Greystoke, Cumbria, to see the two effigies of the Greystoke Family: William, 2nd Baron Greystoke, and his grandson John, 4th Baron Greystoke. Both effigies, much damaged, have some interesting features.
William died in 1359 at Brancepeth Castle. His effigy typical of the Edwardian, or Camail and Jupon Period. On his head he wears the pointed bascinet with a camail (or aventail) ie the curtain of mail suspended from the helmet and falling over the shoulders to protect the neck. The jupon under which his coat of chain mail may be seen. His sword belt is low on his jupon, horizontal. He appears to have a moustache.
His funeral was attended by Roger 5th Baron Clifford (William’s son Ralph, who had become Roger’s ward after his father’s death, married Roger’s daughter Catherine in 1377) and Henry Scrope 1st Baron Masham reflecting his status in northern England.
John, 4th Baron Greystoke died in 1426. His armour is typical of the Lancastrian or Early Plate Period; plate armour has replaced the camail and jupon.
His pauldrons (shoulder plates), are unusual in their style. His arms are fully encased in plate with a couter (or coude) protecting the elbow joint. Fine detail of the straps that held the armour in place may be seen on the underarms.
A gorget, or neck armour, has replaced the camail.
His head is, very unusually, bare as is his face, his hair cut in the style so typical of portraits of Henry V. Gardner1 states “It is a remarkable fact that before 1440 the bare-headed warrior is almost unknown, while after 1455 the helmeted knight is almost equally rare”. This may suggest the effigy was made somewhat after John’s death or, possibly, that the effigy has been incorrectly assigned.
His head rests on the decorated tournament helm.
He wears the Lancastrian SS collar. John had supported the usurpation of Richard II by Henry IV in the 1390s; staunch Lancastrians. John had married, in 1407, Elizabeth Ferrers, daughter of Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III.
Two sword belts: diagonal (bawdric) and horizontal. The jupon, beneath the waist has been replaced by a fauld; horizontal strips of metal that wrap around.
The Weepers, of which few are left, would have decorated the sides of the chest tomb on which John’s effigy would have lain. They are somewhat reminiscent of those of the tomb of Alice de la Pole at Ewelme, Oxfordshire although she died much later in 1475.
The two effigies as they are now. Note the nearer, William may have been incorrectly placed in the canopy.
1 Gardner. Alabaster Tombs of the Pre-Reformation Period in England