St Martin’s Church, Stamford

St Martin’s Church, Stamford, one five remaining churches of the original fourteen. It being south of the River Welland, closest to the Burghley estate, contains a number of monuments to the Cecil family, most notably William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, chief advisor to Elizabeth I during most of her reign.

Cecil Family Tree @

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

A magnificent monument, exceptionally carved.

Tomb of William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley (1520-1598)
Tomb of William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley (1520-1598)

Knight of the Garter robes and badge on the left shoulder.

Detail of the Knight of the Garter Badge
Knight of the Garter Badge

Garter below the left knee.

Detail of William Cecil's Garter below the left knee

Detail of the lion on which the Baron’s feet rest.

Detail of Lion on which William Cecil's  feet rest

Detail showing the white (curiously black now probably as a result of having lost its paint) Staff of Office denoting William Cecil’s role as Lord High Treasurer. The well known picture of William Cecil in the National Portrait Gallery (one of forty-five) shows him with his Staff of Office.

Detail of William Cecil's Staff of Office of Lord Treasurer

Detail of the finely carved sabatons.

Detail of sabatons (feet armour)

Detail of the armour in particular the couter that protects the elbow joint and its hinge by which it is fixed.

Note also the ermine lining of the Knight of the Garter cloak.

Detail of William Cecil's couter

Monument to Richard Cecil and his wife Jane Heckington

William Cecil’s parents as well to three daughters who form the weepers to the monument. Richard Cecil was a prominent courtier to Henry VIII; his wealth increased as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries.

Groom of the Robes to Henry VIII and Edward VI.

Buried in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster.

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Monument to Brownlow Cecil, 2nd Marquis Exeter

Brownlow Cecil the son of Henry Cecil, 1st Marquess Exeter, whose sixteen year tenure as MP for Stamford, a family controlled seat, commenced aged 20. He, apparently, made little contribution to the House of Commons, although it resulted, inexplicably, in a Marquessate from George III.

His first wife, Emma Vernon, eloped with her lover, the new curate at Hanbury. Heavily in debt he then lived anonymously in Wales as a farmer marrying, aged 36, bigamously, a local farmers daughter Alice Hoggins, 16.

Inheriting aged 39 he and his family moved to Burghley House.

Brownlow, the second son inherited at his father’s death in 1804 aged eight.

Brownlow’s career somewhat busier than his father’s being Lord Chamberlain, Lord Steward, Lord Lieutenant of Rutland and Northamptonshire and Groom of the Stole somewhat emulating the career of his ancestor William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley including being appointed Knight of the Garter.

Monument to Richard Cecil and his wife Jane Heckington

Monument to John Cecil, 5th Earl Exeter

John Cecil, great great grandson of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.

A magnificent monument, if somewhat overdone, somewhat incongruous in its surroundings, in the classical style probably as a result of his European travels . A lesson, perhaps, not to follow fashion.

Son of John Cecil, 4th Earl of Exeter, a 5 x Great Grandson of Henry VII through his mother Elizabeth Edgerton, and Frances Manners, a 8 x Great Granddaughter of Edward III.

He married Anne, daughter of William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire.

John Cecil, 5th Earl Exeter
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Hastings Chapel, St Helen’s Church, Ashby de la Zouche

Recently visited St Helen’s Church in Ashby de la Zouche to see the monuments in the Hastings Chapel, in particular, the monument to Francis 2nd Earl Huntingdon and his wife Catherine Pole.

Hastings Chapel, St Helen’s Church, Ashby de la Zouche, Leicestershire

A very well preserved monument with some fascinating detail including the Manticore, the Hasting’s badge, at the Earl’s feet, and the garter on his left leg, just below the knee, and on his left shoulder.

Francis 2nd Earl Huntingdon in the Hastings Chapel Ashby de la Zouche
Francis was descended from Edward III in multiple ways as was his wife Catherine Pole. His ancestors included most of the primary families of England: Camoys, Neville, Beaufort, Montagu, Holland, Hungerford, Percy, Stafford, Beauchamp, Berkeley, Woodville as well as Luxembourg. Francis and Catherine had eleven children together. Catherine’s younger sister married Francis’ younger brother Thomas.

Francis took a prominent role at King Edward VI’s coronation on the 20 Feb 1547, carrying St Edward’s staff, as well as at the tournament that followed.

Francis was invested as a Knight of the Garter on 13 Oct 1549, the same day on which he arrested Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, who was subsequently beheaded Jan 1552, with his nephew, King Edward VI, casually noting ‘the duke of Somerset had his head cut off upon Tower Hill between eight and nine o’clock in the morning’.

Francis was imprisoned in 1553 for having supported Lady Jane Grey. Pardoned by Queen Mary I soon after he demonstrated his allegiance to Queen Mary I by, on her orders, arresting Lady Jane Grey’s father, Henry, who, initially being pardoned, was subsequently beheaded 23 Feb 1554 for his support of Wyatt’s attempt to prevent Queen Mary I marrying King Philip I of Spain.

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Detail of the Earl’s Coronet and helm.

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Detail of the Manticore on which the Earl’s feet rest. The Manticore being the badge of the Hasting’s family.


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Detail showing the Earl’s Knight of the Garter Badge.

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Monument to Warner Francis John Plantagenet Hastings 14th Earl Huntingdon

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Monument to Francis John Clarence Westenra Plantagenet Hastings 15th Earl Huntingdon

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