Stone Table Tomb - St Lawrence Church, Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Norfolk12
N 52° 07.938 W 000° 59.250
30U E 637744 N 5777663
A unusual table tomb - This is of Archdeacon Sponne, who died in 1448.
Waymark Code: WM9PGB
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 09/14/2010
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
Views: 4

His effigy lies on the top, beneath is a likeness of his corpse.
This is in the Chantry Chapel, the Archdeacon established this chantry with two priests to say masses for his soul.

His monument in the church is very similar to that of Bishop Richard Fleming of Lincoln (died 1431), in the same diocese.
The monument is medieval and of a form in fashion at the time for higher ecclesiastics.

It is a chest tomb, having a fully clothed effigy of the person on the top wearing a cassock, surplice and tippet, with fur-lined sleeves and collar.

Beneath his effigy and inside the arches in the lower section is a representation of his emaciated corpse, indicative of mortality and evidently meant to teach humility.

Cadaver tombs or table tombs were the fashion between 1420 and 1480, and surviving examples are rare, there being only about 150 still in existence.
Whilst this design is rather unusual, it is the type of monument normally associated with large establishments, such as cathedrals and abbeys, and to find one in a typical parish church such as St. Lawrence, clearly suggests that William Sponne was highly regarded in his own lifetime.

The monument is of clunch stone. The sides of the tomb are open arches and on the ledge, the arms of Sponne are repeated. The head and hands are carved locally of oak with the face as a portrait; they were restored to the tomb in 1992 after being removed in 1884, lost and finally re-discovered in the attics of the Vicarage in the 1980’s.
At that time it was believed that the wooden appendages were themselves replacements, however radiocarbon dating in 1984 confirmed that the present wooden head is the original.

Details from the church leaflet.

On the wall at the foot of the tomb, in a wooden frame:

"In Memory of Mr Wm. Sponne Archdeacon of Norfolke
& Rector of Towcester who in the 29th year of King Henry the sixth gave the Talbot in Towcester with y lands belonging to it for y payment of y fifteens for y parish of Towcester
& the pavements being made good. Y remainder to be given to y poor at y discretion of y feoffees appointed to manage y same".

On a slab under the arch dividing the south aisle from the chancel and partially covered by Sponne's tomb:

"In a vault beneath this stone
Lie the remains of the Rev'd William Sponne
Archdeacon of Norfolk
Whose Monument was removed from this spot
In November 1835
To make room fro the new pewing of the Church,
He died A. D. 1449"
Approximate Age of Artefact: c1448

Relevant Website: [Web Link]

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greysman visited Stone Table Tomb -  St Lawrence Church, Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK 10/08/2010 greysman visited it