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Copyright: Jon Bayliss
Nicholas Purefey, 1545, & wife Jane, Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire
The church of St Michael and All Angels at Fenny Drayton lies close to one of the major roads of England before the motorway era, Watling Street, now the A5, and directly on a subsidiary Roman road. Like all the main Roman roads of the country, Watling Street retained its importance into the modern era and is still heavily used. Such roads were important to the distribution of heavy goods such as monumental brasses in their slabs and alabaster monuments to churches without navigable water nearby. The Purefey (or Purefoy) family, buried in this church and at nearby Caldecote, just the other side of Watling Street, favoured alabaster for their memorials.
Here lieth Nicholas Purefey & Jane hys wyfe son & heire apparant/of Rauf
Purefey esquyer & one of the coheyres of Richard Byngh[a]m esquyer disceassid. And also of Nicholas Strelley knyght late of lynby disceassid whic[h]/Nicholas Purefey dyed the xxth daye of Octobre in the yere/of o[ur] lorde god a thowsand CCCCCXLV.
The west side of the chest has the standing sculpted figures of four sons and a daughter under individual arches with a double arch with a shield of arms being supported by two standing angels. The north end has a single panel with an achievement of arms supported by two kneeling angels. At the corners are pilasters decorated with Italianate Renaissance vase designs probably derived at second-
F A Greenhill linked the incised slabs at Fenny Drayton and Peckleton with a sizeable fragment of a slab showing the upper parts of a man in armour and his wife at Breedon-
The reason for concentrating on these details is to establish that the group of four slabs that Greenhill linked is somewhat larger and to suggest that they are locally made rather than originating, as so many other alabaster slabs seem to do, at Burton-
F A Greenhill, The Incised Slabs of Leicestershire and Rutland (1958)