Brass of the Month

June 2008: John Stonor, 1512, Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire


                         


The memorial brass to John Stonor now lies under the communion rail in the Church of at Andrew, at Wraysbury (Wyradisbury), in its cut down Purbeck stone. The brass “was formerly under the feet of the servants in the pew belonging to the lay rector”; its removal in the mid 19thC was “to prevent abrasion from pressure”. The church stands on a slight hill, only noticeable in time of flood, on the edge of the village of Wraysbury in the Thames valley opposite Runnymead. A bronze-age Causeway camp lies alongside the churchyard. Only half a mile from the river Thames on its northern side, Wraysbury is the southernmost parish in the historic county of Buckinghamshire, it is some 4 miles from Heathrow as the crows flew/planes fly, but is now just outside the A 25 ring.


The small 12 inch (305mm) brass is neat and compact and shows John slightly turned to the right. As Wraysbury is less than 4 miles from Eton, John was probably an Eton College scholar. He wears a long cassock with front and neck edged in red; some red pigment remains. The gown is belted and has close sleeves with red edged cuffs. The head gear is a version of an academic square cap with a firm edge all scored to take a pigment. From the cap covering the ears is a broad decorated strap passing below the chin. From the cap flows down a scarf. John stands a on a small mound with grass and flowers; his hands are together. London F design. (In 1980 at St Thomas Salisbury was discovered a palimpsest with, on the orphrey, the same decoration in red pigment as on the ear coverings.)


John, died August 1512, was the only son of Sir Walter and Margaret Stonor. Sir Walter was chief landholder in the village and also constable of the tower of London.


His brass is only one of three in the country to schoolboys, the others are to John Kent a Winchester scholar, 1434, Headbourne Worthy, Hampshire, and Thomas Heron, 1517, of Little Ilford Essex.


An 7 lined inscription to his only sister Elizabeth, died 1560, thrice married, lies nearby as does a fine London F Knight c 1490, of an ancestor, John Brecknock.


John Stonor was the first brass I ever saw and the first I rubbed.  It took some finding.  I used the back of an old map and a 4d stick of heel ball purchased from the wooden legged Great War veteran, a Mr Tilbury, who was the shoe mender in Wraysbury.   So you understand why I am so  fond of it.

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Page last updated 06 April 2008

Copyright: Rosalind M Willatts