|There are six monumental brasses. The
oldest (Fig.1) lies in the floor of the sanctuary on the
north side. It is a memorial to a medieval priest of the
church, Rudolph Perchehay, and the inscription in Latin
bids, 'Pray for the soul of Rudolph Perchehay, sometime
rector of this church'. The figure measures 38cms. long
and dates from c. 1380. William Palin, who was rector
1834-1882, describes the brass thus, 'in Eucharistic
vestments; viz., the chasuble, alb and amice, with the
fylfot cross on the collar. The hair is rather long and
flowing, the face good and expressive of character.' The
fylfot cross, or swastika, was often used for decoration
in the Middle Ages,
The next (Fig.2) is to John Ardalle
and Ann his wife, 1504. The figures are 46cms. long and
the inscription reads:
'Of youre charite pray for the soulle of John Ardalle
gentylman sutym lord of Stifford and Ann his wyfe which
John decesid the last day of May, the yere of oure lord
MCCCCCIIII, and for his fader soulle and his moder soulle
and all crystyn soullys; on whose soullys ihu (Jesus)
have mercy, amen.'
The brass was moved in the 19th century from the floor
of the chantry to the South Chapel beneath the lancet
windows. John Ardalle is in civil costume edged with fur
and his ornamented waist belt has a purse attached to it.
His wife wears the usual costume of the time with a long
enriched waist-band. There are four shields of arms (Fig.
2a). The upper dexter bears a chevron. The upper sinister
bears a chevron between three estoiles - Ardalle of Essex.
The lower dexter bears three bulls' heads couped. The
lower sinister, a lion rampant between nine cross
To the right of John Ardalle on the wall of the South
Chapel is a later brass which was placed there from its
original position near the east end of the chantry floor.
It is to Ann Lathum (Fig3) who died in 1627 at the early
age of seventeen. The figure, which is 32cms. long, is
above a poignant inscription which reads: 'Here under
lyeth the body of Ann Lathum y daughter of Thomas Lathum
of Stifford gent. who died the 25 daye of December 1627
in y 17 yeares of her age.
Behold in me the life of man
Compared by David to a span
Who in strength death cal'd away
Before the middle of my daye.
Let friends and parents weepe no more
Her's all the odds I went before.
And let them sone their lives amend
that death may be a welcombe friend.'
Palin describes her as wearing the ordinary pelisse, with
a long stomacher and over it a kind of cloak without
sleeves., the head-dress is something like the Queen of
Scots pattern, showing short flowing hair on each side of
the face. The shoes are extremely small.'
Ann was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Lathum.
Elizabeth was to die 3 years after her daughter's short
life had ended as can be seen by her brass which is now
next to Ann's. The figure is 34 cms. high (Fig 4). 'She
wears a long stomacher and skirt, fastened by bows down
the front. The head-dress consists of a handkerchief
thrown over the head and falling down the back and
shoulders showing short wavy hair at each side of the
face; round the neck is a large ruff.' From the
inscription Elizabeth died at the age of thirty-seven
which again seems a short span these days,
There is a reference in the verse beneath the figure to
the sentiments expressed on her daughter's memorial:
'Here under lyeth the bodie of Elizabeth Lathum the wife
of Thomas Lathum of Stifford gent. Who dyed the 14th day
of Septem. 1630, in the 37 yeare of her age.
Yet once again behold and see
The frayletie of this life in me
And as t'was sayd to me before
Let friends and parents weepe no more
So I may now the phrase returne
Let children all forbeare to mourne
And let them all in love remayne
And be prepar'd Heaven to attayne.'
The brass to the right of Elizabeth Lathum commemorates
more members of the Lathum family. William Lathum and
Susan, his wife (Fig 5). The figures are 47 cms high and
again Willian Palin describes them thus, 'William, on the
dexter side, wears a merchant's cloak lined with fur. His
hair and moustache are moderately short; his beard is
longer and pointed; his feet are small.
Susan wears a very long-waisted stomacher and
fardingdale, and a kind of cloak falling down the back
and having long pendants at the shoulders. She wears a
rather high-crowned hat with a twisted handkerchief round
the crown.' The inscription reads:
Here under lyeth y bodyes of Willian Lathum
gent late Lord of Stifford & Susan his wife
which sayd William was y sone of Thomas
Lathum of Northokendon Esq deceased
who was y sone & heire of Rob. Lathum
deceased who maried y daughter & heire
of John Ardalle deceased sometime Lord
of Stifford, & y sayd Will. dyed y 6th
day of Decemb An Dni 1622 & y sayd Susan
was y daughter of Symon Sampson of Carsey
in y countie of Suffolk Esquire deceased
which y sayd Susan dyed y 26 of Aug An Dni 1621.
Above them are three shields of arms (Fig. 5a).
1 . The Lathum and Ardalle arms quarterly with a crescent
for difference. (Difference or cadency is a system used
in heraldry to distinguish similar coats of arms.) A
crescent usually denotes the second son.
3. This shield bears a cross bottonny between 4 escallops.
2. The centre shield is impaled with the other two coats.
As can be seen. the shield 1. shows the incorporation of
the Ardalle shield with the Lathum shield. This occurred
when Thomasine, daughter of John Ardalle (Fig.2), married
Robert Lathum, second son of Hugh Lathum of North
Ockendon and brought him the estate of Stifford.
The last brass in the church is a shrouded Priest c.1500
(Fig.6), who is shown holding a heart. The figure is 50cms.
long in the floor of the west end of the nave. It is very
badly worn and originally had a scroll above the head and
a plate at the feet but only the indents remain. A
drawing (Fig. 6a) shows the head and held heart. The
heart is inscribed with MCY (mercy). Shrouded effigies
became very popular in the middle 15th century but
evidently priests were not often shown thus.