The Monumental Church Brasses of Thurrock



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Thurrock Church Brasses

St. Clement's contains two brasses, both of which are in their original positions on the chancel floor although in 1901 they were found loose in the vicarage. Both brasses are of members of the Heies family who held the advowson of St Clement. that is, the right to present to the benefice or living of the church. The first brass that we can see is to Humphrey Heies and his son, also Humphrey. (Fig 5) They died within a few mouths of each other, the father in October 1584 and the son in January 1585. These two figures, 47 cms. long and 42 cms. long respectively, are a good indication of the fashions of the time showing an elaborate attire of capes, ruffs hose and garters. Beneath each figure is a verse, in Latin, making a pun on the name Heies, using the Latin foenum (hay) as a literal translation of the surname.

An English version follows:
The grass, cut by the scythe dries and turns to Heie
And afterwards to dust so follow they.
All flesh is grass. Death cuts, and this again
Will turn to Heie, and then as dust remain.
Let Humphrey Heie the truth of this confess
Who gets his name of Heies, omitting s.
How well the Heie in fact and Heie in name
Agree, let scripture tell - they're both the same.
To poor, thou wast as Grass and food on earth:
From Heie to grass will be thy coming birth;
For, when God bids his dust to rise, thou'lt be
Not Heie but Grass, and flower eternally.

He died October 10th 1584.

Soon Humphrey died, the Son - unlike in this
He had not of chaste wedlock known the bliss.
In all else, like his father - far and near
To all around, both rich and poor, as dear.
Like him, too, he was Heie in fact and name
Till, like his father, Heie like dust became.
God grant a flow'r may spring of it; and may
Both live with Christ in blessedness, we pray.

He died January 22nd 1585.

The second brass is to Katherine Redinge, daughter of Humphrey Heies. This brass is on the chancel floor but is completely hidden by the choir stalls. The illustration (Fig. 6.) was photographed from 'Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeology' 1901. The figure is 48 cms long and also wears the attire of the Elizabethan period, consisting of a broad-brimmed, round topped hat, a large ruff and, showing beneath her loose, belted over-gown, is an elaborately embroidered skirt. Katherine died 16th December 1591, aged 24. As she was heir to Humphrey Heies the advowson of the church passed to her husband Thomas Redinge.

Fig. 5















Fig. 6


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