Brass of the Month
Copyright © 2015 Monumental Brass Society (MBS)
Page last updated 05 August 2015
Copyright: Jon Bayliss
August 2015 -
Print this page:
This month's brass is one that will be seen by those attending the Society's Norwich conference next month. It commemorates Thomas Capp, D. C. L., vicar of St Stephen's church in Norwich, who died in 1545/6.
When this brass was listed by Mill Stephenson in A List of Monumental Brasses in the British Isles in 1926, he failed to identify it as 'local'. It is in fact the work of two different Norwich workshops. To the late Roger Greenwood, a vice president of the Society and first editor of its Bulletin, we owe a great deal for his epic work in identifying the output of the different Norwich workshops. He found that seven different styles of lettering could be attributed to Norwich marblers in a period of around a hundred years from the 1440s to the very early 1550s. Thomas Capp's inscription is one of the latest and belongs to a large group that Roger tentatively associated with the marbler William Thacker, who made his will in 1551/2, although it was not proved until 1563. Will evidence, unknown to Roger, strongly suggests that Thacker took over an existing workshop in the 1530s and continued to make very similar brasses. Capp's inscription is one of two in the church of the mid-
Both the Buttry and Capp brasses are set in slabs of Purbeck marble, which was a material that was not used for Norwich made brasses once an alternative supply of stone had been established in the early part of the second half of the fifteenth-
Thomas Capp was a Cambridge graduate, awarded a B.A. in 1493 and B. Civ. L. in 1501-
Such iconoclasm would have been a complete anathema to William Thacker, whose outspoken views on the religious reforms under Henry VIII brought him into such serious conflict with the authorities that he was very lucky to survive and continue with his work of making brasses. Even he, however, had to bow to the economic realities of the high copper alloys prices after 1525 and the easy availability of old metal and marble slabs after the Reformation, as his reuse of older brasses and Purbeck marble slabs for the Buttry and Capp memorials demonstrates.
For information on Norwich-