Brass of the Month

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October 2014 - William, 1523, & Alice Brugge, Longdon, Worcestershireshire

The brass of William and Alice Brugge (or Bridges) is on a modern slab standing upright at the north-west end of the nave of St Mary's church at Longdon. It was originally in the north aisle but the church, apart from the tower, was entirely rebuilt around 1786. The brass was described and illustrated by Barnard and Parker in their continuation of Francis James Thacker's 'The Monumental Brasses of Worcestershire' in the Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society. Unfortunately they based their identification of Alice's family on the surviving shield rather than the text of the inscription.

    The brass now consists of the figures of William and Alice, a shield and three fragments of the marginal inscription. According to the Worcestershire historian, Nash, the inscription read as follows:

Pray for the souls of William Brugge, of Estington in the county of Worcester, Esq. sonne and heire of Thomas Brugge, of Dimmoche in the county of Gloucester, Esq. and Alice his wyfe. daughter and heir of William Estington, Esq. lord of the manor of Estington in Longdon The which William deceased the 29th day of April in the year of our Lord God, 1523.

As the remaining parts show, Nash modernised the spelling and turned the numbers into figures. Quite why Barnard and Parker chose to ignore the information given in the inscription, which clearly dates from the period between the deaths of William in 1523 and Alice in 1538/9, is not clear. They instead opted to identify her as Alice Hackluyt. The remaining shield bears Brugge, [Argent] on a cross [sable] a leopard's face [or], a crescent for difference, impaling Hacket or Hackluyt, [Argent] three battle axes erect [gules]. These arms represent the marriage of William's grandparents, Thomas Brugge, second son of Sir John de Brugge of Solers and Standon, and Alice, daughter of Hugh Hackett. Other arms described by Nash on the shields lost from the brass have not been identified.

    Also missing now are the figures of eleven sons below William and five daughters below Alice. The manor of Eastington passed to their son Giles Bridges on Alice's death. Two of William's younger brothers ended up up in London, Sir John Bridges being Lord Mayor in 1520-1 and Edmund, a draper, marrying a daughter of John Hart, Chamberlain of London. One of Edmund's daughters was commemorated on brass at Dummer in Hampshire much later in the century: her figure has gone although her husband's remains. The inscription there styles her Kinborough, whereas she was called Henborough after her grandmother. Maude, the daughter of Thomas Henborough brought Dymock in Gloucestershire to the Brugges as heir to her father.

    The figures of William and Alice are considerably larger than usual for the period and have the appearance of being personalised to the extent that they both have animals beneath their feet rather than the grassy mounds that most effigies have at this time. William has a lion and Alice an animal with a wide collar with bells. It has a short snout and may be a bear rather than a dog. Otherwise the effigies are of a standard London-made design, although Alice has wide sleeves rather the narrow cuffs more generally found before 1530.

    William Brugge is credited with adding considerably to Easington Hall, the Grade I rated house inherited from the Easington family standing a mile or so outside the village of Longdon.


E A B Barnard and J F Parker,  'The Monumental Brasses of Worcestershire' part iv, Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society,

vol 15 (1938).

Copyright: Jon Bayliss