Brass of the Month

September 2007: Lost brass of a lady, c.1415, Castleacre, Norfolk

September's brass of the month is now lost.

One of the problems with the study of brasses is that the student is working with a relatively small sample when compared with the number originally laid down. There is a considerable amount of material available on lost brasses through a number of sources.

1. Indents. These are the recessed hollows in church floors where brasses have been set. Even though the brass may have disappeared many years ago, much can be told from the shapes left

2.  Manuscript sources. Many antiquarians, heraldic visitors and others made notes of what they saw in churches when they visited. Most of these notes are now in museums and record offices and there is much to be discovered in them.

3.  County histories. Many counties have their own historian - Edward Hasted in Kent, Frances Blomefield in Norfolk are two well-known examples.


Blomefield's visits to churches before 1750 record numerous brasses now

lost. In a supplement to Blomefield, published in 1929, an article by

E.M.Beloe contains a number of illustrations of brasses which are now lost.

One of these is this upper half of a lady from Castleacre church in Norfolk.

It has long since vanished.  Dated around 1415, it shows a lady with her

hair gathered into cauls on either side of her head, over which is draped a

veil. She has a tight fitting gown covered by a cloak held together by a

cord ending in tassells.

One picture is a copy of that contained in the book, the other has been

reversed to give the image of a brass rubbing.

Copyright: Peter Heseltine

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Page last updated 20 September 2007