I often take my students to the wonderful church of All Saints, Gresford, and in this post I want to report on the six medieval funerary monuments known from the church: Gresham’s numbers 136, 156, 174, 198 and 208 and one additional. One is missing.
Enjoy my best crude efforts of photography combined with some near-plagiaristic grifting from Gresham’s 1968 tome with a light seasoning of Gittos and Gittos joy.
Allegedly brought from Pant Iocyn in Action parish in the 19th century, this early 14th-century fragment of grave-slab bears a shield with a sword behind it.
There is a lion rampant on the shield. I just love the beast’s teeth and tail. There are two quatrefoils to fill the space between the legs of the beast.
The shield’s border contains an inscription: (H)IC: IACET: GRIFRI’AP: Y(NYR). Here lies Griffri ab Ynyr.
Below the shield are stems and leaves.
Gresham describes an effigy of an ‘unnamed bishop’ of late 13th or early 14th-century date situated in the north porch – damaged and heavily weathered. He has a mitre and his body is robed in full Eucharistic vestments comprising of an alb, amice, dalmatic and chasuble. He has lost both arms.
I haven’t seen this monument and I wonder where it now is, since I’ve visited Gresford church c. 10 times in the last 10 years and I cannot recall locating this monument. Brian and Moira Gittos don’t list it as ‘missing’ in their review of Gresham in 2012.
This is the awesomely groovy effigy of Madog ap Llywelyn ap Gruffydd with an inscription in Lombardic capitals which reads:
HIC:IACET:MADOC:AP:LEWELIN:AP GRIF….: Here lies Madog ap Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.
It now lies in a later niche in the south aisle’s wall, perhaps especially built to accommodate this effigy.
The head rests on two cushions. He wears a mail coif and his body has a hauberk with sleeves and forearm clad in a ribbed gauntlet. He grasps a sword in his right hand, in its scabbard held by a double sling connected to a strap distributor to a belt secured by a buckle on the right hip. His left arm holds a shield. He has a lion rampart on his surcoat and likewise on his shield.
On his lower half, there is the hem of a quilted aketon below the hauberk, below which the lower halves of gamboised cuisses can be seen. The legs and feet are mail-shod, with spur straps around the ankles.
From historic records for the death of Madog in 1331, we can be assured the effigy is mid-14th century.
This is a grave-slab of late 14th century date and it is trimmed along its outer (left-hand/dexter) edge, perhaps when positioned in its current location during the 15th-century rebuilding of the church. The inscription in the border reads: X HIC:IACET:GRONW:F’:IORWERTH:F’:dd’.CVI’:AIE:DS’:/ABSO/LWAT – Here lies Goronwy son of Iorwerth son of David, whose soul may God absolve.
It bears a wonderful shield with the arms of Goronwy: a spear placed diagonally from corner to corner, and a sword part-drawn from its scabbard. The sword is held by a gauntleted hand with parts of a haulberk and coif in the corner.
Below the shield are leaves in two patterns, divided vertically. Oak-leaves and acorns are on one side, four-lobed leaves on the other. The trails that form the oak leaves spew from the mouth of a lion’s head.
This is the upper half of a late 14th-century male effigy with the head severely damaged. It might be a civilian holding a book. There is a wonderful greyhound by his side.
In addition to these five recorded by Gresham, Brian and Moira Gittos record a further fragment of stone, ‘probably the lower part of a broken and worn slab of unusual design. It still shows the Agnus Dei, a four petal flower and some leaves.
Despite multiple visits to Gresford, I just don’t seem to be able to get the best photographs of these monuments in the dim light, and the whereabouts of 156 eludes me. Gresham 198 is particularly difficult to photograph and so I will be back once more.
Gittos, B. and Gittos, M. 2012. Gresham revisited: a fresh look at the medieval monuments of north Wales, Archaeologia Cambrensis 161: 357-88
Gresham, C.A. 1968. Medieval Stone Carving in North Wales, Cardiff: University of Wales Press