The Wray Monument

All Saints Church, Branston, Lincolnshire.

The Wray tomb, to Sir Cecil and Dame Mary signed by Thomas Carter the Elder, (Carpentier) can be seen in the Church opposite the south door entrance. It consists of an obelisk with a coat of arms and motto (Painted after the fire) mounted over a tomb chest in the north west corner of the nave. There are two rather less than flattering portrait busts mounted one each side of the obelisk. The one to the left being Sir Cecil Wray who died 9th May 1736, in the 59th year of his Age and the one to the right is his wife Dame Mary whose details of decease are not recorded here at all. She is however recorded elsewhere as having died on 18th of December 1745 and buried at Braumston. (Branston).

It is stated on the monument [in rather a peculiar position!] that it was erected during Sir Cecil's lifetime. I would suggest that this is correct but I doubt if it would have had the busts added to it until after his death or even Dame Mary's as they were probably "House Busts". These often decorated the entrance halls of the large houses and then used as Funerary monument additions, and so were originally purchased with this purpose in mind. The monument design would also be constructed with this later addition taken into consideration. This particular pair of busts were probably made as portrait pieces and could hardly be described as very flattering. I am afraid I would have to agree with Pevsner when he describes them as fat and phlegmatic.

If I had been asked to give an opinion as to the workshop of production I would have suggested that of Jean Francois Roubiliac. The evidence I offer for this is the comparison with the busts of Sir Andrew Fountaine, 1747, and Dr Martin Folkes, 1749 in Wilton House, Wiltshire, both by Roubiliac. Whoever the carver might be though I do not think that I would like to keep them in my entrance hall except perhaps to frighten off unwanted visitors!

Photograph: Peter Fairweather.

Please click the above, coat-of-arms, inscription and busts for closer views. All photographs by Peter Fairweather.



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