Cadaver Tombs

Church of St Stephen, Hackington near Cantebury, Kent.


The Marwood Tomb.

On the center inscription it reads:-
"At the judgement, there is no respect of persons. Remember the last things (*) and you will not sin again. No one is blessed before his death.
Roger Marwood, Knight.
Learn to die to the world, learn to live to God.
23 April 1567 "Serviens ad Legum" (**)
14th October 1572 "Justicarius de Banco" (***)
17th November 1578 "Miles et capitalis" (****)
Baron of the Treasury.
He died December 14th Anno Domini 1592."

(*) The "last things" are Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell.
(**) Made a Barrister..
(***) Made a Judge.
(****) Knighted.

On the left hand side of the monument:-

"When you see this tomb, why do you not scorn mortal things?
For in such a home any man becomes a worm -- death rules and
he is made equal to the worms.
Bend your eyes , see me confined in marble, oh man, I am the
mirror image of your death. Now weeping, gaze; standing,
pray; often remember that unexpected death snatches away a
splendid life. Before I was a judge, now I am before the
tribunal of the Judge. As I answer, I fear. I myself am
judged now.
Light passes. Where there is law, where there is praise,
where there is fame, they are silent. Indeed, the half dead
voice scarcely pronounces my name. I am not the man I was.
My widowed flesh is buried. The mind due to be renewed
atones for earlier deeds badly done -- endowed after my flesh
with heavenly light. I hope, Oh God, to see Thee who art my
health. Virtue lives beyond the grave."

On the right hand side of the monument.

"All earthly things in turn belong to others; now mine, now
this man’s and afterwards who knows whose? Courage as
leader, industry as companion, content with one’s lot.
Justice is approved by reason, capable of deciding in
doubtful matters, supported by the public authority to carry
out laws; that is punishment for evil-doers, reward for good
men, to give to give to each man what is his.
The state is the mother of riches for each man.
He founded a school at Sandwich and endowed it for boys. He
made the Hackington almshouses and endowed it for the old.
What is just should be justly done. Action is the praise of



The vault was opened out of curiosity in 1962 and the coffins had already been badly damaged with something like a pickaxe. The coffins were in the main made of wood and had covering mistakenly referred to as leather but would really be aged velvet which takes on the appearance of leather due to age and dust impregnation. some coffins also had a lead construction. In the pictures the small coffin at the back on the right hand side shelf appears to be a small (Possibly very small child’s or babies) cope lidded lead shell.


Sir Roger Manwood.


In 1691 there was a man living in the parish of Hackington, a small village just outside Canterbury, named Richard Crooke who was not only one of the Parishes churchwardens but also a historian of his day particularly of events which happened round and about this area of Kent.

He wrote of the past that:-

"This parish did formerly appertain to the monks of Christchurch in Canterbury. Who in the year of Christ 1227 did exchange this parish with Steven Langton then Archbishop., for other houses, where the Archdeacons used to dwell, scituated near the Priory of St Gregoryes in the parish of Northgate, Canterbury. Which Archbishop Langton did in the said year 1227 annex this Parsonage of Hackington to the Archdeaconry of Canterbury. And from that time Simon Langton, then Archdeacon of Canterbury removed from St Gregory’s: and he, and his successors had a fixed Mansion House in this parish untill the reign of King Henry the eighth. But in generall suppression it was pluckt off from the church and annexed to the Crown. Where it continued untill R. Elizabeth granted it to Sir Roger Manwood."

The above item was written in 1691 and I have reproduced it in the way it was put down complete with his spelling and punctuation, and shows how Sir Roger Manwood became resident in Hackington.

Sir Roger Manwood was born in Sandwich in 1525, the second son of Thomas and Catherine Manwood who were very successful Drapers in the town and very much respected. Roger’s Grandfather on his Mother’s side was John Galloway from the north coast of Norfolk at Cley-next-the-sea.

Roger was educated at St Peter’s school in Sandwich, he is thought to have taken a University course and was admitted to the Inner Temple and studied Law. He was called to the bar in 1555 at the age of 30.

In 1555 he was also appointed Recorder for Sandwich and elected as Member of Parliament for Hastings, and exchanged that parliamentary seat for the of Sandwich. He had also won the favour of Elizabeth first and in 1563 he was "given" the "estate" of Hackington by her for his use.

At that time a huge mansion named "Place House" stood in the field next to St Stephen’s parish church. Roger set about furnishing it in a sumptuous manner and it became one of the best residences in the area. He spent a vast amount on the restoration of St Stephen’s which he came to regard as his own and.

He soon became a popular man and judge for his area and in 1557 he was given the freedom of Southampton.

He was also a disciplinarian and decreed the punishment for disloyalty to the Monarch.

  1. Imprisonment for Life.
  2. Having ones Tongue cut off.
  3. Having ones face burned (Branded?)

-and he was not jesting either! He was one of the commission who sat to discuss the Annabaptist theory and had one of their theorists bunt at the stake in Smithfield London.

A letter was written about Roger Manwood which said:-

"He hath more occasions of scanduling than all the judges and lawyers in England, and hath gained many round sums of money thereby. If you allow him to remain in office you will be sure to harbour a snake in your bosom. The Chief Baron’s arrogance is unbearable, he can hardly abide any equals but no superiors: he is as proud a man as ever I knew, and truly keeps all men in fear of him because of his place, and seldom or never is any man suffered to speak but himself in any assembly."

Manwood was a thoroughly corrupt and unscrupulous man which one might try to excuse by saying that was the way in Elizabethan times but he was both a bigot and crooked without doubt.

Despite criticism Manwood’s power increased and his status grew through his judicial duties and he was knighted by the Queen at Richmond on 15th November 1578 and was appointed Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer two days later. He sat on the commission to decide the fate of Mary, Queen of Scots. And became a very wealthy man.

For his own prestige he had the south transept of St Stephen’s church, built Almshouses for the poor of the parish, gave free meals to the residents of the same on Sundays. (but provided them with materials so they could make items to be sold in the local market!) In 1588 he provided for the complete refurbishment of the church interior and had the south transept of the church to be rebuilt to house his memorial which was designed and installed by Maxximillian Colt a Hugenot.. This are is still referred to as The Manwood Chapel and the memorial was probably inserted then with certain details omitted from the dedication plates.

Manwood founded the grammar school with his name in Sandwich and gave a peal of bells and gave the font which is reputed to have been found near the church but is thought more likely to have been acquired from a church in Sussex and re-carved to his instructions.

He founded a house of correction near the west gate in Canterbury and he was obliged to cross the River Medway on his route to and from London so he gave the money for a reliable and permanent bridge at Rochester.

Another item in the Records also says that "his handwriting was the most illegible ever seen."

In his sixties his mind seemed to fail and there were many unanswered mischiefs by him. In 1591 he began to sell property which didn’t belong to him, and that he attempted to use his knowledge of the law to his own advantage. (Not quite so sharp he couldn’t keep track of things. He attempted to pervert the course of justice and was accused of various allegations and was charged with them by the Bishop of Dover one Richard Rogers. As well as the selling of a Queen’s Pardon for 250, an awful lot of money in those days he was also accused of selling a stolen gold watch and chain and arraigned before the Privy Council in April 1592 as well as attempting to bribe authority into granting him the position of CHIEF Justice of the Queens Bench Division (The Highest Judicial Post) and refused to acknowledge the authority of the Privy Council. He was sent home to be under House arrest until his could pass any verdicts on him.

He died on 14th December 1592 at the age of 67 and was buried in St Stephens in the family vault prepared beforehand, before any verdicts could be passed.




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