Cadaver Tombs

Church of St Mary, Worsborough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.


Photograph: Jonathan Goddard. 2001.

The Rockley Memorial

Location: St Mary's Church, Worsborough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, between the Chancel and the Lady Chapel, lying beneath the South Arcade.

The memorial is to Sir Roger Rockley, knight. He was the son of Sir Thomas Rockley. This is an oak double decker cadaver tomb, c1522 (His will is dated 1522).

Although the inscription has been lost, Dodsworth, writing on 16th October 1619 recorded the then remaining fragment as "Hic jacet Rogerus Rockley, miles ...... filius Thomae Rockley, militis."

On the top layer Roger lies in full plate armour with his eyes open and gazing heavenward. According to The Royal Armouries, the armour is typical of a "man-at-arms" of the period but cannot be reasonably identified further.

Photograph: J. Goddard. 2001.

Photograph: J. Goddard. 2001.

 

Although, locally it has long been believed that the paint is in its original state, Fryer in his book on Wooden Effigies, states that it was "crudely repainted" by a Barnsley man in 1836. The whole monument was carefully restored by the local art college in the '60s or '70s, more details are needed; they may have lifted the 1836 paint off or just cleaned it.

The base of the Tomb bears the arms of the Rockley and Mounteney families (Isabel Mounteney was Roger's wife). This is modern paint.

Photograph: J. Goddard. 2001.

The cadaver lies on its open shroud. The anatomical detail is good.

With thanks to Jonathan Goddard.

 

 

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