St. Vedast's Church, Tathwell, near Louth, Lincolnshire.

The Hamby Monument

The Hamby Monument was originally erected in around the 1620's as a single wall monument with kneeling figures of a couple of adults and all of the small children kneeling below. It is thought that sometime later (Probably late in the 1700's) a similar wall monument, possibly to the same family, was removed from the wall opposite to enable the large hanging wall monument by Prince Hoare of Bath to be erected. Rather than have the trouble of re-erecting the monument it was added on to the top of this one to leave it as it is today. The only other alteration which was carried out was the white marble tablet with the Chaplin inscription was inserted betwee the two lower adult figures round about 1714. This was to give the viewer the impression that the Chaplin family had descended from such an illustrious line as the Hamby's. So this monument was in actual fact originally two. Photograph: Peter Fairweather.
I became involved with this one day when Terence Leach recommended me to give a talk on Church Monuments to try raise money for the monument as they were having trouble getting anything from the usual sources of help for church item conservation funds. When I gave the talk a useful but small amount was raised and I disagreed strongly about the verdict of the so-called experts that it was not in bad enough condition yet to be considered for funds. On examination I found it was dangerously free standing for half of it's height and promised to use any influence I had to help.

I immediately contacted Mr John Coales of the Francis Coales Charitable Foundation, instructed the church members to send a full report to him, and asked for assistance. John came up to Lincolnshire and visited Tathwell where he was very impressed with the church members concern and proposals and the fact that they had put the Church into good order first before tackling the inner decorating and monument restoration. They were immediately offered as much as they needed to have the monument(s) dismantled and conserved. When the other church fund assisting bodies were informed of this they were then willing to help and the conservation was put in hand immediately.

Photograph: Peter Fairweather.

The monument was dismantled completely and rebuilt on a lead skin backed with pitch with non corroding cramps to hold it together and to the wall. The dismantling confirmed my thoughts on the origins of it and the rebuilds.

Some time later I went over to have a further look at the success the conservators had made and found a small glass topped table in front of the monument recording the church members thanks for those who had rendered such valuable assistance. I was extremely pleased and rather proud to find I had been included amongst the names thereon. It was a very pleasant and pleasing way to give thanks. The monument which was able to sway when touched and whose figures were totally free standing is now quite safe and the figures can now no longer be picked up at will.


This site is a work in progress. Last updated 1st March 1999.

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