Bottesford: St Mary





John, 4th Earl of Rutland and Elizabeth Manners

Recumbent peer and lady

Alabaster by Garret Johnson

1588:1594: Erected in 1591

Bearded with short curly hair, John is depicted lying on a partly rolled up mattress. Wearing less armour than Edward, he also wears a ruff and coronet. A bull, with a coronet round his neck, lies at his feet. The articulations of the lower part of the peasecod breastplate are typical of the English type of armour of the period.

Countess Elizabeth, who ordered both Edward's and her husband's memorials, would have seen her own effigy which is dressed in an ermine mantle, ruff and falling ruffles. At her feet is a lion's head, with a protruding tongue, while two embroidered cushions support her head, bedecked in a jewelled headdress.

The eldest son Roger, is seen in effigy between his parent's feet, while that of the eldest daughter Bridget, who became Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth and who is remembered in effigy in Bigby, Lincolnshire, is between her parents' heads.

Four of the other surviving children (Francis, Elizabeth, Frances, George and Oliver, who was knighted by James at Belvoir in 1603) are depicted kneeling along the south side of the tomb chest. Oliver became an ardent Roman Catholic and as such was obliged to live for a period abroad. He died in 1613. On the east end on the chest is the effigy of Mary, who died in infancy in April 1588.

The gadrooning on the bevel of the tomb-chest is a trait of the Southwark School. The inscription, on two tablets, reads:

The right honourable and noble Lord John Erle of Rutlande, Lord Rosse of Hamelac, Trusbote, Belvoyre, lieth here buried. He succeeded his brother Edward in the Erledome and Baronnies, and therein lived until Satterday the 24th day of February then nexte followinge in the same yeare, 1587, on which day he deceased at Nottingham, from whence his corps was hither brought and buried on the 2nd day of April followinge, 1588.

He was made Lieutenante of the county of Nottingham 1587. Hee had yssue by his most honourable and vertuous lady Elizabeth Charleton, daughter of Fraunces Charleton, esq, five sonnes, to witte, Edward, who died at the age of . . . Roger, now Erle of Rutland, Lord Rosse of Hamelac, Trusbote, and Belvoyre, Fraunces, George and Oliver: and four daughters; Bridget, Elizabeth, Mary (deade in her infancy), and Fraunces borne after her father's death.

On the two pillars supporting the canopy of the monument:

These two tombs for Edward and John Erles of Rutland were founded and erected in October 1591. By that most honorable and vertuous countess Elizabeth, wife to Erle John.

Above the tomb are the arms: Quarterly of sixteen

1. Or, two bars azure, a chief quarterly of the last and gules, in the first and fourth quarters two fleurs-de-lis, and in the second and third a lion passant guardant all or (Manners) 2. Gules, three water-bourgets argent (Roos) 3. Gules, three catherine wheels argent (Espec) 4. Azure, a catherine wheel or (Belvoir) 5. Gules, a fess between six crosslets or (Beauchamp) 6. Checky argent and azure, a chevron ermine (Newburgh) 7. Gules, a chevron between ten crosses paty argent (Berkerley) 8. Or, a fess between two chevrons sabel (Lisle) 9. Gules, a lion passant guardant argent (Lysley) 10. England within a bordure argent (Holland, Earl of Kent) 11. Argent, a saltire engrailed gules (Tiptoft) 12. Or, a lion rampant gules (Charleston Lord Powys) 13. Argent, a fess cotised gules (Badlesmere) 14. Checky argent and gules (Vaux of Gillesland) 15. Gules, an eagle displayed within a bordure argent (Albini ancient) 16. Or, two chevronels within a bordure gules (Daubeney) impaling Or, a lion rampant gules (Charlton) quartering Gules, ten bezants (Zouch).

On the eastmost pillar are the above arms impaling quarterly 1. and 4. Or, a lion rampant gules (Charleton), 2. and 3. Gules, ten bezants (Zouch).

On the westmost pillar are 1. and 4 Charlton. 2. and 3. Zouch.

The swan neck pediment is decorated with four hawk heads.

The Belvoir Castle accounts relating to these tombs still survive and give an interesting insight into how the tombs were transported and erected as well as the state of the Elizabethan roads (on the way from Boston to Bottesford one of the wagon's axles broke).

This monument, above which a sword and pair of gauntlets hang on the wall, was constructed by the same men and at the same time as that for Edward, 3rd Earl. They cost £100 each and were made in Southwark and sent by sea to Boston, where they loaded by seventeen workmen into fifteen carts for the 30-mile journey to Bottesford.

Gerard's son, Nicholas, who executed the memorial to Roger, the fifth Earl in 1616, lived at the village baker's for six weeks while he supervised the erection of his work. We learn from the accounts that resin and wax were mixed together to make a type of cement and that an ash tree was felled for making the trestles that supported the effigies while the tomb-chests were being installed. Lime, sand and stones were used to make the rougher cement that would not be seen.

Sepulchral Effigies of Leicestershire and Rutland
Text copyright 2002 Max Matthews.
Images copyright Bob Trubshaw or Max Matthews 2002.
No copying or reproduction without prior written permission.
Published by Heart of Albion Press