Object Details

Monument to William Ashburnham and Jane, Countess of Marlborough

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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Off A271 (Ashburnham Place)
Town:Ashburnham
Parish:Ashburnham
Council:Rother District Council
County:East Sussex
Postcode:TN33
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Inside building
and in:Religious
Access is:Private
Location note:The Ashburnham Family Chapel, Parish Church of St. Peter.
In the AZ book:East Sussex
Page:101
Grid reference:M5
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.
OS Reference:TQ 689147

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Makers

Name : John Bushnell
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Commissioned by: William Ashburnham
Construction period:1675
Installation date:1675
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Ashburnham Thanksgiving Trust
Description:Large marble monument set against a dark grey marble back wall. In the Baroque style, two cherubs pull back a marble curtain above a sarcophagus atop which the dying figure of Jane, the Countess of Marlborough reclines. Another cherub is placing a wreath upon her head. The figure of William Ashburnham, her husband, kneels on the top step with a grief stricken expression, looking toward his wife. To either side of the sarcophagus is a marble plinth, on top of the one to the right of the figures, nearest to the statue of William, is a plumed helmet and on top of the one to the left is a small crown. At the top of the monument and also just underneath the marble curtain are sculpted coats of arms.
Inscription:Carved, black painted letters, front of the sarcophagus:

Vnder this Toombe (vizt: in the vault for this Family) / Lie the Bodies of IANE Countesfse of Marlbrough, & William Ashburnham her husband, / Second sonne of Sr. Iohn Ashburnham, She was Daughter to Iohn Lord Butler of Hartfordshire, / She was married first to Iames Earle of Marlbrough Lord High Treasurer of England, / Who after seaven years died, and left her a young, beautiful and rich widow / When this William, comeing from beyond Sea; where he was bred a Souldier married her, and after / Liued almost fiue and forty yeares most happily with her, she was a very great louer and (through / Gods mercy) a great blefsing to this Family, which is hoped will ever remember it with honouring her memory. / This William Ashburnham her husband liued after her to a great age, & gloried in nothing in this World / But this his Wife, and the almost unparallel’d loue & intire friendship that for / Aboue fifty yeares was betweene his Deare Elder Brother Iohn Ashburnham and himselfe / He was Cofferer to King Charles the 1st: & King Charles the second, he died without ifsue, / And by Gods blefsing was a happy Preserver of his Brothers Posterity, / The praife and glory of it be to God alone.

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Classification

Categories:Sculptural, Funerary, Composite, Commemorative
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Reclining
Subject type2:Portrait
     Subject subtype1:Group

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Object Parts

Part 1:Stepped (3) base
     Material:Grey marble
     Height (cm):19
     Width (cm):435
     Depth (cm):188
Part 2:Whole monument
     Material:White and grey marble
     Height (cm):470
     Width (cm):355
     Depth (cm):150
Part 3:Sarcophagus
     Material:White and grey marble
     Height (cm):105
     Width (cm):230
     Depth (cm):115
Part 4:Male figure
     Material:White marble
     Height (cm):135
     Width (cm):70
     Depth (cm):80

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Fair
Risk assessment:No known risk
Condition 1 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Armature exposed
     Condition 2: Broken or missing parts
     Condition 3: Loose elements
     Condition 4: Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
     More details:Evidence of previous repairs to several places. Male figure – statue has been broken into at least two pieces in the past and shows evidence of repairs. Back of the robe has been broken off and repaired in the past. A previously repaired crack is also visible on the left arm. Cherub – toes chipped on left foot.
Date of on-site inspection:26/02/2008

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History

History:‘The nave is wide and light, filled with box pews and dominated at the west end by a gallery reached by a staircase with beautifully turned balusters. At the east end of the church the chancel and its twin north and south chapels are raised a great height above the floor of the nave in order to accommodate family vaults beneath. The north chapel, separated from the chancel by a beautiful wrought iron screen made locally by the forge that made the village famous throughout England, contains two superb monuments to the brothers who rebuilt the church.
That to John Ashburnham (who died in 1671) shows him and his two wives lying in prayer on a tomb chest. The front of the chest has 'weepers' of small half-figures of his four sons and three daughters. Its classical design is a stark contrast to the gothic of the church itself, although the design of this tomb is out of date for its period and really belongs to the beginning of the seventeenth century rather than the middle. On the west wall is the monument to his brother William who died in 1679. This is in the up-to-date classical style showing a completely contrasting design with both the figures of William and his wife raised from the traditional horizontal pose to one which makes the composition much more lifelike and moving. Two cherubs pull back a marble curtain whilst William (wearing an amazingly bushy wig) kneels before his dying wife. It is the work of the sculptor John Bushnell whose other monuments can be seen in Toddington (Bedfordshire), Westminster Abbey (London), Little Gaddesdon (Hertfordshire) and Great Billing (Northamptonshire).’
(http://www.britannia.com/tours/ssxchurch/ashburnham.html)

William Ashburnham (died 1679)
Whilst John, his older brother, was at Court, William was fighting in the Nteherlands. In 1640 he became MP for Ludgershall in Wiltshire. He was later Colonel of the King’s 8th. Regiment and in 1644 became Governor of Weymouth. In 1654 he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for being involved in a murder plot against the Protector but was released for lack of proof. After the Restoration, he became Cofferer of the Household of Charles II. He was a close friend of Samuel Pepys, being mentioned several times in Pepys’ diaries. William married the Countess of Marlborough.
His older brother John rebuilt and refurnished the church and William built an almshouse. Together they rebuilt Ashburnham Place but John died in 1671 before its completion. William died in 1679 and oversaw the continuing work for his nephew. The brothers are buried in the crypt, containing 45 places, that John built. William’s monument shows him kneeling over the dying Countess. The estate passed to his great nephew (John’s son William had predeceased him), John, 1st baron Ashburnham. As he died childless, William’s estates also passed to the 1st Baron. Lady Catherine Ashburnham (1890-1953), the last of the Ashburnham family, filled the 45th and final place in the family crypt. On her death the estate passed to John Bickersteth (1926-1991) the grandson of the 5th and 6th Earls’ sister, Lady Margaret Ashburnham. On 1 April 1960, he formed the Ashburnham Christian Trust, giving to it the house and estate.
(Ashburnham Guide)

The monument is included on the database by kind permission of the Ashburnham Thanksgiving Trust.

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:'An Intoduction to the History of Ashburnham Place'
     Type:Book
     Author:Jones, Rhod & Rachel.
     Publisher:Ashburnham Christian Trust.


Further information:
#http://www.britannia.com/tours/ssxchurch/ashburnham.html#

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Photographs





Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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