East Sussex Church Monuments - 1530 to 1830 - Archive of Photographs
by Professor Nigel Llewellyn

(11) ASHBURNHAM, St. Peter

The excellent pre-classical 17th-century interior is well preserved - painted reredos, pulpit, West gallery, box pews, iron railings, tombs, etc.; the earlier church (dedicated to St. Peter) was made over to the household of the Ashburnham family (the church stands alongside Ashburnham House). The new church of 1665 (dedicated to SS Peter & James) is mock-Perpendicular - Nairn & Pevsner (400-1); plan see SNQ (X 132-3); view from North-East, as if isolated from the house, see Godfrey & Salzman (Pl. 13) and was consecrated on 13 Jul 1667. The building, together with the two monuments in the North chapel, see early photograph in Whistler (SAC 36 168), rebuilt on an ancient site, evidence an acute sense of style decorum and history on the part of the makers and patrons. John Ashburnham (1603-71) Groom of the Bedchamber to Charles I, rebuilt house and church; he was fined under the Commonwealth; his grandson John was created Baron Ashburnham in 1689 and in 1703 referred to the N. Chapel as 'an ancient chapel belonging to my family' (dedicated to St. James). John Ashburnham constructed a family vault extending beneath chancel and both chapels, reported as containing 40 family coffins, see Whistler (SAC 36 168, n.10); a family pew was in South-East chapel but had become a vestry by the early 1960s.

11A Ledger for John ASHBURNHAM, d. 1679

-  Nave floor, centre, towards the West end.

-  44(W) x 45(L)~Worn; damaged (lower side).

-  M.I. (engraved) on a pale yellow freestone slab; head to West.

11B Ledger for Rebecca NETHERCOTT, d. 1682

-  Nave floor, centre, East of 11A.

-  55(W) x 84(L)~Very worn.

-  M.I. (engraved) on a pale grey freestone slab; head to West.

11C Ledger for Frances COSTER, d. 1726

-  Nave floor, centre, East of 11B.

-  76(W) x 131(L)~Worn.

-  M.I. (engraved) in upper 50% of a pale yellow freestone slab; head to West.

11D Wall monument for Jane, Countess of MARLBOROUGH, d. 1672 and her husband William ASHBURNHAM, d. 1679

-  North chapel, against West wall.

-  434(W) x 520(H) x 187(D); (tomb chest) 233(L)~Excellent; local damage.

-  On a white marble tomb chest topped by a polished black ledger, to our left, lies the semi-recumbent effigy of the Countess; to our right, William, in Roman armour, kneels in supplication; behind and above, a baldacchino, topped by an achievement; more arms on the back wall (all in grey marble), being arranged by cherubim, one of whom crowns the Countess; on the face of the tomb chest, M.I. (engraved, black) on a panel with decorative scrollwork; to the sides, on 4 pedestals, trophies as attributes of nobility.

-  Jane, Countess of Marlborough; died before her husband (of 44 years) William Ashburnham, second son of John Ashburnham; no issue; her father, John, Lord Butler of Hertfordshire; her first husband, for 7 years, James, Earl of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer, etc.

11E Wall monument for John ASHBURNHAM, d. 1671

-  North chapel, against the North wall.

-  267(W) x 504(H) x 128(D); tomb-chest 252(L)~Excellent; some staining; slate front panel cracked.

-  In white and grey marble and black slate; three recumbent effigies in white marble with hands clasped in prayer and with feet to the East on a tomb-chest; John Ashburnham between his two wives, 1 shrouded; on the front of the chest, kneeling children as mourners (4 sons and 4 daughters) centred on a prayer desk; above and behind, and carried on polished black columns, M.I. (engraved) on slate tablet on back wall; over, an arched superstructure with scrolled pediment and achievement.

-  John Ashburnham, Esq. of Ashburnham, d. 15 Jun 1671, aet 67; his father, Sir John Ashburnham who died in Fleet Prison; Sir John's wife was daughter of Sir Thomas Beaumont, of Staughton, Leicestershire; she died aet 74, buried at St. Andrew Holborn; John Ashburnham's first wife was Frances, daughter of William Holland of West Burton; their issue - 8; his second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Kenn of Somerset, and widow of Lord Poulett of Hinton St. George, Somerset, she died aet 70.