For this church:
Monuments and Memorials
John Leland, visiting Blyth between 1535-43 makes little comment upon the church, except to say that at the ‘este ende of the churche ar to be sene graves of noble-men’. Most have been lost in the destruction of the east end and what now remains is one military effigy from the 13th-century in a very damaged state, with a single fragment of a second, plus a collection of floor slabs. John Raine discovered several monuments amongst the lumber when the western bay of the north aisle was cleared out in the 1850s, including the military effigy that survives and several others, including ‘ecclesiastics in delicately carved drapery’, presumably from the tombs of abbots, which do not.
South aisle east end
113th-century monumental effigy, from c1240. The military figure is made of Purbeck marble and was originally enclosed under a canopy supported on slender shafts, with a beast beneath the feet. Three pieces of the monument survive, the head enclosed in a full helmet, the torso and the feet with the canopy base. The feet are splayed to the right rather than set upright, perhaps to fit the sculpture within the available block of stone, and this is similar to an effigy in North Wingfield, Derbyshire. The figure wears mail and a surcoat with the arms, lozengy, probably argent and gules, for FitzWilliam, repeated on the shield. It is probably for William FitzWilliam born c1170, died by 1224, who made land grants to the Priory, or his son Thomas, who endowed masses in the church for his parents. It was found at the west end of the north aisle in the 19th century.
2Elbow fragment in mail found in the churchyard in 2003. The fragment is of Magnesian Limestone from the local area and consists of, most probably, a left elbow, in mail of small linked circles with a patch over the elbow in leather or similar. The elbow patch indicates a date at the end of the 13th century, or first half of the 14th, rather than the mid 13th. It might have been made as an early replacement for damage to the FitzWilliam knight although this is unlikely since it is of a different material and the scale of the mail links is finer. The angle of the elbow suggests that it is from an effigy with hands clasped in prayer on the chest, whereas the FitzWilliam knight has his one surviving arm under his shield. It therefore most probably belongs to a separate military effigy.
3Freestone inscribed slab to the south of the parish altar with a tapered stem cross on a simple two-step base with four arms ending in fleurs de lys. Inscription around the edge recorded by Raine in 1860, but with the abbreviations extended:
(Pray for the soul of Master John Albarne late vicar of Blyth who died 2nd of March AD 1476)
John Albarne was vicar of Blyth from 1466-76.
Nave North Arcade
1Between piers 2 and 3 from the east. Purbeck marble tapered slab with moulded edge and abraded relief carving of a stemmed cross with trefoil ended arms, only two of which survive. No eBottomvidence for a base.
1Freestone slab of foliated cross with inscription from c1300. The top of the slab is missing, and only the lower edges of the foliate cross and its tapered stem with a knob and stepped base still present. Sword on right of cross shaft extends from knob on shaft to base, and has a prominent fuller (centre groove), but the broad blade suggests that it is later than the slab. Inscription on left side arranged vertically:
(Here lies Peris de Rewe merchant of Bosa)
broken across by ‘RCHANT’ and repaired leaving a small section of the inscription missing. Bosa is a small town on the river Temo, close to the coast of western Sardinia in the Mediterranean.
2Purbeck slab with shield in relief behind which can be seen the pommel of a sword gripped by a human hand which is abraded. No blazon on the shield. The lower part of the slab is broken off just below the bottom of the shield. The slab can be seen in Hodges’s section drawing of the church published in 1881 when it was in better condition and the tip of the sword was visible beneath the shield. Abrasion to top of slab and surface worn.
3Freestone foliated cross head of four broad, flat rings set against a lozenge with the lower angle and lower edges of two rings not fully carved. In the centre is a saltire cross in relief and there are cut-outs in line with it on the rings. The block to which it is attached is broken and it is possible that this is an unfinished piece. All the surfaces are heavily tooled. There is no inscription.
4Tapered Purbeck slab with, inside an incised border, a relief carving of a foliate cross, a combination of the heraldic cross patonce with the cross recercelée, having a hollow centre in which there is a narrow cross in relief. Stem with three tiers of stiff-leaf foliage and an unusual curved base. Surfaces abraded but once of high quality. Found in the mid 19th century buried face down in the floor, re-used as paving.
Nave South Arcade
Freestone slab of inscribed foliate cross set in floor between piers 4 and 5 on the south, but almost totally worn away apart from the top and bottom ends, which are of a cross patonce with a small cross in the centre and an unusual traceried arch base.
Above Nave vault
Foliated cross slab, used as part of the rubble-fill on the top of the web at the west end of the nave vault, found January 2003. Freestone, incomplete, probably a waster. Relief design. At the top is a cross head of eight arms which end in fleurs de lys, surmounted by a circle ornamented with billet. The stem has two tiers of foliage branching from it. Early 13th-century date. Broken off at the lower end and upper edge damaged. No inscription visible.
Note that, where appropriate, some individual monuments are also included as War Memorials.
Nave north aisle
Edward Mellish, d1703, Wall monument with the figure reclining on one elbow on a tomb chest beneath an aedicule of Corinthian pilasters supporting a segmental pediment with curtains suspended from the entablature and looped up. Cartouche with arms above, quarterly of four, 1st and 4th, [azure] two swans in pale [argent] between two flaunches ermine (Mellish), 2nd and 3rd [gules] a lion rampant [or] between four crosses patonce [vair], (Reason). Edward Mellish died unmarried and the arms record his descent from William Reason of Askham (Notts) one of whose heirs was Edward’s grandmother, Alice. The inscription on the rear panel refers to its setting up by Edward’s nephew and heir and includes memorials to several others buried at Blyth. The others are, William Reason of Askham, d. 1628; Joan, widow of Samuel Mellish, who died in January 1708 (therefore 1709); Joseph Mellish, d. 1733, and Dorothy d. January 1737 (1738); Catherine, wife of William Mellish, d. 1746. Signed by John Hancock (fl. 1703-18, probably from York, the earliest of three monuments by him) on the top of the right hand side of the pediment. Painted inscription added to lower right corner:
The monument was originally sited in the centre of the east wall of the nave and moved during the restoration of 1885.
2Freestone wall monument to Rev John Rudd, d1834, by Joseph Lockwood of Doncaster (1757-1837), a monument designer who specialised in neo-Hellenic designs. One of 13 monuments by this sculptor and the only one in the county, the rest are in South Yorkshire with two in Lincolnshire. Monument shaped like the end of a Classical sarcophagus with sloped sides, supported on brackets, with acroteria and shield on triangular pediment. Arms [argent] on a canton [azure] six martlets [or], (Rudd), impaling [ermine] on a bend cotised [gules] between a cross moline [azure] and an anchor [sable] three horseshoes [or], (Ferris, Dean of Battle).
Illa ut audivit surgit cito et venit ad eum (When she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him) is from John 11.29.
Stone wall monument of an inscribed slab under an ornamented urn on a draped pedestal, the whole set against a flat, shaped panel supported by a sill with end pieces. Memorial to Robert Spencer , d1800.
Nave South Arcade
Attached to pier 5 from the east. Catherine Hornby, d1772 wall tablet signed by J. Wood, identified as Joseph Wood (fl 1766-c1776), the master mason responsible for rebuilding Thoresby Park for the Duke of Kingston between 1766-9 under the York architect John Carr (since rebuilt by Anthony Salvin). This is the only monument known by Wood, and his association with John Carr, who was a personal friend of William Mellish and worked on Blyth Hall in 1773-6, may have been connected with its commissioning. Large architectural tablet of an inscribed panel within a frame of Ionic pilasters supporting a plain entablature surmounted by an urn with swags between two flaming torches. Lower section of a winged putto head within a circle against a cross and an anchor between consoles.
Nave West End
but originally a rectangular medieval inscribed slab with a fragment of lettering within a border, not decipherable.
2Between south arcade piers 5 and 6 from the east. Inscribed floor slab, under an inscribed semi-circular head, to Elisabeth Hieron, d171[..]. Partially worn away on the right side.
William Hieron was vicar of Blyth from 1694 and had ceased to be by 1731.
4Beside no. 3 and probably by the same mason. Inscribed freestone floor slab to Robert Spencer, d1765.
5Beside no. 4, inscribed floor slab, almost entirely worn away, to wife of Robert Spencer.
6To the west of no. 5, inscribed floor slab, almost worn away, to Dorothy Spencer, and another member of the same family.
7Next to no. 6, inscribed floor slab, almost worn away, to Harriet? Spencer, d. 1800.
8West of no. 7, inscribed floor slab, badly worn, to Robert Spencer, d. 1800.
9Close to font, inscribed freestone floor slab to Rev John Beel, d. 1762.
There is no reference to a Rev Beel in the list of 18th-century vicars of Blyth.
South Aisle Monuments
1On the rear of pier 3 of the south arcade. Charles Henry Chambers, d1840, wall monument of an inscribed marble slab within a frame of Tuscan pilasters with a panelled entablature and jewelled bases. It is surmounted by a frieze of acroteria fronted by masks behind which is a kneeling angel holding a shield on which is a star.
3Beneath no. 2, on a brass plaque in the shape of a shield, with a decorated border of a frieze of shamrocks, and images of two medals flanking the crest of the Weldon family, the bust of Queen Elizabeth Ist, with the motto, BENE FACTUM, in the base, memorial to Captain George Weldon, d1899. Black script with red capital letters.
The wording of this memorial seems to have been confused and it is hard to know how to rearrange the lines to read correctly, but an alternative layout for the second part might be:
killed in action at Talana Hill, October 20th 1899, aged 33, while bringing a wounded soldier into shelter, under heavy fire. Buried in Dundee cemetery by four men of his own company, October 21st 1899, for he was beloved by all.
The Dundee cemetery mentioned is that in Natal, South Africa, not Scotland, with the battle of Talana Hill fought on October 20th 1899 during the Second Boer War. Talana was one of three hills overlooking Dundee and the 2nd battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers led the attack on the hill but were held down by heavy fire from the Boers and only took the hill after fierce fighting. Captain Weldon was the first officer of the regiment to be killed in the Boer War, and had joined in 1886, being promoted to Captain in 1896. His body was apparently located after the battle by his dog. He was the eldest son of Col. Thomas Weldon (1834-1905) and Helen Rachel Louisa Young Simpson.
The battle of Vimiero, Portugal, which took place on August 21st 1808, was one of the first battles of the Peninsular War (1808-1814), with the British forces successfully led by Sir Arthur Wellesley, later duke of Wellington. Sir Ronald Ferguson commanded the 2nd Brigade at Vimiero.
6Brass Gothic Revival wall monument, within an architectural frame with a cusped arch under a triangular canopy with pinnacles and the IHS symbol flanked by two encircled crosses patonce, which has a border around the edge with the four evangelists' symbols identified by their names at the corners. To William Leigh Mellish, d1864, signed on the lower edge Cox & Buckley London. Inscription in Gothic black-letter script, with all capital letters in red.
The firm of Cox and Buckley, sometimes styled Cox, Son, Buckley & Co. was a London-based firm of brass engravers, that began as Cox & Son, a firm of metalworkers and stained glass makers. The firm merged with Buckley & Co. in 1881. It was extant from 1860-1893 when the firm experienced difficulties and went into receivership. They are then found in the US, working in New York in 1899 and in 1882 had made a memorial brass for the assassinated President James Garfield, to be installed in the Episcopal church at Elberon, Long Branch, New Jersey where he died, although he is not buried there. From the description in The New York Times of June 15th 1882 the brass closely resembles the Mellish one in its use of a Gothic canopy and black lettering with red capitals, although it is more elaborate.
Sir George was the son of Edward Mellish and his wife Elizabeth Leigh, who was related to George Canning, and had a career in the law at the Inner Temple in London, being made QC in 1861 and was appointed lord justice of appeal in chancery, knighted and made a member of the privy council in 1870. Although it was unusual to appoint a common-law practitioner to a senior position in chancery Mellish was very successful in the role. He is reported to have suffered badly from gout and died unmarried at his London house, 33 Lowndes Square in 1877.
The firm of Hart, Son, Peard & Co, artistic metalworkers, was based in London at 138, 140 Charing Cross Road, and at the Grosvenor Works in Birmingham, and was active between 1860 and the 1920s. Their London showroom was in Regent Street, and their production mostly consisted of brass wall plates and figured brasses. The architect William Butterfield worked for the firm in the 1870s. One of their brasses, to a Lord Mayor of London, George Swan Nottage, who died 1885, is in the crypt of St Paul's cathedral in London, and another notable brass is to the artist William Dyce (d1864).
8Beneath no. 7. Engraved black stone, to Mary Mayhew, d. 1982
9Stone wall monument with arms, in relief, at top Mellish quartering (gules) a cross engrailed (argent), in dexter chief an escutcheon charged with two bars (azure) overall a bend componée (argent and gules) (Leigh). Crest Mellish, with mantling. To Henry Mellish, d1927, Agnes Mellish, d1934 and Evelyn Mellish, d1935.
10Alabaster panel within a border, having a stepped top with a circular badge of a lion rampant against a saltire cross with an inscription in relief LONDON SCOTTISH, STRIKE SURE, the regimental badge of the London Scottish regiment. To Percy Crofts Ottley, d1917.
The London Scottish was a Territorial regiment which provided three battalions during the Great War and lost 1,542 men during its course.
11Brass plate beneath the principal War Memorial. Memorial to John Moore, d1955.
12Copper inscribed plaque to Helen Patterson, d. 1950.
Series of eight hatchments for the Mellish family, dated between 1733 and 1864.
1South aisle west wall, dexter background black. Azure two swans in pale argent between two flaunches ermine (Mellish), impaling, gules a fess between three crosses crosslet fitchée or (Gore). Crest, a swan's head and neck erased argent, ducally gorged or (Mellish). No motto. Mantling gules and argent.
For Joseph Mellish, (d1733) m Dorothy Gore.
2South aisle west wall, beneath no. 1. Whole background black. On a lozenge within a gilt border. Argent, a chevron ermine fimbriated sable between three chambers sable, fired proper (Chambers) impaling Mellish.
For Anne Mellish, (d1855) m William Chambers.
3South aisle west wall, beneath no. 2. Dexter background black. Mellish, with escutcheon of pretence, sable a chevron ermine between three herons close argent (Herne), impaling Herne. Crest Mellish. No motto. Mantling gules and argent.
For Edward Mellish, (d1757) m Sarah Herne.
4Tower north wall. Whole background black. Quarterly of four, 1st and 4th Mellish, 2nd and 3rd, gules a cross engrailed argent, in the dexter chief an escutcheon of the second charged with two bars azure overall a bend componée argent and gules (Leigh), impaling azure on a fess wavy cotised argent three anchors sable (Cunard). Crest Mellish. No motto. Mantling gules and or.
For Colonel William Leigh Mellish, (d1864) m Margaret Cunard.
5Tower north wall, beneath and east of no. 4. Dexter background black. Mellish impaling argent a lion rampant sable langued gules (Stapleton). Crest Mellish. Motto, Resurgam. Mantling gules and argent.
For Charles Mellish (d1797), m Judith Stapleton
6Tower north wall, and west of no. 5. Whole background black. On a lozenge within a gilt border, Mellish impaling Stapleton. Motto, In Coelo Quies.
For Judith Stapleton (d1806), m Charles Mellish.
7Tower west wall, south side. Dexter background black. Mellish, with in pretence, quarterly, 1st and 4th, gules three lions passant or (in error for argent), (Gifford), 2nd, per fesse argent and azure three chaplets proper (in error for countercharged), (Duke), 3rd, per pale embattled gules and argent (not identified). Crest Mellish. Motto, In Coelo Quies. Mantling gules and argent.
For Lt-Colonel Henry Francis Mellish (d1817), m Harriet, daughter of Sir Duke Gifford Bt.
8Tower west wall, north side. Whole background black. On a lozenge within a gilt border, sable three lions rampant argent, langued gules, (Prowse), impaling to dexter, or a chevron engrailed between three leopards' faces gules, (Harvey), and to sinister, Mellish, with mullet pierced for difference.
For Joan Prowze (d1709), m 1st Tobias Harvey, 2nd Samuel Mellish (d1707). This is the earliest recorded hatchment in the county.