Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study - by Bill Jehan
 


Inscriptions and Monumental Brass
St.Andrew the Apostle, Frenze
near Diss, Norfolk           SatNav:  IP21 4EZ
 
this page is part 2 (of 2)

Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett and his wives:
               1st   Jane (Sutton or Le Strange ?)
                     2nd  Margaret Braham
 

 
(other inscriptions at Frenze)
 
The parish of Frenze is within the combined benefice of Thelveton & Frenze. The building now surplus to requirements, it is maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust. In 1983 the parish records were archived at Norfolk Record Office, Norwich (Ref. PD496)
 
            click here to read:
                   - Frenze Church Guide Booklets
                   - Frenze Hall (Frenze after the Blennerhassetts)
 
 
"What a special place..." - Simon Knott
 
 
 



 
 
continued from part 1...


 
 


VAULT'S MOUTH
adjoining the tomb of Joan Braham 1519

    Vangue: "Close the vault's mouth
                           lest we do slip in drink..."
"The Tragedy of Sophonisba"
by John Marston (c1575-1634) act 3 scene 1
JOAN BRAHAM (nee Reydon) d.11-Nov-1519
widow of John Braham esquire
 
marked (I) on the "Plan of Frenze St Andrew showing position of brasses" by Kate Weaver, on p.4 of
"The Churches Conservation Trust" church guide for St Andrew (Series 4, No.53 Aug. 1996) by Anthony Barnes
 
effigy on ledger slab just inside the north door 
 
vidua ac deo dicata = "a widow devoted to God", i.e. a widow who has vowed not to remarry.
  
Johanna Braham is mother of Dame Margaret Braham (nee Blenerhaysett) who d.1561,
 2nd wife and widow of Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, Kt (d.1531)
 
also illustrated here is an etching of 1815 by John Sell Cotman,
published in his “Sepulchral Brasses of Norfolk & Suffolk” 1838-1839
[COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, plate 53, description p.30]

 

  photo: B.J.
Johanna Braham, nee Blennerhasserr, d.1519; Frenze, Norfolk
Johanna "Joan" Braham (nee Reydon) 1519
widow of John Braham esquire
  photo: B.J.
Johanna Braham, nee Blennerhasserr, d.1519; Frenze, Norfolk
 
[plate] 53             click on image to enlarge  
Johanna Braham, nee Blennerhasserr, d.1519; Frenze, Norfolk; print by Cotman 1814
Frense Church, Norfolk.
Yar[mouth] Drawn Etched & Published by J[ohn] S[ell] Cotman 1814
 
 
 

"The full-face effigy of Dame Joan Braham is depicted as a vowess, that is, a widow who has vowed never to remarry. She wears a wimple around her head, the plaited barbe or chin cloth over the chin and neck, and a long veil covering her shoulders like a cape. Over a long dress, confined by a strap-like belt with a long tagged end, she has on a mantle with a slide holding together the tasseled ends that reach almost to the ground. As is usual, her hands are raised in prayer."

[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.144-145] describes this as "On a stone having the effigies of a woman in her winding sheet, bidding her beads".
[COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, plate 53, description p.30] reports Blomefield's error thus: "This effigy of a widow in the hood and barbe, and mantle of mourning, is somehow in Blomefield converted into the effigy of a woman in her winding-sheet, telling her beads."
 


 
photo: B.J.
Johanna Barham, nee Blennerhassett d.1519; Frenze, Norfolk
 
 
 
 
Latin inscription: 
 
Hic iacet tumulata d'na Johanna Braham vidua ac deo dicata
olim uxor Joh'ns Braham Armiger que obijt xviijo die Nove'bris
Ao d'ni millimo CCCCCo xixo cuius aie ppicietur Deus Amen 
 
 
 
Inscription expanded: 
 
Hic iacet tumulata d[omi]na Johanna Braham vidua ac deo d[ed]icata.
olim uxor[is] Joh[ann]is Braham Armigeri que obijt xviijo die Nove[m]bris
A[nn]o d[omi]ni mill[ess]imo CCCCCo xixo cuius a[n]i[m]e p[ro]picietur Deus. Amen. 
 
 
 
NOTE: Some online sources for Blomefield's "Norfolk" wrongly transcribe uxor as uror

 
Translated into English:

Here lies buried Dame Joan Braham, widow and dedicated [i.e. devoted] to God,
formerly wife of John Braham Esquire, who died the 18th day of November
in the year of our Lord 1519, on whose soul may God have mercy, Amen

NOTE: vidua ac deo dicata = "a widow devoted to God", i.e. a widow who has vowed not to remarry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Arms: below the effigy are three brass shields of arms:

 
 

shield 1
shield 2
shield 3
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
1. Braham, charged with a crescent for difference 

2. Braham, charged with a crescent for difference, impaling Reydon

3. Reydon (single)
[FARRAR 1887, Frenze V p.35]

Colour: Individual shields of arms on this and other monumental brasses at Frenze will probably have been enamelled or otherwise painted in their correct heraldic colours. It is rare for enamelling on a monumental brass to survive and none survives at Frenze. Brass is not a good medium for enamel, temperature change and damp over time causes brass to expand and contract, thus enamel cracks and falls away in small pieces.
 
 




 
 
JOHANNA "Joan" BRAHAM, nee Duke (?) <date?>
widow of John Braham esquire, of Lowdham, Suffolk
 
 
 
[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.144] found this brass to be missing from the church when making his survey for his 1st ed. in c1745 but he reports the inscription as previously recorded, with one shield of arms, perhaps by [ANSTIS] or [LE NEVE] but he does not name his source...
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Latin inscription:
 
 
Orate pro domina Johanna Braham, vidua ux[oris] Joh[an]n[i]s Braham de Lowdham, Armigeri.
 
 
NOTE: Some online sources for Blomefield's "Norfolk" wrongly transcribe ux: as ur:
 
 
 
 
Translated
into English:
 
 
Pray for Lady Joan Braham, widow and formerly the wife of John Braham of Lowdham [Loudham], Esquire
 
 
 
 
 

Arms:
 
1. Braham impaling Duke

 
 




 
 

Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett (nee Braham), d.23-July-1561
 
marked (E) on the "Plan of Frenze St Andrew showing position of brasses" by Kate Weaver, on p.4 of
"The Churches Conservation Trust" church guide for St Andrew (Series 4, No.53, August 1996) by Anthony Barnes

2nd wife and widow of Sir THOMAS BLENERHAYSETT, Knight, d.27-Jun-1531

INSCRIPTION BRASS ONLY, AT SOME DATE BEFORE 1887 THIS WAS REMOVED FROM HER LEDGER SLAB OF 1561
(NOW MOUNTED WITH TWO ORPHANED SHIELDS OF ARMS REMOVED FROM THE 1531 LEDGER SLAB OF HER HUSBAND THOMAS BLENERHAYSETT)

 
 
 Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett (nee Braham) is:
 
     - daughter of John Braham (b.c1435 d.c1515) of Braham's Hall, Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, Suffolk
       and his wife Dame Joanna "Joan" Reydon (b.est. c1437, d.18-Nov-1519), who has her own monument at Frenze

     - Mother of John Blenerhaysett (a.k.a. Blennerhassett) M.P. (b.est. c1515 d.1573) of Barsham, Suffolk.


[BLOMEFIELD 2nd Ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.143] describes the slab as "On a marble, three yards long, and a yard and a half wide, is this on a brass plate:"
 
There was no effigy; her inscription brass survives but the ledger slab on which it sat was missing before 1887, when the inscription brass is reported by [FARRAR 1887, Frenze I pp.33-34] as mounted on the east wall (with No.1 of the two orphaned shields of arms for her husband Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett 1531 - now mounted on the right). The loss of the ledger slab may perhaps have occurred when the chancel was demolished in 1827.
 
This inscription brass remains on the east chancel wall but re-mounted on a modern mahogany board with two orphaned brass shields of arms.
 
 


  photo: B.J.                                                                click on image to enlarge
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inscription:

 
Here lyeth Dame Margaret Blen'hayset wedowe late wyffe of Syr
Thom's Blen'hayset of ffrens Knyght Dowghter to John' Braham
of Wetheryngset Esquyer who had yssue by the sayd Syr Thom's
two Sonnes Thom's a Pryst and John' Blen'hayset of Barsh'm by
Beclys in Suff and fyve Dowghters yt ys Elizabeth first maried to
Lyonell Lowth & after to ffrauncis Clopton Agnes maryed to Syr
Antony Rows Knyght Anne maryed fyrst to George Duke after to
Peter Rede Margaret fyrst maryed to John' Spelman after to John'
Eyre and Kateryn fyrst maryed to John' Gosnold after to Antony
Wyngfeild Who Dyed the xxiij of Julye in ye yere of ye Lorde . 1561 .
 

 





Inscription
expanded:


Here lyeth Dame Margaret Blen[er]hayset wedowe late wyffe of Sir
Thom[a]s Blen[er]hayset of Frens[e] Knyght Dowghter to John Braham
of Wetheryngset Esquyer who had issue by the sayd S[y]r Thom[a]s
two Sonnes Thom[a]s a Pry[e]st and John Blen[er]hayset of Barsh[a]m by
Beclys in Suff[olk] and fyve Dowghters [tha]t is Elizabeth first maried to
Lyonell Lowth & after to Frauncis Clopton Agnes maryed to Syr
Antony Rows Knyght Anne maryed fyrst to George Duke after to
Peter Rede Margaret first maryed to John Spelman after to John
Eyre and Kateryn fyrst maryed to John Gosnold after to Antony
Wyngfeild Who Dyed the 23 of Julye in [th]e yere of [th]e Lorde . 1561 .

Here lieth Dame Margaret Blenerhayset, widow, late wife of Sir
Thomas Blenerhayset of Frense, Knight, daughter to John Braham
of Wetheringsett Esquire, who had issue by the sayd Sir Thomas
two Sons, Thomas a Priest and John Blenerhayset of Barsham by
Beccles in Suffolk; and five Daughters, that is Elizabeth first married to
Lionel Lowth & after to Frances Clopton, Agnes married to Sir
Antony Rous Knight, Anne married first to George Duke after to
Peter Rede, Margaret first married to John Spelman after to John
Eyre, and Katherine first married to John Gosnold after to Anthony
Wingfield; Who died the 23rd of July in the year of the Lord . 1561 .
 
 
 
 
[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.143] in his transcription of this brass in error condenses:
"Margaret first married to John Spelman after to John Eyre, and Katherine first married to John Gosnold"
into a single line:
"Margaret, first married to John Gosnold"
 
 

 
 
Arms: Three shields of arms for Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett (nee Braham) as reported by [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.142] are all missing:

1. this shield was already missing in Blomefield's time (i.e. c1745, the year his 1st ed. v.2 including Frenze & Kenninghall was compiled).

but in [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.142] he reports it having been formerly:

                                     Braham
                                     impaling
                                     Reydon

2. this shield was present in Blomefield's time but is now missing:

    Quarterly: 1st & 6th Blennerhassett, 2nd Lowdham, 3rd Kelvedon (Keldon),
                     4th Orton (of Cumberland), 5th Skelton (of Cumberland)
                                    impaling
                                    Braham

3. this shield already missing in Blomefield's time - no description known [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.142]
 
 



 
 
 
 
TWO ORPHANED BRASS SHIELDS OF ARMS
MOUNTED BELOW DAME MARGARET BLENERHAYSETT'S INSCRIPTION BRASS

[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.143]
[FARRAR 1887, Frenze I pp.33-34]
 
Mounted below Dame Margaret's inscription brass, on the same modern mahogany board, are two orphaned or misplaced brass shields of arms.
These are not (as is suggested by the way they are displayed) from Dame Margaret's missing ledger slab (1561) but are shields No's 1 & 2 from the missing ledger slab of her husband Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett Kt (1531).

No.1 of these two orphaned shields (the right-hand side shield) is listed with Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett's inscription brass in [FARRAR 1887, Frenze I pp.33-34] as "Brass on the East Wall", the two being then c1887 already mounted adjacent to each other. This close positioning of the two brasses on the east wall perhaps led [FARRAR] to incorrectly associate the shield with Dame Margaret Blennerhaysett rather than with her husband Sir Thomas, an association that continued when the brasses were re-mounted on the mahogany board.

[FARRAR 1887, Frenze I pp.33-34]
 
photo: B.J.           click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge
 
 
photo: B.J.          click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge
 
mounted at left: shield 2 (of 4) for
Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett Kt, 1531
 
quarterly: 1st & 4th Blennerhassett,
               2nd & 3rd Lowdham

                     impaling
 
                     Heigham
(damaged, sinister side missing)
 

 
Blennerhassett: "Gules, a chevron ermine, between three dolphins embowed Argent"
 
Lowdham: "Argent, 3 escutcheons Sable"
 
Heigham: "Sable, a fess cheequé Or and Azure, between three horse's heads erased Argent"
 
mounted at right: shield 1 (of 4) for
Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett Kt, 1531
 
quarterly: 1st & 4th Blennerhassett,
               2nd & 3rd Orton
 
                      impaling

quarterly: 1st & 4th Lowdham,
           2nd & 3rd Kelvedon (Keldon)
 
 

 
Blennerhassett: "Gules, a chevron ermine, between three dolphins embowed Argent"
 
Orton: "Argent, a lion rampant guardant Vert, crowned Or"
 
Lowdham:
"Argent, three escutcheons Sable"
 
Kelvedon (Keldon):
"Gules, a pall reversed ermine"   
 
Colour: Individual shields of arms on this and other monumental brasses at Frenze will probably have been enamelled or otherwise painted in their correct heraldic colours. It is rare for enamelling on a monumental brass to survive and none survives at Frenze. Brass is not a good medium for enamel, temperature change and damp over time causes brass to expand and contract, thus enamel cracks and falls away in small pieces.
 



 
 

 Sir THOMAS BLENERHAYSETT, Knight b.c1461 d.27-Jun-1531
 
marked (D) on the "Plan of Frenze St Andrew showing position of brasses" by Kate Weaver, on p.4 of
"The Churches Conservation Trust" church guide for St Andrew (Series 4, No.53, August 1996) by Anthony Barnes

 married 1st Jane (Sutton or Le Strange ?)
married 2nd Margaret Braham (d.23-Jul-1561)

This exceptionally fine Portrait Brass, with its accompanying inscription brass and four shields of arms, was formerly set into a ledger slab tomb for Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, Knight (d.27-Jun-1531), on the floor of the church of St Andrew the Apostle, Frenze. On his brass Sir Thomas is depicted in full armour with sword, dagger, gauntlets & spurs, wearing a tabard or surcoat of arms. The tabard and shoulder pieces are decorated with his family arms, quartering Lowdham, Orton & Kelvedon (Keldon) [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805, Frenze p.142] [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, p.35 & frontispiece pl.63].
 
The effigy was stolen from the church est. c1802-1814, certainly before July 1814 when its absence was first noted by [KERRICH]. Some sources state that it was stolen "after 1816" but that is incorrect, misled by John Sell Cotman's print of the effigy being dated 1816 [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, p.35 & frontispiece pl.63]
The date 1816 is not the year Cotman visited the church to make his drawing but a later date when he made his etching for the print.
The effigy was confirmed absent from the church in 1857 (when visited by John L'Estrange [L'ESTRANGE Collectanea 1872-3, Frenze is on pp.265-267]) and by the "Manual of Monumental Brasses" published by [HAINES] 1861. Sir Thomas' inscription brass survived at the church, as did two of four accompanying brass shields of arms.
 
In being stolen the effigy was broken into three pieces, with intention to sell the pieces as scrap brass. Years later it was reported that the pieces had been found in a curio shop at Munich, Bavaria, Germany c1920 and then came into the possession of a member of the Blennerhassett family, a descendant of whom generously restored the effigy to the church at Frenze, reuniting it with the inscription and two brass shields of arms.
 
Ironically, the present excellent condition of this effigy, as compared with that of other brasses at Frenze, may be attributed to it having been removed from the church so long ago (est. c1802-1814) and as a result not having suffered the wear of other brasses set into the floor.
 
A paper and wax brass-rubbing of the portrait brass for Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, Kt (1531) was made (perhaps c1924, following the discovery that the stolen brass had in earlier years been found at Munich and was now in the custody of a member of the Blennerhassett family) before it was reinstalled at Frenze church. Since 1983 the rubbing has been at the Norfolk Record Office, Norwich [NRO], when it was received as part of a parish records deposit [NRO, PD 476/17]. On the brass-rubbing are indicated (by the word "Cut") the two points where the brass had been separated, into three pieces. The condition of that rubbing is presently so fragile it cannot be produced at the record office for public view, but in February 2016 the [NRO] kindly photographed it for me (B.J.). One of the two cuts crosses Sir Thomas' feet, this cut having the appearance not of a violent break but of a deliberate joint between two finely made pieces of flat brass, so this may be a part of the 1531 manufacturing process rather than an intentional break made by the thieves (i.e. the original brass was perhaps made in two pieces). When manufacturing brasses this was sometimes done to avoid waste of valuable material - at Frenze is another example of a brass constructed from two pieces, the Blennerhassett crest (a wolf sejant) on the grave of Mary Bacon, formerly Culpepper (nee Blenerhaysett) in 1587.
 
On the chancel walls six individual pieces of monumental brass have in recent times been mounted onto three new mahogany boards:
 
      1. The "stolen, later recovered" portrait brass for Sir Thomas Blenerhayset Kt, 1531, on the east chancel wall,
          positioned above the inscription brass for Sir Thomas. These are marked (D) on the plan.
 
      2. Inscription brass for Sir Thomas' 2nd wife and widow, Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett (nee Braham) 1561, on the east chancel wall.
          This is positioned above two surviving (of the original four) 1531 brass shields of arms (No's 1. & 2.) from the ledger slab tomb of
          her husband, Sir Thomas. These are marked (E) on the plan.
 
      3. Inscription brass for Thomazine Platers, nee Duke 1560 (daughter of George Duke, wife of William Platers), on the north chancel wall.
          This is marked (H) on the plan.
 
The stone ledger slab from which Sir Thomas' brasses were removed appears no longer to be at the church (or is not recognisable as such). It is possible (no evidence for this) that the effigy for Sir Thomas was removed in 1827 when the remains of the original chancel were demolished and monuments from the old chancel were moved to their present positions.
 
John L'Estrange in 1857 reported viewing two of the shields of arms from Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett's tomb, No's 1 & 4, although the two now surviving are No's 1. & 2. He does describe one of the two shields he saw in 1857 as "Blennerhasset, Lowdham, Orton, and Keldon, quarterly; impaling two lions passant", which is a correct description of shield No.4 [L'ESTRANGE Collectanea 1872-3, Frenze is on pp.265-267].
 
 

photo: B.J.                             click on image to enlarge

photo: B.J.
 Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett Knight 1531
mounted on a new mahogany board attached to the east chancel wall

Two of his four brass shields of arms (No's 1. & 2.) survived, these now
mounted on another new mahogany board below the inscription brass for
Thomas' 2nd wife and widow, Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett (nee Braham)

This effigy was stolen from Frenze church est. c1802-1814 (before July 1814).
For many years it was believed lost, until found in a Munich curio shop c1920 then acquired by a Blennerhassett, a descendant of whom restored it to the church.

 

illustrated here are two versions of an 1816 etching by John Sell Cotman,
published in his “Sepulchral Brasses of Norfolk & Suffolk” 1838-1839
[COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, plate 63 in yellow, description p.35 v.2, frontispiece plate 63 in heraldic tincture]
Cotman's original drawing, on which this 1816 etching is based, was made before July 1814.
 
    [plate] 63            click on image to enlarge              
Sir Thomas Blennerhassett Kt 1531 - click on image to enlarge in heraldic colours, from Cotman 1st edition 1839
           [plate] 63          click on image to enlarge

1944]      Genealogical Research in England      [page] 273
Sir Thomas Blennerhassett Kt 1531, by Moriarty 1944, after Cotman 1816
Sir Thomas Blenerhasset, Frense Ch. Norf'k
Drawn Etched & Published by J[ohn] S[ell] Cotman, Yar[mouth] 1816

1816 etching by John Sell Cotman,
from his drawing made before July 1814, pub. in
Sepulchral Brasses of Norfolk & Suffolk1838-1839

This heraldically tinctured plate is from v.2
[COTMAN 2nd ed. v.2, frontispiece pl.63]
 



Sir Thomas Blenerhasset, Frense Ch. Norf'k
Drawn Etched & Published by J[ohn] S[ell] Cotman, Yar[mouth] 1816

1816 etching by John Sell Cotman,
from his drawing made before July 1814, pub. in
Sepulchral Brasses of Norfolk & Suffolk” 1838-1839

This yellow plate is from v.1
[COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, pl.63, description p.35]
 
Cotman's drawing, on which this 1816 etching is based,
was made before July 1814, at which date the
effigy was noted by [KERRICH] as having been
stolen from the church since his visit in 1769.
SIR THOMAS BLENNERHASSETT
IN FRENSE CHURCH, NORFOLK, 1531
After Cotman

1944 artist's impression
of Cotman's 1816 etching, illustrating
Genealogical Research in England,
East Anglian Blennerhassets”,
by G. Andrews Moriarty in
[New England Historical and Genealogical Register
v.98 No.3 July 1944, whole number 391, p.273]

 photo: B.J.                                                                                                  click on image to rotate
Cotman's 1816 etching of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Knight, 1531
 reproduced on a small insert of painted glass (horizontal, orientation as shown),
 in a window at St Peter's Church, Nowton, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
 (inserted as a filler at the bottom of window 2, north wall)
 
The Nowton glass is featured in "Brass on Glass" [BOG] by Jane Houghton and Janet Whitham
published in Monumental Brass Society Bulletin No.115, September 2010, pp.294-295
 

 

 
 
 
INSCRIPTION BRASS FOR Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, Kt
 
 
 
photo: B.J.                                                                    click on image to enlarge
Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Kt d.1531; Frenze, Norfolk
 
 
 
 

Inscription:

 
 
Here lieth Sir Thom's Blen'haysette, Knyght
which decssyd the xxvijt day of June the yere of o'
lord M Vc xxxi i the xxiij yere of the reigne of or Sove-
reigne Lord Kyng He'ry the viiit whois Soule god Pard
 
 
 
Inscription expanded: 
 
Here lieth Sir Thom[a]s Blen[er]haysette, Knyght
which dec[ea]ssyd the xxvijt day of June the yere of o[ur]
lord M Vc xxxi i[n] the xxiij yere of the reigne of o[u]r Sove-
reigne Lord Kyng He[n]ry the viiit whois Soule god Pard[on]
 
 
 

Here lieth Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, Knight
which deceased the 27th day of June the year of our
lord 1531 in the 23rd year of the reign of our Sove-
reign Lord King Henry the 8th whose soul god pardon

 
 
[BLOMEFIELD 1st ed. p.122 & 2nd ed. Frenze p.142] incorrectly transcribes the regnal date as 33 Henry VIII instead of 23 Henry VIII
 
 
 
 
 
Effigy:
On an exceptional brass effigy, Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, Kt is depicted in full armour with sword, dagger, gauntlets & spurs, wearing a tabard or surcoat of arms. "...His gauntlets are represented as lying on the stone at his feet, and conveniently show us the back and the method of jointing the fingers, by riveting little plates of steel to buff leather, while the uplifted hands of Sir Roger le Strange, 1506, have shown us how they were fastened on the hands. His pointed toes and sharp heels were uncommon at this time, when round heels were generally worn..."

Heraldically tinctured plate from [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.2 frontispiece pl.63]
Description & yellow plate is on [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1 p.35 plate 63]

Tabard:
The tabard and shoulder pieces display his family arms, quarterly:
1st Blennerhassett, 2nd Lowdham, 3rd Orton, 4th Kelvedon (Keldon).

Blennerhassett Crest:
His head rests on a helm supporting an unusual variation of the family crest, "a wolf passant" (walking) instead "a wolf sejant" (seated).
 


 

Decoration:
Hanging from a chain around his neck, partly hidden by his hands"
"...upon his breast, he wears a cross patee, perhaps the cross of St Mary, of Italy..."
[COTMAN 2nd ed. v.2 frontispiece plate 63]


 

 

 
 
The stone ledger slab on which Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett's effigy and inscription once lay is missing, but much of the brass survives.

Shields of arms:

Shields No.1 & No.4 were seen by [L'ESTRANGE Collectanea 1872-3, Frenze is on pp.265-267] in 1857.
Shields No.3 & No.4 are missing but No.1 & No.2, (formerly orphanedare presently mounted below the inscription brass for Dame Margaret Blennerhassett (d.23-Jul-1561), Sir Thomas' 2nd wife, on a modern mahogany board fixed to the east chancel wall.

illustrations from Cotman's etching of 1816 based on original drawing made before July 1814 [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.2 frontispiece pl.63]
 
 
 
shield 1
shield 2
shield 3
shield 4
 
 
 photo: B.J.   click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge
shield 1
photo: B.J.   click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge
shield 2
(damaged, sinister side missing)
















(shield 3 missing)
















(shield 4 missing)
 

 
1. (shield survives, mounted below brass for Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett 1561)

    quarterly: 1st & 4th Blennerhassett), 2nd & 3rd Orton
    (for his grandfather Ralph Blenerhaysett, who descended from Orton of Cumberland)
          impaling
     quarterly: 1st & 4th Lowdham, 2nd & 3rd Kelvedon (Keldon)
     (for his grandmother Joan Lowdham who descended from Kelvedon of Essex)
  
 
2. (shield survives, mounted below brass for Dame Margaret Blenerhaysett 1561)
            (damaged, sinister side carrying Heigham arms is missing)

    quarterly: 1st & 4th Blennerhassett2nd & 3rd Lowdham
    (for his father John Blenerhaysett whose mother was Joan Lowdham)
          impaling
     Heigham (for his mother Jane Heigham)
  
 
3. (shield missing)

    quarterly: 1st Blennerhassett, 2nd Lowdham, 3rd Orton, 4th Kelvedon (Keldon)
    (for himself, Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, descended from Lowdham, Orton & Kelvedon)
          impaling
    Braham, charged with a crescent for difference (for his 2nd wife Margaret Braham)
  
 
4. (shield was present in 1857 but now missin[L'ESTRANGE Collectanea 1872-3, Frenze is on pp.265-267])

    Quarterly: 1st Blennerhassett, 2nd Lowdham, 3rd Orton, 4th Kelvedon (Keldon)
    (for himself, Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, descended from Lowdham, Orton & Kelvedon)
          impaling
    Le Strange "two lions passant" (for his 1st wife Jane Le Strange)
    arms of Le Strange (L'Estrange, L'Strange) of Hunstanton (Hunston) Hall, Co.Norfolk  (this NOT the arms of Sutton)
 
NOTE: One of four now missing shields of arms on the tomb of George Blennerhassett (d.14-Feb-1543/4) in St Mary's church, Kenninghall, Norfolk (son of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett by 1st wife Jane) is recorded as Blennerhassett impaling L'Estrange
[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 KEenninghall pp.223-224] [ANSTIS Ms. E 265 f.29].
 
Colour: Individual shields of arms on this and other monumental brasses at Frenze will probably have been enamelled or otherwise painted in their correct heraldic colours. The surcoat of arms on this brass of Sir Thomas may also have been enamelled. It is rare for enamelling on a monumental brass to survive and none survives at Frenze. Brass is not a good medium for enamel, temperature change and damp over time causes brass to expand and contract, thus enamel cracks and falls away in small pieces.
 


 
[COTMAN 2nd ed. v.2 frontispiece pl.63]

Jane, 1st wife of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Kt

- was she Jane Sutton or Jane Le Strange (L'Estrange, L'Strange)?
(question by Bill Jehan)
 
Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Knight, of Frenze, Norfolk and Loudham, Suffolk (b.c1461 d.27-Jun-1531) was Minister (Seneschal, Steward, Principal Household Officer) for the 2nd and 3rd Duke of Norfolk.

There is no doubt that the first name of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett's 1st wife was Jane.
In 1492 Sir Thomas' wife Jane is described as cousin-german to Lady Surrey [SRO HD 1538/297/21 24-Jan-1492]That term cousin-german derives from cousin-germain, of which the modern definition is 1st cousin but in the 15th century meant simply "closely akin".
NOTE: Lady Surrey at that date was Elizabeth Tilney (d.4-Apr-1497) who married 2ndly to Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey (from 1483) and 2nd Duke of Norfolk (from 1514), the employer of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett. Elizabeth was daughter of Sir Frederick Tylney & Elizabeth Cheney, granddaughter of Sir Philip Tilney (b.bef.1437 d.c1453) & Elizabeth Thorp (d.10-Nov-1435, dau. of Edmund Thorp).

In the 1882 print edition of "The Visitation of Suffolk 1561" edited by Walter Metcalfe [VoS 1561 - 1882], under "Blennerhassett of Barsham" pp.7-8 is:
 
"SIR THOMAS BLENNERHASSETT, son and heir to John, first mar. Jane, da. of ..... Sutton, and by her had issue - GEORGE, son and heir; EDWARD, second son; Jane, mar. to John Meulx of Kingston in the Isle of Wight, which Jane died sans issue."

"GEORGE BLENNERHASSETT, son and heir to Sir Thomas, mar. to his first wife ..... da. and one of the heirs of John Covert of Sussex, and by her had issue - one only da., Mary, which mar. to Thomas Culpeper, second son to ..... Culpeper of Wakehurst in Kent; after, the said George mar. to his second wife, Margaret, sister to Sir George Jermayne.Kt., and by her had no issue."

Many genealogies and later genealogical sources repeat the name "Sutton", without question, although the shields-of-arms conflict and there is no other original source for Sutton.
 
The 1984 edition of "The Visitation of Suffolk 1561" edited by Joan Corder, part II, p.358 [VoS 1581 - 1984] in this addition adds that Jane "bore arms similar to those of the Suttons, Barons Dudley", but this appears not to be so.
Sir Thomas was buried at Frenze, his ledger slab tomb boasting four brass shields of arms, illustrated by John Sell Cotman [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.2 frontispiece pl.63] [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1 p.35 plate 63] in an etching of 1816, No.4 showing Blennerhassett impaling Le Strange "two lions passantnot impaling Sutton "a lion rampant".

[BIFR -"Burke's Irish Family Records" 1976, p.133] expands on [VoS 1561] by describing the first wife of Sir Thomas as "...Jane Sutton (who bore arms similar to those of the Suttons, Barons Dudley - see BURKE'S Dormant and Extinct Peerages)..." but this is not the case, the arms of Sutton, Baron Dudley are "a lion rampant", not "two lions passant" as was on the two Blennerhassett shields.
 
I believe the name "Sutton" to be an error, that Sir Thomas' 1st wife (who he married est.c1495) was not Jane Sutton of Sutton, Baron Dudley (arms "a lion rampant") but Jane Le Strange, probably of the family of Le Strange of Hunstanton (Hunston) Hall, Co.Norfolk (arms "two lions passant").

This theory is based on two brass shields of arms, both now missing but both recorded by antiquaries in the past:

1. the No.4 shield of arms on the tomb of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Kt (1531) at Frenze had Blennerhassett impaling Le Strange, as recorded in Sepulchral Brasses of Norfolk & Suffolk”, 2 volumes, 1839 [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, frontispiece pl.63, description p.35] which contains an etching dated 1816 (from an original drawn before July 1814).

2. one of four now missing shields of arms on the tomb of George Blennerhassett (d.14-Feb-1543/4) in St Mary's church,
Kenninghall, Norfolk (son of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett by 1st wife Jane) is recorded as Blennerhassett impaling L'Estrange
[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 KENNINGHALL pp.223-224] [ANSTIS Ms. E 265 f.29].

[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 KENNINGHALL pp.223-224] correctly gives George Blennerhassett two marriages but incorrectly names his 2nd wife Margaret Jernegan as his 1st wife, with an otherwise unknown Le Strange (L'Estrange, L'Strange) as his 2nd wife. 

George Blennerhassett's correct 1st marriage was to Anne Covert, his correct 2nd marriage to Margaret Jarnegan (Jermingham, Jermayne) [VoS 1561 - 1882] [SUCKLING].

[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805 KENNINGHALL P.223-224] mistakenly interprets the Le Strange arms "two lions passant", reported by [ANSTIS Ms. E 265 f.29] as one of George Blennerhassett's four brass shields of arms at Kenninghall, as indicating another marriage for George, which it does not - it does I believe indicate a Le Strange 1st marriage for his father Sir Thomas Blennerhassett. George's tomb survives at Kenninghall but by Blomefield's time (i.e. c1745, the year his 1st ed. v.2 including Frenze was compiled) had already lost all its brass, leaving only the indented stone.

              [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805 Kenninghall p.223-224] writes, for Kenninghall church:
            "The step up to the altar still remains, and the altar stone is taken down, and laid level with the pavement, north and south,
            exactly as it stood, before which lies a large stone which hath been taken up, and hath this lately cut on it:
                    Here lyeth the body of Habbak. Layman, Surgeon, who departed
                    this life the 5th Day of April, An[n]o dom[ini] 1699. AEtatis suae 51.
            This stone is robbed of a large brass effigies and four shields, by which I learn, that it is the grave-stone of George Hasset,
            (or Bleverhasset,) Esq. who first married the daughter of Jarnegan, and after the daughter of L'Estrange; for I find in a MSS.
            of Mr. Anstis's, marked E. 265, fol.29, that he is buried under a fair grave-stone, with his arms quartered, and there is no
            stone here that ever had any arms, but this only,..."
 
The implication is that [ANSTIS Ms. E 265 f.29] saw on George's tomb a shield of arms, Blennerhassett quartering L'Estrange "two lions passant", and that [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805 Kenninghall p.224] interpreted this to represent a L'Estrange wife for George, when he should have taken it to represent George's mother.
 
[BIFR - Burke's Irish Family Records 1976, p.133] repeats Blomefield's error, naming "L'Estrange" as a third wife for George Blennerhassett, but this is wrong - George definitely married only twice, dying 14-Feb-1543/4 leaving Frenze to Margaret to hold for her lifetime, as a widow,; she later remarried to Robert Holdiche of Ranworth, Norfolk. The Will of Margaret Jarnegan - Blennerhassett - Holdiche was proved in 1559 [NCC].
 
It would be interesting and could be helpful to locate the original Mss. for "Blennerhasssett of Barsham" in the "The Visitation of Suffolk 1561", to know if the name Sutton can be verified, and if the space representing her father's first name (shown ......) can be filled. Where is the original Ms. archived?
 
The immediate question is, who is Jane Le Strange and where does she fit into Le Strange of Hunstanton Hall family tree?
How is she relate to Elizabeth Howard, nee Tilney, Duchess of Norfolk?
 
NOTE: In ["Extarneus" v.II "Le Strange of Anglia and Eire" by John R. Mayer, 2nd Ed. 2002] is found "The Le Strange of Hunstanton family maintains intimate connections with certain affines, such as Hastings, Calthorpe and Spelman".

Jane Blennerhassett, sister of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, m. Sir Philip Calthorpe, Knt of Calthorp, Norfolk; also Margaret Blennerhassett, daughter of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, m.1st Sir John Spelman of Narborough, Norfolk. These show the Blennerhassetts in Norfolk had similar family connections to Le Strange.
 
[BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805 KILVERSTONE p.542] states, about a later Le Strange, "...Sir Nicholas L'Strange was Kat. Chamberlain of the Duke's household...", which shows Le Strange connections with the Duke of Norfolk.

 



 
FURTHER MENTIONS of "Sutton" or the 
"two lions passant
brass shields of arms:


1846 - [SUCKLING - "The History and Antiquities of the county of Suffolk" by Alfred Inigo Suckling, 1846 v.1 p.37]
repeats from "The Visitation of Suffolk 1561" that the 1st wife of Sir Thomas was "Jane, dau. of .... Sutton." :



 
 
1805 - [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805 Frense p.143] correctly describes the shield 4. for Sir Thomas as:
          "Hasset, and the three quartered as in the last (i.e. Lowdon, Orton, and Kelvedon), impaling two lions passant"
          but does not mention the name Sutton.
 
1816 - [COTMAN - “Sepulchral Brasses of Norfolk & Suffolk” by John Sell Cotman, 2nd ed. 1839 v.1, frontispiece pl.63, with illustration of etching dated 1816]
shows the shield of arms with "two lions passant" (i.e. Le Strange), the illustration shown above, but in his description does not define the arms or mention the name Sutton. NOTE: Cotman's original drawing, on which his 1816 etching was based, was made before July 1814.
 
c1840 - [DAVY] David Elisha Davy (1769-1851) was a Suffolk antiquarian and collector whose collections remain unpublished.
          His [Ms. notes on the Blennerhassett family by Suffolk antiquarian David Elisha Davy c1840, 37 pages]
            in the Davy Collection at [BL Add. Ms.19118 f.353] contains:
                     Davy has Sir Thomas married to: "...Jane, daughter of _____ Sutton...".

c18?? - [SPURDENS - "Historical Notes by W.T. Spurdens, NRO Ms.4576 p.241 p.139A, "Diss", "Family Tree of Blennerhassett Family" p.252]
              by Rev. William Tynley Spurdens (b.1776 d.1852) of North Walsom, Suffolk.
             [SPURDENS] has Sir Thomas Blennerhassett married to his "...1st wife Jane, daughter of Sutton..."
 
1857 - [L'ESTRANGE - "The Eastern Counties Collectanea: Notes and Queries on Subjects Relating to the Counties of Norfolk, Suffolk,
             Essex and Cambridge" edited by John L'Estrange, Norwich 1872-3; Frenze is on pp.265-267] describes the shield he saw in 1857 as:
           "Blennerhasset, Lowdham, Orton, and Keldon, quarterly; impaling two lions passant" - he makes no mention of Sutton.
 
1919 - [BOK - "The Blennerhassetts of Kerry: Earlier English Stock” by S.M.]
             published in [KAM - “Kerry Archaeological Magazine”, v.5 No.21 July 1919 p.38].
           This states Sir Thomas "...married 1stly Jane, daughter of Sutton..."
           This whole article is a summary of [DAVY BL - Add. Ms.19118 f.353] so repeats Davy here.
 
1944 - [MORIARTY - “Genealogical Research in England - East Anglian Blennerhassets” by G.Andrews Moriarty,
             published in [NEHGR v.98 No.1 Jan.1944, whole number 389, pp.67-73; v.98 No.3, July 1944, whole number 391, p.277]

           1. Moriarty incorrectly describes the 4th shield of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett's ledger slab as having, in the 4th quarter,
               "Kelvedon impaling 2 lions rampant (probably Sutton) (Blomefield * op. cit.)."
               instead of the correct "2 lions passant (Le Strange)" as illustrated by [COTMAN]
 
              * op.cit. (opere cicato) = "in the work cited"
                    Moriarty is wrong in implying that Blomefield wrote "probably Sutton", these are Mariarty's words.
                       [BLOMEFIELD 2nd ed. v.1 1805 p.143] did not write that, he stated only (correctly):
                                                                                       "4. Hasset, and the three quartered as in the last, impaling two lions passant."
 
           2. Moriarty writes, of Sir Thomas:
                "He married first Jane Sutton and had issue George his heir, who inherited Frense, Boylands &c. and continued the
                line (**Suckling's Suffolk, v.I, p.37), Edward, who left issue, and Joan, wife of John Meaulx of Kingston, Isle of Wight..."
                ** Moriarty has copied from ["The History and Antiquities of the county of Suffolk" by Alfred Inigo Suckling, 1846 v.1, p.37],
                         who in turn has copied from [VoS 1561]
 



 
 
THEFT FROM FRENZE CHURCH OF THE 1531 EFFIGY SIR THOMAS BLENNERHASSETT, Knight

 
The effigy was in place at Frenze in 1769 when Rev Thomas Kerrich (1748-1828) made an ink drawing [BL Add. Ms. 6728 fol.250] but subsequently stolen from the church. Its absence was noted by [KERRICH] on a return visit to Frenze in July 1814.

"Catalogue of the Manuscript Maps, Charts, and Plans and of the Topographical Drawings in the British Museum"
v.2 1894, pp.66-67, lists:
"Sketch, in pen and ink, of the sepulchral figure of Sir Thomas Bleverhasset, (who died in 1531,) in Frenze Church;
 drawn in 1769 by the Rev. Thomas Kerrich;
'N.B. July, 1814, I was again in Frenze Church, and found that this figure had been stolen:' 6in. x 4in. [Add. Ms. 6728 fol.250]"

The brass effigy was probably stolen during the ten years immediately prior to 1814, being in place at Frenze church when John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) made the drawing from which in 1816 he produced his etching of Sir Thomas. [COTMAN] sold his etchings as single prints (long before they were published in 1839 as a collection in two volumes) so it is unlikely that many years would have passed between him making his initial drawing at Frenze and publishing his etching as a single print in 1816. If the location of Cotman's original drawing of Sir Thomas is known, and it carries a date, that would help greatly, but without that knowledge, or knowledge of when [COTMAN] was working at Frenze, all we can be certain of is that the effigy was stolen between est. c1802 (when Cotman was aged about 20) and July 1814 when the effigy is confirmed as missing.

Most printed sources will tell you that the effigy was stolen "after 1816" but these are incorrect, misled by John Sell Cotman's etching of the effigy being dated 1816 [COTMAN 2nd ed. v.1, p.35 & frontispiece pl.63], which is of course not the year he visited the church to make his original drawing. but the later date when he made his etching, for printing.

The effigy is confirmed as absent from the church in 1857 when the church was visited by antiquarian John L'Estrange [L'ESTRANGE Collectanea 1872-3, Frenze is on pp.265-267] and in 1861 by the "Manual of Monumental Brasses" published in that year by [HAINES]. Sir Thomas' rectangular inscription brass survives at the church, as do two of the four accompanying brass shields of arms (Nos 1. & 2.).
 
In being stolen the effigy was broken into three pieces, with intention to sell the pieces as scrap brass. Years later it was reported that the pieces had been found in a curio shop at Munich, Bavaria, Germany c1920 and then came into the possession of a member of a distant branch of the Blennerhassett family, a descendant of whom generously restored the effigy to the church at Frenze, reuniting it with the inscription and two of the brass shields of arms.
 
That the missing brass was discovered at Munich and came into the possession of one of the Blennerhassett family suggests that the family in question may have been that of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, Bart. M.P. (b.1839 d.1909). Munich was home to his wife, Charlotte Lady Blennerhassett (nee Von Laden, she was b.1843 Munich, d.1917 Munich) and they visited often.
 
 
BRASS-RUBBING OF c1924
(rubbing made following the re-discovery of the missing effigy of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Kt):
 
A "heel ball on tracing paper" brass-rubbing of the effigy (presumably made following rediscovery of the missing brass c1920) is at Norfolk Record Office [NRO, PD 476/17]part of a larger parish records deposit [NRO PD 496] made by the church in 1983. The brass-rubbing is damaged and fragile so is not made available for public view. The word "Cut" in two places on the rubbing shows where, on its violent removal from the tomb, the brass had been divided into three pieces. The lower of the two cuts, across the feet, has the appearance of a clean joint between two pieces of flat brass, so perhaps a part of the 1531 manufacturing process rather than an intentional rough break made by thieves - i.e. the original brass may have been made from two pieces, as was sometimes done to avoid wasting valuable material. Another brass at Frenze constructed from two pieces of flat brass is the square Blennerhassett crest on the grave of Mary Bacon (formerly Culpepper, nee Blennerhassett) 1587.
 
 








image courtesy Norfolk Record Office, Norwich - used with permission
On a damaged portion of the rubbing is this NOTE in ink:

 
   "This Brass of Thomas
   Blenhayset 1531
   was stolen from Frenze
   Church since Mr Cotman's
   time 1816, broken into
   three pieces and sold as
   Old Brass, got into Germany
   was picked up in a Curio
   Shop and in now in the
   possession of [one of the]
   Blennerhayset [family]
   The inscription [for Sir Thomas Blennerhayset ?]
   T[_ it ?] is on th[e chancel wall ?]
   at A. "
 
   
The effigy was stolen before July 1814, not after 1816 as above.
This is made clear by an item in:
"Catalogue of the Manuscript Maps, Charts, and Plans and of the Topographical Drawings in the British Museum" v.2 1894 pp.66-7


 

INK SKETCH ADDED TO BRASS RUBBING

A roughly drawn ink sketch on the brass-rubbing immediately below the NOTE on the rubbing indicates the relative positions on the east chancel wall of two brasses and the communion table. The right-hand brass, positioned under a candleholder, has since been moved elsewhere within the church but its former position may be seen in outline on the wall.



To the left is the inscription brass for Dame Margaret Blennerhassett, nee Braham, 1561. Mounted below are two surviving brass shields of arms
from the tomb of her husband, 
Sir Thomas Blennerhassett Kt.
To the right, under a candleholder,
is a rectangular mark on the wall showing the earlier position of another brass
(perhaps this shows the position of the inscription for Sir Thomas before being reunited with his lost effigy).
Inscription brass for Dame Margaret BH 1561, above two surviving shields of arms for her husband Sir Thomas BH 1531
 
 
 
 
A

 
 


Medieval MENSA (stone altar top) at Frenze
 
Following demolition of the old chancel in 1827, the east end of the nave where the wooden communion table stands became
the chancel.

The top of a Christian altar is the mensa.
In medieval churches the mensa was a large slab of stone placed on top of a wooden communion table, at which Mass was celebrated. Five small crosses engraved on the Mensa, one at each corner and one in the centre, symbolise the five wounds on the body of Christ.
photo: from Flickr

Following the Protestant Reformation 1529-1537 the mensa at Frenze was removed from use, serving unrecognised as a doorstep for the church until rediscovered during repairs in 1900.

On the east chancel wall close to the left-hand corner is an inscription brass for Dame Margaret Blennerhassett nee Braham, 1561, installed above two surviving brass shields of arms, No's 1. & 2. from the tomb of her husband Sir Thomas Blennerhassett Kt 1531. These are mounted together on a new mahogany board.

To the right, under a candleholder, a rectangular mark on the wall shows the earlier position of the inscription brass for Sir Thomas, before it was removed to be reunited with his effigy on another mahogany board.
photo: B.J.
 

 
CHURCH GUIDE BOOKLET 1:  a typewritten Frenze church guide booklet of c1983 tells us:
 
"The beautiful setting is apparent and it is hard not to imagine the deer which once roamed the adjoining woods and slaked their thirst at Diss Mere. One such is shown in the crest on the newly returned effigy of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett who died in 1531 [the Blennerhassett crest is wolf, not deer - B.J.]. This was said to have been re-discovered in Munich in 1820 [surely a date error for 1920 - B.J.] and came into the possession of the Blennerhassett family whose descendants has [sic] kindly returned it. It has been beautifully re-set and is now on the south side of the chancel wall showing Sir Thomas in his military coat of mail with head bare, long hair, hands clasped, a sword and dagger at his side, spurs, gloves between his feet and wearing a surcoat of his arms and those of his family. It was once enamelled and the inscription reads "here lies Sir T[homas] Bl[ennerhassett] Knight which deceased the 17th [date error from COTMAN, who himself copied BLOMEFIELD - should be 27th - B.J.] day of June in the year of our Lord 1531 and the 23rd year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King Henry VIII whose soul God pardon".

CHURCH GUIDE BOOKLET 2:  Frenze church guide booklet est. c1990 by "H.M.S." tells us:  (who is H.M.S ? - B.J.)
 
"A rubbing which had been taken of Thomas Blen'hayset before the brass was stolen since 1816 show a knight in the armour of Agincourt. It was broken into three pieces for scrap metal and was later found in a curio shop".
 
CHURCH GUIDE BOOKLET 3:  Frenze Church Guide Booklet 1996 by Anthony Barnes, issued by "The Churches Conservation Trust"
does not mention theft of the brass for Sir Thomas Blenerhaysett, but does mention that the brass for George Duke (1551) had been stolen.
 
TO READ THESE CHURCH GUIDE BOOKLETS click HERE
NOTES:
- The effigy was stolen not since 1816 but before July 1814, re: [KERRICH] as above.
- The description of Sir Thomas "in the armour of Agincourt" borrows a phrase from ["Norfolk" by Arthur Mee, King's England series, 1940, p.139]
  but therMee was describing the armour of Ralph Blennerhassett (d.1475), not of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett Kt (d.1531).
- The rubbing mentioned is that illustrated above, but date rubbing was made is uncertain.
 

Notes from the journal "NORFOLK ARCHAEOLOGY" 1926:

1. "FRENZE CHURCH: Frenze Church occupies a secluded position in what was once the park of the Old Hall. It now consists of nave, south porch, and a wooden western bell-cote. The remains of the chancel are said to have been demolished about 1820 [this was 1827 - B.J.]. The original building was probably early English, as two lancets remain, but most of the old work remaining is 14th century. A paper was read by Mr B. Cozens-Hardy.

An interesting feature of the church is the profusion of its memorial brasses, which relate mainly to the important family of Blennerhasset, and cover five generations. On this branch of the subject a paper was read by Mr. H. O. Clark, who stated, on the authority of Mr. Walter Rye, that hardly a brass remains in its proper position. Undoubtedly, he said, there were many more. Near the south door, and also near the westend, were despoiled slabs.

A brass to the memory of Sir Thomas Blennerhasset, who died in 1531, was represented in the coloured frontispiece to Cotman's brasses.  It was in the Church in 1816 when this plate was published, and was missing in 1861 when Haines wrote his manual. I am informed, added Mr. Clark, that the figure has been recently discovered in a curio shop in Germany, and that there is hope that it may soon be replaced in the Church."
["Norfolk Archaeology" v.22, 1926, "Proceedings 1924", "Report for 1923-1924", pp.xxxiv-xxxv]

2. "The Rev. William Hudson, M.A., F.S.A., V.P. has communicated a letter received by him from a Mr Henry A. Rye, describing the romantic discovery in a German "curio" shop of a fine brass to Sir Thomas Blenhassette, 1531, stolen many years ago from Frenze Church, where it was in situ when Cotman wrote a description of it in 1816. It had disappeared when Haines published his Manual of Monumental Brasses in 1861."
["Norfolk Archaeology" v.22, 1926 "Proceedings 1924", p.xxvi]

Note from "Brass on Glass" by Jane Houghton and Janet Whitham in the Monumental Brass Society September 2010 Bulletin No.115 pp.294-295.
"The effigy was stolen from the church many years ago; it was rediscovered in Munich in the last century and was for some years in the possession of a distant member of the Blenerhayset family, who has now returned it to the church."

 
 




 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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