ELMLEY CASTLE, WORCESTERSHIRE

Grid Ref: SO 982 411
Dates: 25 Sept 2008

Many people see the signs in the Pershore area pointing to Elmley Castle and hope, in vain, to glimpse the battlements. This is because only the foundations remain and there is little to see from paths accessible to the public. However, the church of St. Mary is well worth a visit. These pictures were taken while walking from Bredon's Norton via Great Comberton to Elmley Castle and back over Bredon Hill past the remains of the Castle.

There is an alabaster tomb depicting Sir William Savage, who died in 1616, Sir Giles, his son, who died in 1631 and his wife Lady Catherine Savage. She is shown holding Sir Giles' posthumous daughter. Figures of four sons (not shown) stand at the foot of the memorial. Lady Catherine Savage, who died in 1674 aged 84 is buried at Malvern Priory. The tomb is in the North Transept.

There is an elaborate memorial to the 1st Earl of Coventry who received his title from William III. The earl's widow, who was his second wife, went on to marry Mr. Thomas Savage of Elmley Castle and had the monument made for her late husband. The 1st Earl is buried at Croome d'Abitoit but the 2nd Earl disputed his step-mother's ancestry and would not allow the monument to be placed at Croome d'Abitoit.

The pedestal of the font, showing coiled dragons, dates from the late 11th or early 12th century. The bowl dates from the first part of the 16th century. Panels include the Tudor Rose, badges of Henry VIII, who owned the manor until 1544 and symbols of the local families including Savage and Beauchamp. The font is at the back of the nave near the foot of the tower.

Sources

Notes on the church from the Official Guidebook


Cottages   Pub
Half-timbered cottages on the outskirts of the village   Row with the public house
Cottage   Pub sign
"Chocolate box" cottage   Elizabeth I arriving in 1575
Church   Arms of Savage Family
The church dedicated to St. Mary   Sundial base with Savage arms
Effigies   Savage family arms
Effigies on the Savage family tombs   Savage Family plaque and arms
Lady Catherine Savage   Monument to 1st Earl of Coventry
Head of Lady Catherine Savage died in 1674,   Monument to Earl of Coventry
a   Nave
Sir Giles' posthumous child   The Nave
a   South Aisle
Pews in the South Aisle and the organ beyond   The South Aisle
Bier   Font
Funeral Bier   The Font with pedestal

The monuments in this church, like in so many others, reminds us of the verse by Thomas Gray, in his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:—
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

 

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