England // The West Midlands and the Peak District //

St Mary’s Church

Near Castle Street is St Mary’s Church, which was rebuilt in a weird Gothic-Renaissance amalgam after the fire of 1694. Most of the chancel, however, remained untouched – and it’s a simply glorious illustration of the Perpendicular style with a splendid vaulted ceiling of flying and fronded ribs. On the right-hand side of the chancel is the Beauchamp Chantry Chapel, which contains the equally beautiful tomb of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who is depicted in an elaborate, gilded-bronze suit of armour of Italian design from the tip of his swan helmet down to his mailed feet. A griffin and a bear guard Richard, who lies with his hands half joined in prayer so that, on the Resurrection, his first sight would be of Christ triumphant at the Second Coming. The adjacent tomb of Ambrose Dudley is of finely carved and painted alabaster, as is that of Robert Dudley and his wife – the same Dudley who founded the Lord Leycester Hospital.

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