The Second Part of the talk Stewart Trotter and Karen Little gave in front of the Southampton Family Memorial in St. Peter’s Church, Titchfield, to a packed house Saturday 22nd October and Sunday 23rd October.
(It’s best to read Part One first.)
Lady Mary married an old family friend, Sir Thomas Heneage……
…….with extensive property in London……
……. and Essex……
……..on 2nd May, 1594.
Four days later she ordered, via the executors of her husband’s will, a SINGLE monument…..
….the one you see before you…….
…..from Garrett Johnson of Southwark – for £300.[£150,000]
The executors made no provision for the ‘new alteration’ of the Chapel that Henry had ordered in his will. So this means that £700 [£350,000] of the £1,000 pounds Henry left never made it to St. Peter’s….
Well, Mary did have a massive £5,000 fine to pay Burghley in October…
Harry had become interested in girls by then – but NOT Elizabeth de Vere….
The decorated chapel might have looked wonderful with its plaster coats of arms and pendants and marble-slabbed floor: but the killer direction was for the chapel to be….
….divided with iron grate from the church
…….to keep peasants like us out!
The design of this Titchfield memorial was very similar to the memorial to Sir Anthony Browne, Lord Montague, Lady Mary’s father, at Midhurst in Sussex. Montague had died of a long and lingering illness at the end of 1592 and experts are convinced that the same builders and sculptors – Garret Johnson and his son Nicholas – were employed for his memorial as well as the Southampton one.
Lord Montague was depicted in armour, kneeling in prayer on a raised central slab – while either side of him, lower down, lie effigies of his wives. His first wife, Jane Ratcliffe, the daughter of Robert, Earl of Sussex, had died giving birth to Mary Browne and her twin brother Anthony – but his second wife, Magdalen Dacre, was still alive – so her effigy would have been added later when she died.
The Montague memorial also gives us yet another spelling of the Southampton family name…..
Originally there were four obelisks round the memorial, just like those we see in Titchfield: but in 1851 the tomb was mutilated, sliced, moved to another church, left out in the rain for six months, shoved against a wall and the obelisks removed….
Mary clearly asked Johnson to use the same basic design for St. Peter’s, but to shuffle the bodies – and the sexes – around.
Ironically this resulted in Lady Jane – who had done all she could to prevent Mary marrying her son – ending up as King of the Castle.
Even Lady Mary wasn’t brazen enough to include herself as an effigy in the memorial: but she is mentioned bold as brass – or rather bold as marble – at the back of the tomb:
Here lyeth the body of the right honourable Henry Wryothesley, Baron of Titchfield and Earl of Southampton, who took to wife Mary Browne, daughter of Sir Anthony Browne Viscount Montague and of the Lady Jane Ratclyff his wife, one of the daughters of Robert Earl of Sussex. By which Mary he had issue the right honourable Henry Earl of Southampton now living, Mary married unto Thomas Arundell Esquire son and heir of Sir Matthew Arundell of Warder Castle in the county of Wiltshire: Knight. The Henry Earl of Southampton his life at his house at Itchell the Fourth day of October in the 36th year of his age and in the [blank] year of the reign of our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth in the year of our Lord God [Blank]
Johnson hasn’t chiselled in the dates. Perhaps no-one could remember the year….
The obelisks are made of red marble – from Sussex or Devonshire……
…..and though we don’t know what colour the Midhurst obelisks were, there is a good chance they were red as well.
Red obelisks were highly significant to Roman Catholics. Lord Montague’s memorial states….
This honourable man in the year 1553 was implored by Queen Mary in an honourable ambassage to Rome with Doctor Thirley Bishop of Ely which he performed to his great honour and commendation…
They remembered the year this time – but they got it wrong. It was 1555.
Lord Montague would have seen in person the famous red granite obelisk that originally stood in the centre of the Circus of Caligula……
– the only obelisk in the city that hadn’t collapsed….
It was said to be the last thing St. Peter saw before he was crucified by Nero……
…..so was an object of veneration to Catholics.
It had a bronze orb and spike at its top – rumoured, falsely, to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar – and had been peppered with bullets by Protestant soldiers during the Sack of Rome in 1527.
The Titchfield obelisks have marble balls and spikes at their summit – but the ones we see today are replacements…
In 1888 a photograph was taken that shows the obelisks cut short – and there is an old illustration of this as well…
We have a drawing by Grimm of the Montague Tomb in 1780 which shows the orbs and spikes complete….
…and they are thinner and longer than the Titchfield orbs and spikes…..
…..especially those drawn from the north side of the tomb….
A monumental mason I consulted at Kensal Green Cemetery…..
….. told me that he would never attempt to carve these shapes in marble – but would use metal instead, particularly as it was an indoor monument.
So if the orbs and spikes on both monuments were originally made of brass or bronze, they would resemble the obelisk St. Peter saw even more…
Pope Sixtus V – famous for re-erecting fallen obelisks….
….had undertaken the perilous project of moving the St. Peter obelisk in 1585/6…….
……..the orb replaced with a cross containing portions of the True Cross……..
……..to stand in front of St. Peter’s Cathedral itself.
It was a tremendous tourist attraction: people actually ran from the harbour to see it when their ships docked.
So it would have been very much in the minds of English Catholics in the 1590’s.
It was certainly very much in Shakespeare’s mind.
There is growing evidence that Shakespeare visited Italy…..
…… and I believe, along with Prof. Roger Pryor, that he did so in 1593.
I also believe he went to Rome, in secret, with Harry.
He writes about its ruins……
…. in his Sonnets….
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
….and about the fallen obelisks….
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed….
…..and about the desecrated orb…..
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage…
……on display in Rome to this day…..
Shakespeare was to return to this obelisk theme ten years later…..
Pasteboard obelisks – then called ‘pyramids’ – were erected for the Coronation Procession of King James in 1603…..
– but the winds blew them away.
They reminded Shakespeare of the real obelisk he had seen in Rome….
No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
The contrast between the flimsiness of the ceremonial obelisks….
….. and the solidity of the Roman one…..
…. became for Shakespeare a symbol of the contrast between the fickle, feigned love of the Royal Court…..
……. and the deep, eternal love he felt for Harry, which….
…..was builded far from accident;
It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls
Under the blow of thralled discontent,
Whereto th’ inviting time our fashion calls:
It fears not policy, that heretic,
Which works on leases of short-number’d hours,
But all alone stands hugely politic,
That it nor grows with heat nor drowns with showers.
So there is every possibility that Shakespeare and Harry recounted their experience in Rome to Lady Mary…..
…..and so influenced the design of both memorials.
I believe there are other coded Roman Catholic references in the Titchfield memorial…
Beneath the recumbent effigies of the First and Second Earls, on the north and south sides of the memorial, are the alabaster figures of their children, holding up their hands in prayer.
They have books on lecterns in front of them – so they COULD be reciting prayers from the Anglican prayer book.
But it is much more likely that they are praying for the souls of their dead parents lying directly above them……
After all, Henry had left thousands of pounds in his will for people to do just that…
The parallel praying figures in the Montague memorial had been smashed up by 1780 – probably by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers billeted in Midhurst – and probably because of these Catholic associations.
Henry lies in polished armour, sword by his side…..
……but unlike his father-in-law, Lord Montague, he had never fought a battle in his life.
I believe his armour represents his fight for the Roman Catholic faith.
It is a replica of the famous, gilded armour worn by Henri of Navarre who converted to Catholicism in 1593.
So in 1594 his conversion would be fresh in everybody’s mind.
To Catholics – if not to Queen Elizabeth – he would have been a hero.
But are there any DIRECT links between the Southampton memorial and Shakespeare himself?
I believe there are four…
- The Writh, Risley,Wriothesley, Ryosely, Wrytheostley Coat of Arms.
On the front of the memorial, to the left, are Henry’s Family Arms shown impaled with his wife Mary’s Montague Arms….
The most ancient part of Henry’s Arms are four silver falcons – wings closed – with a cross of gold – in reference to a Writh ancestor who was appointed the Falcon Herald….
When the Shakespeare family were granted a coat of arms two years later in 1596, Shakespeare also chose a silver falcon – with its wings outstretched – holding a spear of gold.
This is clearly an acknowledgement of his closeness to Harry – who would have had to have given his consent for the use of a silver falcon – and the silver and gold colours – for Shakespeare’s crest.
2. The Southampton Family Motto.
On the front of the memorial, in the centre, is shown Henry’s crest as a Peer of the Realm.
At the bottom is his family’s motto:
Une par tout….
…though it was more often spelt in the Old French…
Ung par tout …..
All for One and One for All.
All is One and One is All.
Shakespeare plays with this motto time and time again in his Sonnets…..
…such as in Sonnet 8 where he writes about musical chords:
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing….
[Also see Sonnets 39, 42, 62, 76, 105, 109 and 135]
He uses the motto even more directly in The Rape of Lucrece….
The aim of all is but to nurse the life
With honour, wealth, and ease, in waning age;
And in this aim there is such thwarting strife,
That one for all, or all for one we gage….
But perhaps Shakespeare’s most striking use of the Family Motto is a mystic one. The Phoenix and the Turtle is a poem Shakespeare wrote shortly after Harry was imprisoned in the Tower for his part in the Essex Rebellion.
The great Shakespearean….Prof. Wilson Knight……
….. thought that the fabulous Phoenix Bird represented Harry and the work-a-day Turtle Dove Shakespeare.
They are two separate birds but become magically united as one in a mutual flame of love:
So they lov’d, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain…
3. The whole idea of a Memorial itself….
The building of the Memorial was a direct challenge to Shakespeare’s status.
It made him acutely aware that, unlike Harry, he was not an aristocrat and that….
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in men’s eyes shall lie.
However, the year before the design and construction of the Memorial, he and Harry had been to Rome where they had seen the tombs of the famous and the powerful reduced to rubble.
Shakespeare boasts that his verse will give the immortality to Harry that a tomb could never do…..
His verse, unlike a tomb, will live for ever….
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
By Victorian times this ‘gilded monument’ had become a vandalised ruin…..
…..just as Shakespeare predicted…
Even Lady Jane’s golden coronet had been broken…..
But as you can see it has been lovingly restored in the last century….
There is now no reason to doubt it will last as long as Shakespeare’s verse…..
And as we know, Shakespeare DID get his own memorial in the Parish Church of Stratford-upon-Avon…..
…..also designed by the Garrett family….
…whereas the only memorial to Harry is this one on the north side of the tomb…..
….which keeps him forever at the age of twenty one.
4. The Crypt to the Memorial.
1594 was also the year Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream – to celebrate the marriage of Lady Mary and Sir Thomas Heneage.
It was also the year when the summer was so appalling people sat by their fires in July.
Shakespeare refers to this in the play.
The ox hath therefore stretch’d his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain’d a beard;
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
The nine men’s morris is fill’d up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable….
The major discord in the play comes from the fight between Oberon…..
…..for possession of …..
….a little changeling boy…..
…..the son of a mortal friend of Titania who died giving birth to him…..
….as Mary Browne’s mother had died giving birth to her and her twin brother.
Shakespeare in the play was obliquely referring to the fight between Mary and Henry over possession of little Harry.
He shows, in the disturbance of nature, the spiritual repercussions on all concerned of such a bitter conflict.
Titania and Oberon are finally reconciled in the play….
…..Shakespeare in the play is attempting to resolve the old marriage so that the new one can begin….
But did Shakespeare’s magic work in real life?
Mary was to go through yet one more marriage before her death – to a much younger man.
But when she finally wrote her will, on 22nd April 1607, she expressed a wish that she might be interred….
as near as may be to the body of my dearly loved husband Henry late Earl of Southampton in the Church at Titchfield.
It is my hope that if the crypt were ever to be re-opened we would see the two coffins side by side….
….the souls of the husband and wife healed by Shakespeare’s poetry.
© Stewart Trotter 20th October, 2016.
These beautiful photographs – by Ross Underwood – have been added to the talk.
1. Jane, Lady Southampton….
2. Thomas Wriothesley, First Earl of Southampton…..
3. Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton….