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The Monumental Effigy
In the north chapel is one of the finest monumental effigies in Wales. It was moved into this chapel either at the end of the eighteenth century, or in 1845 when Sir Watkin W .Wynn caused an arch to be opened at the north side of the chancel. Thomas Churchyard observed (1587):-
'A monument, therein of good account. Full finely wrought, amide the queere I fpyde, A tombe there is, right rich and stately made, Where two doth lye, in sfone and auncient trade. The man and wife, with fumptuous follernne guvfe. In this ritch fort, before the aulter lyes. His head on creft, and warlike helmet ftayes. A lyon blew, on top thereof comes out: On lyons necke. along his legges he layes,Two gauntlets white, are lying there about. An auncient fquire. he was and of good race. As by his arms, appeeres in many a place; His houfe and lands, not farre from thence doth fhoe, His birth and blood, was great right long agoe.
The Latin inscription invites the reader to 'Pray for the souls of John ap Elis Eyton, knight, who died September 28, 1526, and Elizabeth Calveley his wife, who died in 1524 '. He fought at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 on the side of the victorious Henry Richmond and was rewarded with large estates in Ruabon, which were later in the possession of the Wynnstay family.
He received an annuity of ten marks from Henry VII '...in consideration of
the time and faithful service performed for us... in the course of our
triumphal victory ...'. The tomb was originally emblazoned in colour and the
small shields recorded the arms of families allied by marriage to the
subjects. The dress of the lady is an example of the costume of the period.
The knight clad in armour wears an SS Collar, the livery of members and
followers of the Lancastrians. It was also regarded as the badge of a member
of the Royal Household. After the Wars of the Roses many people who were not
royal officials also wore the collar. No personal features were required by
the patrons. Their memorial gave enough evidence of social position and
genealogical connections. The shield-bearing angels on the tomb sides are to
be found on many monuments. The idea of filling the sides with 'weepers ,
was probably Franco-Flemish and meant to represent the funeral cortege of
friends and relatives. It is not known where the effigy was carved. It may
have been at Burton-on- Trent, one of the centres for alabaster workers
immediately before the Reformation.
Copyright St Mary's Church Ruabon