Letherigham (Suffolk)
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St. Mary’s today.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sheriff Sir John Wingfield, Privy Councillor, Knight of the Bath, d.1389, in his Camail armor, with Wingfield arms on his jupon.

 

 

 

 

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Wingfield shield, depicting: 1-Wingfield, 2-Bovile, 3-Gousill, 4-FitzAlan (Earls of Arundel), 5-?, 6-Warren (Earls of Surrey), 7-De Vere (Earls of Oxford), 8-Bulbeck, 9-?, 10-Sandford, 11-Badlesmere; 12-Sergeaulx, 13-Howard (Dukes of Norfolk), 14-Scales, 15-Playse, 16-?, 17-Stafford, 18-Wentworth.

 

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Sir Thomas Wingfield , (d.1471, a c.1510 brass), wearing his family fretty [diapered] neckerchief.

 

 

 

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Letheringham Church in ruins.
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5. LETHERINGHAM (Suffolk). The Domesday (1087) church may have been near the Wingfields’ Old Hall, nearly a mile away. This is St. Mary’s, an Augustinian Priory from 1194 to 1537, the “heart” of the Suffolk Wingfields from the 1360s to 1708, supported with Wingfield money for nearly 650 years. In the 1360s Sir Thomas Wingfield, brother of Sir John, Chief of Staff to the Black Prince, married Margaret, the Bovile heiress. Both brothers fought at Crecy in 1346. St.Mary’s was a treasure house to an outstanding series of monuments to the Boviles and Wingfields (including Wingfield Lords from 1378 to 1638). These were destroyed or vandalised in 1536 (the Dissolution of the Monasteries) and in 1643 (Cromwell’s “desecrator”, William Dowsing); and the church was neglected in both the 1690s (when the Wingfield head of the family was abroad or in debt);  and also in 1723-1750 by the Nauntons. In 1744 “Honest Tom” Martin, the Suffolk historian wrote of “the tombs and monuments found in this fabric: “… I have neither seen nor read of any such place (except Westminster Abbey) so fully adorned with such noble remains of antiquity as are met here.”  In 1760-1789, the roof fell in and the monuments were further vandalised and soiled by exposure. In 1789 a contractor carted away the stone. Thus the magnificent stone memorial tombs to Sir Robert Wingfield (d.1454) & his wife Elizabeth nee Gousell, to Sir John Wingfield (d.1481) & his wife Elizabeth nee Fitzlewis, and to Sir Anthony Wingfield, K.G. (d.1552) were no more. And 10-20 Wingfield brasses vanished.