We came across a very special village church, St Michael’s in the village of Musbury, when we were visiting Devon in 2016. Special, because of the connection to the Drake family. On entering the building you can not but notice the Drake family memorial, begun in 1611 and enlarged around 1646. The memorial is a beautiful example of 17th century Renaissance style. It is divided into 3 sections, with a pair of kneeling effigies in each section.
The left-hand figures represent Sir John Drake (d. 1558) and his wife Amy (d. 1577) In the centre are Sir Bernard Drake (d. 1586) and his wife Garthrud (d. 1601), while in the right-hand section are effigies of another Sir John Drake (d. 1628) and his wife Dorothy (d. 1631). The figures all look towards the east aisle window, dedicated to Robert Hamlyn Mervyn Drake.
The arrangement of 3 pairs of kneeling couples is extremely rare in English churches. The couples are separated by pilastered screens, and kneel atop a plinth with coats of arms below. The top section of the monument is missing, and it is interesting to imagine what the entire memorial must have looked like when new.
Although the church is 15th century, the chancel was rebuilt in 1865 and the north aisle in 1875, so really the oldest part of the of the current building is the early 15th century tower. What we are looking at is really a Victorian interior, but if the Victorians had not restored the church, would it now be a ruin, and the wonderful memorial banished into the mists of time, well…..gone for ever. To me they did seem life-size, and quite amazing to look at, as if at any moment they would rise and go about their daily duties.
12 Replies to “St Michael’s Church, Musbury, Devon”
Another lovely church with unusual features. Thank you for sharing these photos. The couples are intriguing, and such a great chance to see the clothing and styles of their respective times represented.
Thank you and I am really pleased that you enjoy them. The figures fascinated me, and yes a great way to see the costumes of that date and style 🙂
I am so happy when historical places and objects survive. We can learn so much about them and about the people who lived then, I think.
Yes you are right, we can learn so many interesting things, even from just a few details 🙂
What splendid monuments~ the crown of this church I think~ wonderful photos .
Yes I think you are right, and thank goodness they were left alone when they did the Victorian restoration, they are quite amazing in flesh so to speak 🙂
That is a remarkable find! That would be amazing to see close up. I also like your photo out the porch. Another shot I wouldn’t mind putting on my wall. 🙂
It was a surprise when i got to the end of the church, made me jump a little when I first saw them. Glad you like the door photo, a favourite of mine as well 🙂
How interesting ! I don’t think I would have cared to wear those clothes with the high collars! The the doorway photo looking out.
No the collars would be a little rough to wear 🙂 Glad you like the door photo, i like it to 🙂
That’s what you call stiff necked!😂
Now that could be where the phrase comes from 🙂