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Monuments in Cardington Church

The brass of Sir William Gascoigne March 2011
The brass of Sir William Gascoigne March 2011

The earliest monument in the church, other than the medieval tombstones in the Lady Chapel, is a brass to Sir William Gascoigne and his two wives. He was Lord of the Manor of Cardington and comptroller of the household of Cardinal Wolsey. He died in 1540. The brass is set into a tomb chest between the chancel and north chapel. Another brass is set into a corresponding tomb chest between the chancel and the south chapel. This is a memorial of Sir Jarrate Harvye who died in 1638 and his wife Dorothy, née Gascoigne. He was knighted after showing considerable bravery in the attack on Cadiz in 1596.

The brass of Jarrate Harvye March 2011
The brass of Jarrate Harvye March 2011

Another, old monument is that to Cecill Bussy who died on 1st March 1632, aged 29. It lies on the wall just above the brass to Sir William Gascoigne. An inscription, with its antique spellings, reads: “Death is the path that al must tread, found out quickly by some, whilst others goe about: then grieue not friends because I dide soe soone, I my dayes journey finished by noone”.

Memorial to Cecill Bussy May 2010
Memorial to Cecill Bussy May 2010 

Perhaps the most memorable things about the church are the various Whitbread memorials. The oldest of these was erected by Ive Whitbread to his ancestors. The text seems to have been done in two stages, the first in 1750, the last in 1766 after Ive’s own death. The monument was carved by Peter Scheemakers.

The memorial by and to Ive Whitbread May 2010
The memorial by and to Ive Whitbread May 2010

The large and impressive monument to Samuel Whitbread I, who died in 1796, is by John Bacon and was finished in 1799. The figure by Samuel’s head is Faith, pointing to Heaven. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner in his Buildings of England series for Bedfordshire comments: “This is a work more moving than Bacon usually tries to be”.

The memorial to Samuel Whitbread I May 2010
The memorial to Samuel Whitbread I May 2010

Both of Samuel Whitbread I's wives also have memorials in the church: Harriet Hayton or Haydon, whom he married in 1758 and who died on Easter Day 1764 and Lady Mary Cornwallis whom he married in 1769 and who died the following year. Both monuments are in the chancel.

Detail of the memorial to Harriet Whitbread May 2010
Detail of the memorial to Harriet Whitbread May 2010

The monument to Samuel’s son, Samuel Whitbread II, who committed suicide in 1815, and his wife Elizabeth is by H. Weekes and was not made until 1849. Pevsner comments: “One of Weekes’s best works”. The monuments to Ive, Samuel I and Samuel II all lie in the north transept of the church along with smaller memorials to Juliana (died 1858), wife of Samuel Charles Whitbread and their sons Charles and William. The family vault lies below.

Close up of Samuel Whitbead II on his memorial May 2010
Close up of Samuel Whitbead II on his memorial May 2010

Other monuments to Whitbread family members in the church lie in the south chapel. One is to Henry Whitbread who died in 1727 and another to General Charles James Conway Mills, who married Gertrude, daughter of Samuel Charles and Juliana Whitbread. he lived at Howard House and died in 1894.

Memorial to Charles James Conway Mills May 2010
Memorial to Charles James Conway Mills May 2010