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The De Grey Mausoleum

A Scheduled Monument in Flitton and Greenfield, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0111 / 52°0'39"N

Longitude: -0.4577 / 0°27'27"W

OS Eastings: 505949.874214

OS Northings: 235858.216833

OS Grid: TL059358

Mapcode National: GBR G3J.YXZ

Mapcode Global: VHFQV.0QW6

Entry Name: The De Grey Mausoleum

Scheduled Date: 11 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014623

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27115

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Flitton and Greenfield

Built-Up Area: Greenfield

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Flitton

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The mausoleum adjoins the north and east sides of the chancel of the Parish
Church of St John the Baptist in the village of Flitton. The church, which is
not included in the scheduling, dates from the 15th century and is thought to
have been built at the instigation of Edmund, Lord Grey of Ruthin. The
mausoleum was added to commemorate later members of the De Grey family (whose
principal residence, Wrest Park, lies some 3km to the east) and to house their
mortal remains. The single-storey structure is cruciform in plan measuring
approximately 20m east to west, 17m north to south and 6m high. The walls are
constructed in brick, although this is now only visible on the east wall of
the north arm. The remainder of the exterior, together with the south wall of
the nave, is covered by a 19th century cement render which is scored to
resemble masonry. A low stone pediment follows around the base of the
mausoleum walls, and a stone string course is left exposed about 1.5m below
the roof line. The roofs are constructed of timber and slate with lead
cladding and are both pitched and hipped, the main roof being continuous
across the east and west arms. The walls are surmounted by crenellated
parapets with exposed brick coping, mimicking the architectural style of the
nave, except at the ends of the main roof which terminate in Dutch-style
curved gables. The parapet has plain inset rectangular panels at intervals
which correspond to the positions of functional or blind windows on the walls
below. There are two windows in the north wall of the western arm, both with
three round headed lights. The easternmost of these has been blocked, although
the tracery remains visible on the outside. There are two further windows in
the east walls of the north and east arms of the mausoleum. The former has six
round headed lights, arranged in two sets of three (one above the other); the
latter, four lights in the same design. Both have wooden tracery and contain
leaded diamond-panes and original 18th century ornate iron-work grilles. The
windows are protected on the outside by iron stanchions with fleur-de-lis
heads, and by modern wire screens.
The mausoleum, which is Listed Grade I, is entered through a plain, round-
headed doorway in the north wall of the chancel which contains an ornate
wrought iron grille and gate, painted black, with the monogram of Henry, Duke
of Kent, picked out in gold. The archway also contains a 19th century, partly
glazed pine screen and door, which is excluded from the scheduling. The
interior walls are plain with a uniform plaster surface, which continues over
the architectural details. The crossing in the centre of the structure has
four tall, semicircular arches opening into each of the chambers. These are
all without moulding although within the eastern arm the arch is bracketed by
Doric plaster pilasters and a tryglyph entablature. This is matched by a
similar arrangement surrounding the eastern window. The floor is composed of
stone slabs, arranged diagonally in the crossing and south arm, and square to
the walls elsewhere.
The mausoleum was constructed in two main stages, with subsequent alterations,
a process which is reflected by the dates and groupings of the funerary
monuments which it contains. The earliest, western arm was constructed by
Henry, Lord Hastings and Earl of Kent in about 1605, by adding extra walls to
the angle provided by the chancel and north aisle. The entrance archway was
built at this time and a window blocked in the chancel. It was intended to
receive the memorial for Henry and his wife, and also that of his father.
These were followed by monuments to his relations and heirs spanning the
remainder of the 17th century.
The earliest recorded memorial is that of Henry's father, Sir Henry Grey, who
died in 1545. This consists of a brass of three elements: an inscription
plate, a figure of of a youngish man and a shield of arms. The brass was
probably moved from within the church to its present location on the western
part of the chamber floor. The second memorial, to Henry Grey (the builder of
the mausoleum) and his wife, Mary Cotton, is located against the centre of the
north wall. This includes a large marble tomb chest supporting two life-size
recumbent effigies in polychrome alabaster with marble faces. The earl's
effigy, which lies closest to the wall, represents him in red fur-lined robes,
a high ruff and coronet, and with hands clasped in prayer. Lady Mary died in
1580, 34 years before her husband, and is buried at Great Gaddesden. Her
effigy lies in a similar position, slightly lower than her husband, and is
similarly dressed. The front of the tomb chest has two identical shields,
quartered with the painted arms of the branches of the family. A different
matched pair adorn the sides. A wall panel behind the chest carries the main
inscriptions and is flanked by two free-standing columns of streaked red
marble supporting composite capitals. The elaborate marble entablature above
includes two further shields of arms on pedestals above the capitals. In the
centre, separated by small marble skulls, stands the main achievement of arms
supported by gilded wyverns. A further gilded wyvern facing to the left
surmounts the whole panel. The 5th Earl is notorious for his part, together
with the Earl of Shrewsbury, in the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.
To the west, below the remaining window, lies the ledger (floor slab) in black
stone to Charles Grey, Earl of Kent, brother and heir of Earl Henry, who died
in 1623. A second ledger immediately to the south, although badly worn,
records Sir Henry Grey, Knight, Earl of Kent, Lord Weisford and Ruthin, son
and heir of Earl Charles, who died in 1639. This slab is thought to seal the
entrance to the early vault. To the west of Earl Charles' ledger, against the
western wall of the chamber, stands the memorial to his wife, Lady Elizabeth
Talbot, Countess Dowager of Kent, who died in 1651. The inscription is in gold
lettering on a large, convex panel of black marble contained within a
garlanded white marble frame. The frame is flanked by veined, Ionic columns
with ornate capitals and surmounted by a segmental pediment beneath a lozenge
with achievement of arms (fully coloured). The lozenge is supported by a
gilded wyvern and a white marble dog, and bracketed by the incomplete sections
of an arch which terminate in gilded florets. The whole stands on a low tomb
chest, with a projecting front panel which is carved with the date of its
construction (1653).
In the north east corner of the chamber, against the north wall, stands the
memorial to Henry de Grey, 10th Earl of Kent, and his wife Amabella Benn. This
construction accounts for the blocking of the eastern window on this side. The
monument includes a large white marble chest on one black step. The long
inscription on the front tablet was originally flanked by cartouches, of which
only one to the left remains. The chest carries life-sized effigies of the
couple in ceremonial dress (also in white marble), with the effigy of the earl
lying closest to the wall beneath an architectural surround. A central black
wall tablet with the main inscription in gold letters is flanked by two free-
standing statuettes representing Justice and Fortitude. The white marble
entablature above, supported by two Tuscan columns in black marble, is crowned
by an uncoloured achievement of arms supported by the de Grey wyverns. Two
further figures (Wisdom and Charity) which were recorded in 1821 are thought
to have stood above the capitals, but have since been removed. The 10th Earl
died in 1658. The memorial (including both effigies) was erected by his widow
in 1653, although she survived her husband by 47 years, dying in 1698 at the
age of 92. Amabella, also known as `the Good Countess', is credited with the
revival of the family's fortunes; and together with her son, Anthony (the 11th
Earl), was responsible for the elaboration of the early house and gardens at
Wrest Park. To the south of Lady Elizabeth's memorial, against the south wall
of the chamber and near the west corner, stands the last memorial in this
group, a monument to Lady Jane Hart, the mother of Amabella Benn who
commissioned the work. Lady Jane died in 1671 and the monument is dated by
inscription to 1673. It includes a black marble plinth supporting a reclining
effigy in white marble. The effigy is clad in draped robes, the head supported
by the left arm. The plinth stands above a large rectangular panel in veined
white marble displaying a plain convex oval. To either side are consoles in
red marble with gadrooned sides resembling the edges of a sarcophagus. The
inscription plate above the effigy is in white marble framed by carved
gathered drapery. This is attached to a black marble background of low relief
columns and architrave, to which are fixed three white cherub heads and two
laurel branches in white marble. This is topped by a broken pediment flanking
an oval cartouche in white which includes a plain lozenge, surmounted by a
skull, and garlanded with fruit and foliage. The memorial is framed within a
white marble architectural surround against the wall, the edges of which are
finished with pendants of fruit and flowers beneath cherub's heads.
The eastern extension of the mausoleum to form the present cruciform structure
was completed in two parts by Henry de Grey, the 12th Earl of Kent. A painted
inscription below a shield of arms on the west wall of the crossing records
the first and major phase which took place in 1705 following the wishes of his
grandmother, Amabella. Later alterations, including the rebuilding of the
chancel window, were made after the earl was created 1st Duke of Kent in 1710.
These changes were referred to on a second matching inscription to the north
of the first. The rectangular, brick-lined vault lies beneath the crossing and
parts of the north and south arms; and is sealed by a row of five plain stone
slabs located against the west wall of the crossing. The second group of
monuments represents the Duke, his first and second wives, and their children.
The crossing and the north arm contain monuments to six of his eleven children
by his first marriage. All but one daughter pre-deceased him.
In the north east and north west corners of the north arm are a pair of
matching memorials to Henrietta de Grey and Lord Henry de Grey, both of whom
died in 1717, the former aged 14 and the latter aged 21. The monuments include
large white marble plinths with moulded bases and gadrooned lintels, each
inscribed on the front. These support reclining effigies, also in white marble
depicting the deceased in classical robes and sandals, flanked by urns issuing
guilded wooden flames. Within the corners of the room, behind the effigies are
tall grey marble pyramids, each garlanded with a swag of white marble flowers,
and with small urns at the apex.
The monument to Anthony de Grey, the eldest son who died in 1723, stands
against the west wall of the north arm. The base of the memorial is a massive
black marble sarcophagus resting on eagle's claws clasping hemispheres. Above
this is a grey-veined, white marble slab on which rests a life-size effigy in
white marble depicting the deceased in a reclining position, dressed in Roman
armour. The inscription is on a plain white marble wall tablet behind the
effigy, with a simple moulded surround in black marble surmounted by a large
cartouche of arms with wyvern supporters. The monument was erected in 1726 and
is thought to be the work of a local sculptor named Dowyer. Anthony, commonly
called the Earl of Harrold, was summoned to Parliament in 1718 as Baron Lucas
of Crudwell, a title inherited from his grandmother Mary, the wife of Anthony,
11th Earl of Kent. The burials of the 11th Earl and his wife are recorded on
ledgers near the church altar, which are not included in the scheduling.
The memorial to Lady Amabell de Grey, who died in 1727, is situated in the
north east corner of the crossing. This includes a large simple inscription
panel in white marble with a moulded surround in grey-veined marble,
surmounted by a broken pediment flanking a cartouche of arms supported by a
pair of stags, which formed part of the arms of her husband John, Lord
Glenorchy, the eldest son of the Earl of Breadalbane. The pediment is flanked
by two swagged urns, one to the left requiring a niche in the side of the
arch. Against the wall behind is a large black pyramid with white borders. The
monument to Lady Ann de Grey (died 1733) is located to the south east corner
of the crossing. This memorial is similar to that of Lady Amabell, but has the
addition of a gadrooned lintel above the inscription tablet, and the shield of
arms above forms part of an additional panel with carved drapery. The upper
panel is surmounted by a broken pediment, the two halves bracketing a single
The monument to Henry de Grey, 1st Duke of Kent, and father of the above,
takes up the whole northern wall of the eastern chamber. It was erected
between 1728-30, after the death of his first wife, Jemima. The alterations to
the chamber, which include the addition of plasterwork columns and pediments
surrounding the entrance and window, are thought to be contemporary. The
monument includes a plinth which runs along the length of the room at about 1m
from the floor. This is divided into three roughly equal parts, the central
third projecting forward slightly and carrying the inscription for Duke Henry
who died in 1740. Above this section stands a grey marble sarcophagus on which
rests a white marble effigy of the duke in reclining position clad in Roman
dress and holding a coronet. The wall behind is clad in veined marble and is
similarly divided. Behind the effigy of the duke is a framed white wall tablet
inscribed to the duke. To the right is a similar wall tablet carrying the
inscription for Jemima, whose reclining effigy, classically draped, rests
directly on the plinth below. To the left is a matching inscribed wall tablet
to Henry's second wife, Sophia, who died in 1748, although there is no
accompanying effigy. On the front of the plinth below, an inscription tablet
records the death in 1780 of Lady Anne Sophia, the duke's daughter by his
second wife. The effigies are thought to be by the celebrated sculptor,
Michael Rysbrack, who is known for the Newton monument in Westminster Abbey,
and is also credited with the first representation of an English aristocrat
(the Earl of Nottingham) as an ancient Roman. The monument itself is signed by
the architect, Edward Shepherd, who is also thought to have designed the
alterations to the room. Henry, formerly the 12th Earl of Kent, was a
supporter of William and Mary during the Glorious Revolution, and became Lord
Chamberlain and Privy Councillor in the early reign of Queen Anne. He was
created Marquis of Kent in 1706 and Duke of Kent in 1710. During Queen Anne's
final illness he served on the Council of Regency which ensured the smooth
succession of George I. Under George he was later appointed Lord Steward of
the Household and Lord Privy Seal. The formal gardens at Wrest reached their
zenith under his direction, and included the construction of many of the
garden buildings, most notably the banqueting house designed by Thomas Archer.
The final memorial of this group is a single urn on a cylindrical column
located in the south east corner of the north arm. The inscription on the urn
refers to Lady Mary Gregory, the youngest daughter of the duke, and the only
child of his first marriage to survive him. She died in 1761, although this
information is not recorded on the monument.
The third group occupies the south wall of the eastern chamber and
commemorates Phillip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, who was married to Jemima,
Marchioness de Grey and Baroness Lucas (the granddaughter and heir of Duke
Henry), and their daughters Amabel and Mary Jemima. The central memorial is to
Phillip Yorke who died in 1790, but also commemorates his wife who died seven
years later. It includes a large basal plinth supporting a second, smaller
plinth which carries the inscription. Above this is a relief carving of a
grieving woman in flowing dress, seated by an urn, and set against a grey-
veined marble wall plate in the shape of an obelisk. The plinth is signed by
Thomas Banks, who is considered to have been the first truly neo-Classical
sculptor; his most celebrated work being The Death of Germanicus at Holkham
Hall, Norfolk. Phillip was a classical scholar and successively Member of
Parliament for Reigate and Cambridge before entering the House of Lords in
1764. In the same year he inherited Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire and was
appointed High Steward of Cambridge University. In addition, he had been made
Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire in 1757, and Privy Councillor in 1760. Both
he and his wife travelled extensively visiting the great gardens of the
period. These visits inspired some changes to the garden at Wrest.
To the right is mounted a white marble cartouche on a shaped black wall tablet
containing an inscription to Mary Jemima, Baroness Grantham and Countess de
Grey, who died in 1830. The cartouche is framed by grey marble drapery held
back by a cherub carved in relief from white marble. To the left is the
memorial to Amabel, Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and Countess de Grey, who died
in 1833. This comprises a large black inscription tablet crowned by a Baroque
cartouche containing a tinctured lozenge of arms. The whole is set against a
grey wall plate and flanked by Tuscan columns in veined grey marble, supported
by consoles in the form of cherub's heads clad in stylised heads of lion's
skins. The statues of two draped cherubs rest on the pediment above. Both
monuments to Phillip's daughters are signed by W T Kelsey of Brompton.
The fourth and final group of memorials is located in the southern arm of the
mausoleum and refers to Thomas Phillip, the 2nd Earl de Grey (son of Baron
Grantham and Mary Jemima, Countess de Grey), his wife, and three of their
children who pre-deceased them. The earliest of these, to Thomas Phillip who
died in 1810 aged 3 years and to Amabel Elizabeth who died in 1827 aged 11
years, is located on the south wall. It is a white wall tablet in the shape of
a sarcophagus with garland on a grey backplate. A second tablet, placed
symmetrically on the east side of the same wall, records Frederick William,
the eldest son of the 2nd Earl, who died in 1831, aged 21. The memorial, a
white wall plate of a draped sarcophagus topped by a flaming urn, is by
Matthew Wharton Johnson of London. Separating these two tablets is the
elaborate memorial to Henrietta Frances, Countess de Grey, the wife of the
2nd Earl, who died in 1848. The monument was erected in 1853. It includes a
large black marble plinth above which, in white marble and carved in various
stages of relief, are depicted a draped coffin with a large obelisk in the
background. Two weeping women lie prostrate across the coffin, a child kneels
at the foot and two further children stand behind it. In the centre is the
widowed husband, his head buried in his left hand in an attitude of despair.
In the low relief background stands a fourth child and four female mourners,
and above, near the top of the obelisk, an angel bears the soul upwards
towards heaven represented by a faint sunburst at the apex. The monument was
carved by Terence Farrell, whose other works include figures of the four
seasons for the terrace at Wrest Park.
The memorial to Thomas Phillip, 2nd Earl de Grey; the last to be placed in the
mausoleum, lies against the east wall of the south arm. The memorial to the
earl, who died in 1859, consists of a large tomb chest with Gothic panels
bearing shields of arms across the front and sides. The chest supports a life-
sized effigy of the earl in garter robes, carved by Matthew Noble. Noble later
carved the Wellington Memorial for Manchester, and became one of the most
popular sculptors of the day. The 2nd Earl was appointed First Lord of the
Admiralty in 1834, and Privy Councillor in the same year. Between 1841 and
1844 he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and in 1848 he served on the New
Palace Commission which judged designs for the Palace of Westminster. The earl
was a well-known amateur architect who, much influenced by French design,
undertook the demolition of the old house at Wrest Park and the construction
of the present house between 1833 and 1839. In 1834 he was elected as the
first president of the Institute of British Architects.
The chancel window in the west wall of the south arm is contemporary with the
extension of the mausoleum in 1705, and the three main lights with trefoil
heads below four smaller lights of the same pattern: the whole contained
within a perpendicular arch. A similar window in the east wall of the southern
arm is shown in an engraving dated 1821, but was blocked when the 2nd Earl's
memorial was added. The single recessed columns and moulding remain visible
framing the tomb chest. The rendering within the arch is inscribed with the
text from St John's Gospel "I am the resurrection and the life....shall never
die". In order to maintain a source of light to the chancel window, the
southern chamber was re-roofed c.1860 and fitted with dormers. The replacement
roof has wooden dentil cornices terminating in plain wooden shields.
The mausoleum was taken into the care of the Secretary of State in 1978 at
the request of the owner, Baroness Lucas and Dingwell, and with the agreement
of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of St Albans. It has since been
repaired and maintained by the Department of the Environment and its
successor, English Heritage.
The walls which form the east and north sides of the nave and the east end of
the north aisle are considered to be part of the church and are not included
in the scheduling. The iron grille set within the entrance arch, however, is
considered to be an integral part of the monument and is included together
with the memorials and the vaults below. The modern floodlight attached to the
east wall of the south arm and the wire screens which cover the windows are
excluded from the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The term mausoleum derives from a burial structure at Halicarnassus in Turkey,
built for King Mausolos of Caria in c.353BC, and is used to describe buildings
designed solely for the purpose of housing and commemorating deceased
individuals or groups (usually families).
Post-medieval mausolea can be dated either by documentary sources or from
architectural styles and commemorative inscriptions. The majority were
constructed in the period AD1700 to AD1900, although a few earlier and later
examples are known. The structures, usually built in brick or stone, may be
free-standing or attached to other buildings, and have a variety of plans,
including square, rectangular, circular or pyramidal forms. They were designed
to commemorate burial of the wealthier sections of society on a grand scale.
Existing examples represent all the major contemporary Christian
denominations, with some built by members of the Jewish faith. The buildings
usually have a ground or first floor where statuary and/or architectural
embellishment are prominent. The actual interments are usually on the ground
floor or in subterranean vaults. These storeys may be architecturally
elaborate, but are more commonly unadorned. Functional windows in any part of
the structure are rare. In most cases the burials are recorded on the
commemorative monuments above the interments, although burials may have taken
place elsewhere, in which case the memorial acts as a cenotaph. Mausolea were
often designed by architects and sculptors of national repute, and represent
the fashionable architecture and design of the time. Classical and Gothic
revival are common styles, including pseudo-Egyptian and Italian Renaissance.
Mausolea are rare, with only about 150 examples known nationally. Largely
associated with the residences of high ranking families, their distribution
is, however, widespread. Many are located within the gardens of great houses,
whilst others adjoin or are adjacent to a nearby parish church.
Examples which were designed by architects of national repute, show good
evidence of the architectural fashion of the period of construction, retain
good interior fittings and deposits (either from a single period or from use
within a defined space of time), show unusual or unique architectural or plan
forms, or are in direct association with other monument classes, will normally
be considered to be of national importance.

The De Grey Mausoleum is well preserved and of an unusual design; the
functional windows (formerly in all four arms) being a particularly rare
feature. It is considered to be one of the most important repositories of
funerary monuments in the country, the memorials spanning an usually wide date
range. Consequently, they illustrate a broad spectrum of artistic styles.
These illustrate the fashions and tastes of each generation from Baroque and
Mannerist forms, through neo-Classical designs to neo-Gothic motifs. The
mausoleum and its contents provide a record of the developing social status of
the De Grey family, which is reflected in the works of some of the most famous
and influential sculptors of the the day, and supported by a wealth of
documentary evidence.
The De Greys became one of the most prestigious families in the region in the
17th and mid 19th centuries, several members of which rose to positions of
great power and influence in the court and government. This historical
association is emphasised by the proximity of the monument to the main family
residence at Wrest Park, the gardens of which (like the mausoleum) are
accessible to the public.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Campbell-Kease, J, A Companion to Local History Research, (1989), 321
Cole, D, Beresford, C, Shackell, A, Historical Survey of Wrest Park, (1993), 11-35
Frazer, A, Mary Queen of Scots, (1975), 625-635
Halliday, F E, An Illustrated Cultural History of England, (1969), 189-219
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdon and Peterborough, (1968), 91-92
Treacher, W, Wrest And Its Surroundings, (1899), 21-33
Urban, , 'The Gentlemans Magazine' in Monuments of the Grey Family at Flitton, (1821), 393-4
conversation with the Incumbent, Nixon, B L, The later vault ay the De Grey Mausoleum, (1994)
De Grey Mausoleum, Inscription on Memorial to Amabell de Grey, (1727)
De Grey Mausoleum, Inscription on Memorial to Henry Grey and Mary Cotton, (1614)
De Grey Mausoleum, Inscription on Memorial to Henry, Ist Duke of Kent, (1740)
De Grey Mausoleum, Inscription on Memorial to Phillip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke, (1790)
De Grey Mausoleum, Inscription on the Memorial to Henry de Grey and Amabella Benn, (1658)
De Grey Mausoleum, Inscriptions on Memorials to Henrietta and Lord Henry de Grey, (1717)
Record of transactions, HBMC, Ancient Monuments Terrier (Flitton, De Grey Mausoleum), (1984)
Williams, D and Findlay, D, De Grey Mausoleum: Proposed Transfer to DoE Guardianship, 1977, Council for Places of Worship report

Source: Historic England

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