Church notes and drawings relating to Kent

Church notes and drawings relating to Kent, 1628-34
Sir Edward Dering (1598-1644)
Pen and ink on paper
35 x 45 (cm)
Society of Antiquaries of London

Belcher 1888, vol. 1, plates 8, 9; Evans 1956, pp. 21-4; Bertram 1971, p. 39, figs 12-13; Willetts 2000, p. 238; London 2007, no. 22
full bibliography (pdf)
 Along with Sir Christopher Hatton, William Dugdale and Sir Thomas Shirley, Sir Edward Dering tried to establish an antiquarian society with the title 'Antiquitas Rediviva' in 1638, but the enterprise did not prosper.

Dering set himself to record the church monuments and inscriptions of his home county of Kent, because these were invaluable records of family descents and alliances. These accurate drawings of monuments and brasses are among the earliest of their type. The notes cover 32 parishes in Kent, including Maidstone, Sittingbourne, Ashford and Cranbrook. This preservationist concern on the part of Dering and other early Stuart antiquaries was well founded, because the Civil War, beginning in 1642, resulted in the destruction of many memorials.

The pages displayed illustrate memorials from St Mary's, Ashford, which were recorded by Dering on 20 July 1628. They have since suffered considerable damage, and without this antiquarian record it would be difficult to envisage the original state of these monumental brasses.

The monument to Sir John Fogge (d. 1490), on the right, survives in its original position beneath the arch dividing the North Chapel from the Chancel. However, all that remains in the slab is Fogge's head resting on his impressive helmet with a crest depicting a unicorn, together with the unusual wreath enclosing an angel holding the inscription on the side of the tomb chest.

In the mid-1630s, Dering handsomely furnished the family chapel in his church at Pluckley in Kent, and had a number of mock-medieval brasses made to commemorate older members of his family - an early case of Gothic revivalism.