Rood Screen and Chapels in Nave and Aisles.

The screen, with rood-loft over, extended across the east end of both nave and aisles, and there were entrances to the loft, from the newel stairs in the turrets on the north and south sides. The earliest reference to it, is in 1467. In that year Henry Bewfray, by his will left "1 lb. of wax for the common light before the crucifix on the rood-screen (in pulpito)," and ten years later John Hurte, Vicar of St. Mary's, desired "to be buried within the chancel under the rood-loft (sub ambone) at the quire step."

There were two bequests in 1504 for gilding the "rode loft," and in 1512 Robert Tolle gave 5s. to pay for the "newly bought cross," which presumably refers to the rood; and the same testator also directed his executors, out of his goods to make two images—no doubt St. Mary and St. John—about the crucifix (circa crucifixum) in the rood-loft. From these last bequests it would almost seem as if a new screen was erected about the beginning of the 16th century, and was completed in 1512 by the great rood and attendant figures. The rood was still in existence in the last year of the reign of Queen Mary,1 but in all probability it had, like so many others, been re-erected in her reign.

The Rev. A. D. Hill in the paper already referred to, places "another screen or pulpitum across the eastern tower-arch enclosing the chancel." This however would have been a most unusual arrangement for a parish church; and in the opinion of the present writer, Mr. Hill's deduction should not be accepted without further evidence to support it.

The east ends of the aisles were not screened off as chapels; but the altars of the two chapels in the nave were set clear of the aisles, against the western piers of the tower. This we know to have been the case in regard to St. Katherine's chapel, which stood on the south side, and it may be assumed that there was a corresponding chapel on the north, possibly the chapel of St. Luke near the altar of which, William Shirley, Corvyser,2 desired to buried in 1493.

When the porch of a church is not in the normal position in the second bay from the west, it is very usual to find that the west ends of the aisles were used as chapels. There is no evidence that this was so as regards St. Mary's; but if subsequently any more chapels are brought to light, the obvious position in which to place them, would be at the west ends of the north and south aisles.

The Gild and Chapel of All Saints.

The only mention of this gild is contained in the Borough Records3 under the year 1375-6, at which date John Crowshaw and Robert Baxter were collectors of the gild. No bequests or testamentary references to it have been found, not even where such might have been expected, as in the wills of the members of the Crowshaw family. John de Croweshaw, died in 1399, leaving forty marks to the fabric of the church, and his widow, Cecily, died five years later. She desired "to be buried in the church of the Blessed Mary, Nottm, next the body of John de Croweshawe her late husband," and left £10 to the fabric of the church, and £80 to chaplains to celebrate, in St. Mary's, for her soul and that of her husband. William de Crowshawe, senior, another member of the family, had in 1402 desired to be buried "within the sanctuary "of the church, which was perhaps the burial place of the family; but in none of these wills is there any mention either of the gild or chapel of All Saints. It may therefore safely be assumed, that this gild either became united to some other gild, at an early date, or ceased to exist. This probably occurred at the time that the church was rebuilt, and if so, there would have been no chapel of All Saints in the new building.

As, however, there is a continuous tradition from Deering downwards, that the chapel of All Saints occupied the north transept, it will be necessary to discuss the question more fully, and in doing so, the connexion of the Plumtre family with the church, and particularly in regard to the north transept, will have to be considered.

Vout Hall the original dwelling-house of the Plumtres, was in St. Peter's parish, and the place of burial of the family during the time they lived there, was in St. Peter's Church.

Emma4 wife of John de Plumtre, the founder of the Plumtre Hospital, who in 1403, made her will before Roger Fordyane, parish chaplain of the church of St. Peter, Nottingham, and all the chaplains of that church with many others of her neighbours standing round, desired "to be buried in the church aforesaid before the crucifix in the chapel of All Saints." Her husband John de Plumtre, in 1415 also desired to be buried in St. Peter's in the "chapel of All Saints before the crucifix," and he left £80 to keep four chaplains for four years, viz.:—two in the hospital at the end of the bridge, and two at the altar of All Saints, in St. Peter's Church. It should be stated that the Torre MSS. gave Emma Plumtre's burial under the heading of St. Mary's, instead of under that of St. Peter's, which has led to a great deal of confusion.

Thoroton further tells us that in 1408, Henry de Plumtre ordered his body to be buried in the "Chapel of All Saints beneath or in the Church of St. Peter," which seems to suggest the idea, that the chapel of All Saints in St. Peter's was in a crypt or vault beneath the church; and it is possible, that a similar dedication may at a later date, have been given to the Plumtre vault in St. Mary's. In twenty-three Henry VII. (1507-8), another Henry Plumptre purchased of Thomas Poge, a messuage and nine cottages on the north side of St. Mary's churchyard, where afterwards was situate the chief mansion house of the family. It is somewhat curious, that the last mentioned Henry Plumptre was buried in St. Nicholas', and it was not until 1552, that the first member of the family was buried in St. Mary's. This was John Plumptre, to whom there was formerly a gravestone in the north transept, the inscription and arms on which are recorded by Thoroton. It is significant that Henry Plumptre (1677), in his dedication of Thoroton's view of St. Mary's to the memory of his ancestors buried in the three parish churches of Nottingham, mentions the chapel of All Saints in St. Peter's, the chapel of St. Mary in St. Nicholas', but as regards St. Mary's only, says, in the north quire (choro boreali) of this church. It now only remains to consider in detail Thoroton's statement on this subject, on which, in fact, the statements of all subsequent writers are based. Thoroton5 speaking of Plumptre House says, "To this House it seems belonged a certain Chapel or Oratory, with a Quire adjoining to it, in the North side of St. Maries Church called the Chapel of All Saints which in the year 1632 Jan. 19 was confirmed to Henry Plumptre . . . . . . and the rest of the inhabitants of that House to hear Divine Service, Pray, and Bury in by Richard then Archbishop of York, under the hand & seal of Francis Whithington M.A. Surrogate of William Easdale, Dr. of Laws, Vicar General of the said Archbishop."

A search for this faculty has been made both in the Archbishop's Registry at York, and also in the Public Record Office, but without success; so we shall have to rely on Thoroton's version of the document.

In the first place, it is quite clear that the dedication to All Saints applies to the chapel or oratory—which since it is called our oratory, must have been quite small —and not to the quire adjoining it. This is an important point, as nearly all the previous writers on the church have given us to understand, that the whole of the north transept was dedicated to All Saints; and if this had been the case, the All Saints chapel, if it had existed at all, would have interfered with the much more important chapels of the Holy Trinity and St. John Baptist, which were in this transept.

In the next place, it must be borne in mind, that the chapel is not mentioned until 1632, at which date it must have long ceased to exist. This is, of course, on the assumption that the All Saints chapel is definitely referred to in the faculty, which, to say the least, is extremely doubtful. Again the study of a number of faculties, in the Archdeaconry Office at Nottingham, of about the same date, shews that the word "confirm," which was used in the faculty in question, would be used in conjunction with some other words such as "allot or appropriate," and that the grantee, however long he might previously have used the subject matter of the grant would have had no legal right to do so, until after the issue of the faculty. For instance, in 1635, two seats in St. Mary's, one for himself and wife, 5ft. long and 3ft. 7ins. wide, and another for his "mayde servants" near the middle of one of the great columns of the tower, on the south-west side of the church—occupying, in fact, the site of St. Katherine's chapel—were "appropriated and confirmed "to Sir Thomas Hutchinson, father of Colonel Hutchinson, by the then Archdeacon of Nottingham, William Robinson, who, it is of some interest to note, was brother by his mother's side to Archbishop Laud.

It will be seen from the above statement of facts, that the Plumtres' connexion with St. Mary's, was of too late a date to have had much, if indeed any, influence either on the structure of the church, or the dedication of its chapels; and my conclusion is, that seeing their rights in the north transept did not become paramount until post-Reformation times, it is improbable, that any part of such transept, or of the space adjoining it under the north tower-arch, was screened off as a chapel of All Saints; but on the other hand, it seems quite likely, that the dedication of the former burying place of the family in St. Peter's may have become associated with their later one in St. Mary's, in the same way, as subsequently, their name became attached to the tombs in the church.


Besides the figures on the rood, there were images of our Lady of Pity, the Holy Trinity, St. Katherine, St. Clement and St. Anthony. The normal position for the image of the patron saint of the church, was on the north side of the high altar, and there would be images of the saints, to whom altars were dedicated elsewhere in the church, in similar positions. Probably every church had a figure of our Lady, and very frequently more than one. Thus, Tichmarsh in Northants, dedicated to our Lady, had a figure of our Lady in the chancel, and one of our Lady of Pity in the church; and Bugbrooke, also in Northants, dedicated to the Assumption of our Lady, had figures of the Assumption and of the Nativity of our Lady both in the chancel, a figure of our Lady of Pity, an image of our Lady "standing in the window," and an image of our Lady in the steeple. We have no mention of the image of St. Mary at the high altar, unless, as does not seem unlikely, a bequest of 6s. 8d. contained in the will of Sir Robert Marssh, chaplain, who died in 1481-2, "to make a picture6 (tabulam) on the north side of the high altar " has reference to it.

Although there are only two churches in England of this dedication, images of our Lady of Pity must have been fairly common, as in the churches of Northants, where the information is available, their number was over thirty.7 So far as is known, two only of such images remain, the wooden one in Battlefield Church, Salop, and the alabaster one in Breadsall Church, Derbyshire. The latter stood as at St. Mary's, in the Lady Chapel, and fortunately escaped being irreparably damaged, when the church was recently burnt down.

All the images in the church, except those of St. Clement and St. Anthony, which are mentioned below, have been already referred to, in the account of the chapels.


Comparatively few bequests, for maintenance of lights, have been found.

Thomas Warner, in 1505, left 6s. 8d. to the light of St. Clement, and 3s. 4d. to the light of St. Anthony; and Stephen Townsend, who, in 1504, desired to be buried before the image of St. Anthony, left 3s. 4d. to the Corvesers' light. It is not known where the images of St. Clement and St. Anthony were situate; they have stood either alone or on the south side of some other altar. But as an alternative, it is also possible, that there may have been altars to these saints, opposite each other, at the west ends of the aisles.

There were also lights before the image of St. Katherine and the crucifix on the rood-loft, and the will of Thomas Warner further made provision "for one candle to burn in the church and one for the Easter sepulchre according to custom." The lamp in St. Laurence's chapel has been referred to in connexion with the Samon chantry, and at a late date, 1543, Elizabeth Gellestrop left a garden, as an endowment for one lamp before the Blessed Sacrament,8 which was no doubt reserved at the high altar in accordance with the English use.

This brings our subject to a conclusion. A knowledge of the past is not only interesting, as it enables us to form a correct picture of our churches as they existed in pre-Reformation times, but may also be of practical importance at the present day, when we come to restore and adorn such churches, in order to bring them again to their pristine beauty and splendour. The joint writers of a paper on the "Parish Churches and Religious Houses of Northamptonshire" in the Archaeological Journal,9 to which paper the present writer is much indebted, state in their introduction that "it is no exaggeration to say that no parochial history worthy of the name can be compiled without a careful study of the old wills;" and however this may be, there can be no doubt, that in the majority of cases, it is impossible to form any idea of the former aspect of our ancient churches, without reference to the wills of our medieval ancestors.

The writer wishes to express his indebtedness to Mr. A. Hamilton Thompson, F.S.A., who has been of the greatest assistance to him, particularly in regard to the translation and use of some of the Latin words contained in the wills.

(1) Borough Records IV., 405. (2) Shoemaker. (3) Volume I„ 192. (4) Not "Alice" as given in Torre MSS. (5) Page 497.
(6) Or carving. (7) There were images of our Lady of Pity in the Notts, churches of Flawforth, Headon, and Rolleston. (8) Borough Records III, 394. (9) Vol. XX, p. 217.