Lady chapel

Monuments in the Lady Chapel

There is an important series of monuments across the east end of the Lady Chapel.

In the centre is the memorial to Sir Robert Eyre, buried here in 1736, occupying the full width of the chapel. It is oak-panelled and consists of a low platform containing a burial vault. Sir Robert was Recorder of Salisbury in 1696, MP for Salisbury 1698-1710, Chancellor to the Prince of Wales (later George II) and Lord Chief Justice to the Common Pleas.

In the right-hand corner of the Lady Chapel above the panelling is an alabaster monument in memory of Thomas and Elizabeth Eyre. This is painted to resemble the oak panelling of Sir Robert’s monument and shows Thomas and Elizabeth kneeling face to face at a prayer desk. In the panel below are 14 of their 15 children (the panel has been damaged, and one of their sons has been lost).

Six bearded sons kneel beneath their father, facing five sisters. Three children who died in infancy lie at the feet of their brothers and sisters, their bodies protruding from the lower edge of the panel. Elizabeth married Thomas in about 1567. Thomas was churchwarden of this church 1574-75, Mayor of Salisbury 1586-7 and represented New Sarum in Parliament in 1597.

In the left-hand corner is another alabaster monument, similarly painted to resemble oak panelling, which shows Christopher Eyre facing his wife Esther. Above the kneeling figures is a semicircular arch containing Father Time with scythe and hourglass. Christopher was born in 1578 and died in 1624, being the younger son of Thomas Eyre. He was a benefactor who left valuable bequests to the City of Salisbury.

Detailed descriptions of these monuments and the clothing worn by the carved figures can be found in the church records.

Medieval paintings in the Lady Chapel

On the left-hand wall are three medieval paintings. These paintings represent the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Nativity. The surrounding badges are those of the Order of the Garter (the Bishop at the time was Chancellor of the Order) and pots of lilies which traditionally accompany the subject of the Annunciation.

Windows in the Lady Chapel

The glass in the window behind the altar is mostly fragments from the larger earlier window that was destroyed during the Civil War.

The window over the door on the right to the garden has three main panes with good insertions of glass from the 15th century recovered from its destruction during the Reformation. The left-hand pane shows St Christopher bearing a child on his shoulder, the centre pane top has the remains of what is probably a depiction of God the Father, the centre pane bottom contains a mixture of shards with no pattern. The right-hand pane with a figure in a patterned gold chasuble is thought to show St Thomas of Canterbury.

The window to the right of the door contains a glass insertion thought to be of St Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1234, donated to St Thomas’s by the parish of St Edmund when the parishes of St Thomas and St Edmung were combined in 1974.

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