St Briocus Church, Lezant

Yesterday I photographed two more churches (Lezant and Lawhitton) in my ongoing project to record all of the churches in Cornwall. Inside Lezant was an amazing slate tomb and monument to the Trefusis family.

The memorial is made up of a chest with backplate and end wall panel. Carved in relief on the backplate, inside a border of strapwork, are three shields. The first shield displays the arms of Trefusis quartered with Tresithney; the centre shield shows the crest and arms of Trefusis impaling Coryton; and on the third shield the arms of Trefusis quartering Milliton. Some slight traces of colour remain to show how the tomb might have originally looked..

At a right-angle against the south wall is a panel divided into two parts by a border showing an angel’s head and a pattern of a trailing vine. In the top half is the figure of Thomas Trefusis kneeling on a cushion before a prayer pedestal with an open book on it. He wears a ruff with his doublet and hose, while behind him his wife kneels wearing traditional gown and headdress. In the lower half of the panel are carved the kneeling figures of two sons and two daughters, the second daughter already deceased, as shown by a small skull.

On the top panel of the chest, which is badly cracked and worn, are two verses, one of them in Latin. The front panel is decorated with a design of four scrolls each with a Latin phrase. The end panel has a verse and simple incised pattern.

This marble monument faire though it be,
Trefusis, yet is farre unfit for thee;
Thou meek and mild, incidious unto none;
This base as beynge, if traced out of earth;
Thou generous by descent, of ancient birth;
And which is most, this fraile and ever wasting;
But thou eternal now and everlastinge.
Only herein this tomb seems like to thee.
As this, so thou in Church still lovest to bee.
The soules of those whose bodies thus ar spent,
seated above the starry firmament
have gaynd a state more permanent and sure;
let him (that hopes to have his house indure
for ever) build it there, where death nor fate
shall alter or determine his estate.

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