CIMG1485

Restoration of Brooke Memorials at St Michael’s church.

Madeley Court, with its associated manor, was bought from the Crown by Sir Robert Brooke in 1544. The Brooke family became major benefactors to the local church. The Brooke family held the manor until 1727 when it was divided among a number of their heirs.

The Brooke memorials are surviving elements of a substantial monumental tomb that was originally located inside the north chancel of the old medieval church. The tomb was later retained by Richard Reynolds as a family burial place.

When the old church was demolished in 1794, four figures from the Memorial were retained and later placed in niches on the exterior of the new church, on either side of the chancel. The figures are made from sandstone. The new church designed by Thomas Telford was consecrated on the 16th April 1797 at Easter time. Each effigy is shown kneeling on a cushion. Sir Basil Brooke is shown in armour but the remaining images wear civilian dress. Beneath the cushions at the base of each niche is an inscription panel.

The figures represent Sir John Brooke (died 1598), his wife Ann (died 1608), their son Sir Basil (died 1646) and his wife Etheldreda “Audrey” (died 1624).

Severe weathering had caused the figures to suffer severe degradation with a loss of definition and the lettering on the inscription panels to become almost illegible in part.

With the support of the Living History Project, a HLF Lottery bid was made by Rev. Henry Morris in February 2004 to restore the memorials. The bid was successful and work started on restoring the memorials on 16th August 2004. The work was carried out by Cliveden Conservation from Bath. It involved rendering, stone consolidation, mortar repairs and pinning. There was also some stone replacement at the base of each figure. It was decided not to clean the figures as cleaning off the sulphur based soiling would cause more damage to the surface of the objects.

The restoration work was completed in January 2005. A booklet about the Brooke Memorials is available from Jubilee House.

As part of the same project, an education pack was produced in August 2005 by the Living History Project and a survey of the churchyard was carried out. A churchyard trail was later published in September 2007 – available from Jubilee House.

cimg1485
img230