Saturday, 27 July 2013

King's Langley church, Hertfordshire

All Saints, Kings Langley.

I’d travelled quite a way, so was glad that someone was in the dreary looking bunker attached to the church who could let me in. Most of the building is dull late Perpendicular, squat west tower and aisled nave with low clerestory, nothing to write home about. There is a splendid Jacobean pulpit and tester, but It is only in the n.e. chapel that the main reason for visiting becomes obvious, as it’s here that the heraldically rich tomb of Edmund of Langley eventually came to rest. Originally in the priory church close to the royal palace that gave this prince his name, the long chest tomb was removed here after the Dissolution of the monasteries. Edmund was the fifth son of King Edward III, and was the first Duke of York, head of that branch of the family that reigned on and off during the Wars of the Roses. As well as his own arms, differenced by a unique label, the tomb bore the arms of England, France Ancient, Leon and Castille and the Empire, as well as the arms of his brothers. There are also some tiles from the priory, and the battered effigies  of Sir Ralph Verney and his wife, whose tomb was only erected in the friary in 1528, having to be moved soon after. Some rather jazzy tiles around the altar are probably by the C19th firm of Godwin of Lugwardine The church is great for those interested in heraldry, and the pulpit is a splendid example, but this is one that only experts should go out of their way to view.

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