11. Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, interior, Clopton Chantry,
John Clopton’s tomb seen from chancel.
Clopton was among other weathy lay donors who managed to have their
tombs set next to the high altar of their church, with a chapel to one
side. The tomb sat under an open arch between the central and side
altars, and was used for the Passion week ritual of the Easter Sepulcher.
The ceremony involved "burying" the host on Good Friday by putting it in
a special place and bringing it out for the "Resurrection" on Easter Sunday.
Nightly vigils continued for the faithful from the time of the host's disappearance
to its retrieval. By designing a personal tomb that would also function
as the Easter Sepulcher the donor achieved the additional strategy of focusing
attention to his or her gift, and also insuring that the most poignant
and intense prayers connected with the belief in the Resurrection would
"wash over" the tomb itself.