||SEPULCHRAL BRASSES were the most common form of tomb monument and extremely
popular throughout the Middle Ages and into the beginning of the 19th century.
On flat incised brass plaques, clergy and nobility, and later merchants,
were represented supine and looking forward. The brasses covered
the place where the deceased were interred in the churches, at first in
the chancel, then side chapels, and finally the nave. Large and impressive
brasses date from the mid-14th century in Margery Kempe's parish church
of St. Margaret's in Lynn. They show wealthy merchants, including
several mayors, figures comparable to Kempe's family. These merchants
were part of the Hanseatic league that controlled trade among Northern
European countries, including the Lowlands, German, and East Prussia.
These contacts included cities like Gdansk (Danzig) now Poland, where Margery
Kempe's son emigrated, and where she visited with her widowed daughter-in-law.
8a Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, brasses in Clopton Chapel
8b King's Lynn, St. Margaret's, south aisle of choir (St. John's Chapel), monumental brass of Robert Braunche with both Letitia, first, and Margaret, second wife, 1364, 106 x 61 in., detail of Peacock Feast at bottom. Brass executed on continent. After John Sell Cotman, Engravings of Sepulchral Brasses in Norfolk (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1838)
8c Detail of face of Margaret
8d Detail of right border. Small images of prophets and apostles appear under arcades typical of mid 14th-century style named the "decorated" phase of English medieval period styles