|With the rise of the laity as patrons, donors were invariably shown
in the form of the couple, both husband and wife. With the exception
of the celibate clergy, then, women as well as men were part of the system
of donor imagery. Often the images, like the monumental sepulchral
brasses, represented the succession of wives of a deceased male.
In St. Margaretís in Lynn, for example,
the brass of Robert Braunche of 1364 shows both Letitia, his first, and
Margaret, his second wife. Anne Harling, represented her
three husbands in various ways in St. Peter and Paul Church East Harling.
The extant windows of Long Melford show family members and associates of
John Clopton, the founder of the reconstruction of the church. He
depicted his grandfather, Sir Thomas Clopton (d. 1383), the first Clopton
to occupy Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, having married
Catherine Mylde, heiress of the Hall. Family alliances
were of great importance in the shifting political atmosphere of the late
middle ages, as attested by a correspondence of a Norfolk family, descending
from William Paston + 1466. (See James Gairdner, ed., Paston Letters
(London, 1872-75); Richard Barber, The Pastons: A Family in the Wars
of the Roses Boydell & Brewer: Cambridge; and Gail McMurray Gibson,
The Theater of Devotion: East Anglian Drama and Society in the Later
Middle Ages (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 96-106).