Keys to the Past

Glossary

Effigy

A carving made in commemoration of a person or group. These are mostly made out of rough stone, but special types of stones, (alabaster or 'marbles') and wood have also been used. Individuals are usually depicted lying on their backs, often at prayer, though Post-Medieval examples are sometimes on their side.
Most examples are Medieval. The identities of those buried is sometimes recorded by inscription, or can be established by coat of arms displayed upon them - but many are unknown. They provide illustrations of armour and dress for those wealthy to afford to have them carved. Very occasionally they remain coloured, though more would have been coloured prior to the Reformation. Sometimes effigies were moved to new sites, so as to establish a bogus ancestral history.
E.g. Bothal and Chillingham Churches, (both Northumberland), alabaster effigies. Tomb at Bothal also alabaster. Chillingham effigies of the Grey's still coloured. 1650s effigy at Meldon, near Whalton, Northumberland. Movement of effigies carried out by the Lumley's at Durham Cathedral to Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

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