The Lumley Inventory and the Lumley Chapel

By Simon, Robin | British Art Journal, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview
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The Lumley Inventory and the Lumley Chapel


Simon, Robin, British Art Journal


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The publication of a splendid facsimile of the legendary Lumley Inventory, complete with expert articles about its intriguing history and contents, prompted thoughts about the fate of the principle surviving monuments which it records and illustrates. These are the Lumley tombs, which are still intact in their original location, even though the church within which they once stood has been truncated to the 'Lumley Chapel' which now stands apart in the churchyard of St Dunstan's, Cheam, Surrey (Pl 1). The parish church was built in 1864, after the original medieval church was demolished save for the east end, the north wall of which includes some stonework of the 11th century and supports the tomb monuments of John, Lord Lumley (c1533-1609), and his second wife, Elizabeth Darcy (d 1617) (Pls 5, 6, 7), while that of his first wife, Jane Fitzalan (1537-78) is on the south wall (Pls 2, 3, 4). These sumptuous creations were joined by many other significant wall monuments from the other parts of the church, with the result that the interior of the present little building resembles a kind of reference library of funerary fashion from c1590 (the ceiling, rebuilt by Lumley, bears the date 1592) to the latter part of the 19th century. The 20th century makes an appearance in the form of a framed document with coloured photograph that marks the passing in 1967 of Sir Lawrence Lumley, 11th Earl of Scarborough. It is pleasing that the family connection is maintained, in however diminished a form. Crammed all around are names evocative of our multi-cultural past: Pybus and Antrobus, Sanxay and Dubois, Yates and Peirson, Gilpin, Carrick and Kynnersley. Specifically re-echoing the recusant note of this place (Lumley and his Arundel father-in-law were both treasonably involved in the Ridolfi Plot) is the plaque to Charles, Lord Stourton ('requiescat in pace', 1753), a link, curiously, with The Rape of the Lock. This Lord Stourton was the second husband of the widow of Robert, Lord Petre, whose snipping off a lock of the hair of his distant cousin Arabella Fermor in 1711 provoked Pope's satire.

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