Pictured above: the memorial, erected in the early 1630’s
The Tuckfield Memorial
The central, figure of Elizabeth leans casually, on a desk (on which rests a Bible) supported by her left elbow. Her black gown has a starched white ruff and her right hand rests on a skull. Her face and the skull are badly battered, possibly because the Tuckfields were ardent monarchists and she was identified as part of a property owning elite by supporters of parliament in the Civil War which started just a few years after the erection of the monument. We know that her son, John, became a Restoration Commissioner shortly after Charles II’s accession in 1660.
The two male busts which flank Elizabeth’s figure are undamaged, the one on the left is Elizabeth’s father-in-law, John and that on the right, her husband Thomas, who specified in his will of April, 1642 that he should be:
interred in the evening in that vault in the higher end of the Chauncel of Crediton Church which I have prepared to be buried by my dearly beloved wife.
Thomas’s deep love for his late wife is apparent from the inscription under his figure:
Dignissimo Patri Clarissimo Qui
Conjuge Hoc Posui indignissimus
Thomas Tuckfield de Fulford
XII March 1630.
a translation of this part into modern English is:
I, the most unworthy Thomas of Fulford
Put up this monument for my most worthy
Father and my splendid wife
12th March, 1630
the second section of this inscription is a lamentation (quite possibly written by Thomas himself):
“Why doe I live a thrall of joy and all Bereft
Your winges were grown to heaven
are flown Cause
I had none am left.”
part of the inscription above the figure of Elizabeth is in similar vein:
“Nature & grace agreed in both to make
This perfect one
Whose choice of natures gyftes were polished by grace
Lovely to look upon
She fought the sacred fight sh’ath finished her race
She is rapt in glorie to behold the Almighties lovely face”
Again it seems possible that Thomas wrote these lines.
Thomas lived on to November, 1642 , but this date has not found its way onto any of the inscriptions on the tomb –indeed we don’t know whether his body is in the tomb – the early years of the English Civil War were ones of chaos.