Exceptionally complete Perp at St Peter’s Coughton

That’s how the official listing describes the older of the two Throckmorton churches that nestle next to Coughton Court in Warwickshire. The family were staunchly and sometimes dangerously Catholic (Robert Catesby, leader of the Gunpowder Plot was a son-in-law), and the later St Elizabeth’s RC Church was built by them as soon as the law allowed. The much earlier St Peter’s (the parish church) was built in 1528 by Sir Robert Throckmorton when of course the whole realm was still safely Catholic, and the arms of Henry VIII and his then still living first wife Katherine are in the head of the east window.

The window as a whole is much disturbed, but I was struck by the three large figures of Sybils that look to my lay eye to date from the time of its original setting up. There are comparable figures at Burton Constable from a similar date and probably belonging to another recusant family. And there remains a hint of similarity with the mysterious and beautiful central figure in the east window at Landbeach with its Beaufort connections.

Amidst all the gentle splendour of the Throckmorton’s, though, my other favourite image was of a simple floor slab commemorating Mistris Vallantine Grevill, A Maide. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.