The church at Clifton Campville: lordship and community 12th and early 13th centuries

Figure 15: Exterior view of chancel

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Figure 15:

Exterior view of chancel
The extension to the chancel, built in the time of Richard Stafford and Hugh de Hopwas, can be identified by the change in stonework. The window in the extension is a later 15th century insertion.
Photo © I M Curr

The 16th century

In the 16th century, the lords were probably still absentees and the main addition to the church came from a family which did not have a direct link with Clifton. This was the Vernon tomb of 1545 [see Fig. 16], which is now in the Lady Chapel. John Vernon was lord of Harlaston rather than of Clifton but perhaps wanted the status of being buried in a large and impressive church.72 There is a suggestion that this tomb was moved to its present location sometime before 1634 from a position closer to the chancel.73 This may reflect the religious upheaval of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Lady Chapel, having been originally built as a chantry chapel, would have lost that function after Edward VI’s dissolution of the chantries in 1547. This might have given the opportunity to place the tomb into its more prominent position in the chapel, although it was not until 1634 that the screen was erected in what is supposed to have been the tomb’s previous position between the chapel and the chancel. It is possible that the heraldic shields, superimposed on the wall painting in the south transverse chapel, were painted at about the same time as the Vernon tomb was installed. These shields were presumably added after the Reformation since one of them obliterates the Virgin’s face, so the 1540s would be the earliest date at which they could have been painted. One of the shields shows the arms of the Vernon family and the addition of these shields to this much older tomb and painting perhaps suggests that the Vernons wanted to gain some status by associating themselves with Clifton Campville and with its ancient history.

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