The arch has been dated to c.1300.18 According to the church guidebook, Stebbing Shaw suggested that the arch marks the tomb of Richard Stafford (died 1381),19 but what Shaw actually says is that the arch had a painted inscription (no longer visible by his time, having been whitewashed): ‘Here lyeth the founder of this church’.20 Shaw does not specify who might have been so described. It seems unlikely that an arch constructed in 1300 would house the tomb of someone who died eighty years later. In any case, by the time Richard died, the new chantry chapel (known today as the Lady Chapel) had been built. That chapel would have been a more fitting resting place for such an important individual as Richard Stafford, particularly as he probably helped to finance the building of the Lady Chapel.
E. W. Tristram, who examined the arch and the wall painting in the 1930s, proposed that the arch might contain the tomb of Richard Vernon (died 1338). Vernon was married to Maud (also known as Matilda, the Latin form of the name), Geoffrey Camville’s grand-daughter, and Tristram suggested that she was buried on the opposite side of the church
n the still extant tomb on the north wall of the nave. [see Fig. 5]