A Key to the Entries

Brass Rubbings Collection

The descriptions and discussions of the brasses in the following guide to the Hamline collection of brass rubbings have been arranged according to county to conform to the system and arrangement of the rubbings in the university library.

For each account, the top line provides the name of the town, village, or city where the brass is found and the county, and to the right, the name of the church. The second line provides three pieces of information: the name(s) of the person(s) commemorated, the Mill Stephenson reference number in his List of Monumental Brasses in the British Isles, and the catalog number of the rubbing. Included, too, is the series to which the brass belongs, whether from a London or provincial workshop, and below is a brief description of the brass, a variation of its Mill Stephenson entry, including its current location in the church.

Take, for example, the first entry in the guide:

Ampthill, Bedfordshire                                                            St. Andrew
William Hicchecok and widow Agnes        M.S. I                A amp 1450/51 
                                               London: "B" series

Effigies of William Hicchecok, woolman, merchant of the Staple of Calais, 1450, in civilian dress, and his widow Agnes. Inscription in Latin. Originally on the floor of the church, now mural on the west wall of the nave in the north aisle.

You will note that the catalog entry consists of a letter symbol for the county, an abbreviation of the name of the town, and the date of death of the person commemorated and hence the probable date of the engraving of the brass.

What follows next is a much more complete description of the brass. The stance of each effigy is noted—whether full-face, semi-profile, or kneeling, as is the type of dress—civilian, military, or ecclesiastical. Described in detail are the specifics of costume: the various ecclesiastical vestments, the parts of armor, the tunics, kirtles, mantles, etc., worn by civilians, and especially the types of female headdresses. Any inscriptions on plates or scrolls are included and, if in Norman French or Latin, translated. For inscriptions lost from the brass or for those not rubbed, transcriptions are provided from other sources when possible. Shields and heraldic dress are noted with blazons given in heraldic terms and also explained for the reader. To conclude, the basic description, each part extant of the brass has been measured in both inches and centimeters: effigies, rectangular inscription plate, shields, scrolls, merchant marks, marginal inscription, and canopy.

The second major section, some account of the person(s) commemorated, may be non-existent, minimal, or lengthy depending upon the availability of information gleaned from county histories, church visitation accounts, archeological journals, books on brasses, or church booklets. Since few of the deceased are known to history, we have often merely their names, their trade or profession, and the date of death. Still, it is possible to trace some families through various generations, with brasses to illustrate marital alliances over the years. Photographs of some brasses are included, and a bibliography is appended to each account.

In addition to this guide, the following indexes in the Hamline University library may be of aid to anyone wishing to pursue the study of brasses in the collection:

1) an index of the persons commemorated on brasses
2) an index to the collection by town or village
3) an index to the collection by dates of engraving
4) an index by catalog number, providing all pertinent information from the Mill Stephenson reference, and including the dimensions of the various components of the brass
5) an index of brasses in each workshop series, London or provincial

About 90% of the brasses have been photographed, the pictures arranged according to the catalog number by county.

Finally, Hamline owns a fine collection of books on brasses, indents, and heraldry as well as issues of the Transactions of the Monumental Brass Society from Volume 11, part 5 (December 1973) and of the Bulletin of the Monumental Brass Society from number 3 (August 1973) to date.

Next, Inscriptions

Hamline University is not seeking additional rubbings for its collection.

Unfortunately, the Hamline collection currently has no rubbings from the counties of Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Lancashire, Monmouthshire, Northumberland, nor from Scotland or Ireland.