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Little Wittenham Church
Brass with Kneeling Figures (1597)

North Wall beneath Tower

This rectangular plate of brass in a stone surround was once part of an altar tomb in the Dunch Mortuary Chapel in Little Wittenham Church. In 1862, it was moved its present position as a mural monument under the tower. 

"Here lyeth buryed William Dunche Esquier Auditor or the Myntes to our late soveraigne lordes Kinge Henrie the eight, and Kinge Edwarde the sixte and Esquier sworne extreordinarie for the bodye of our soveraigne Ladie Elizabeth. He maryed Marie Barnes they had yssue betwene them two sonnes Edmonde the eldest and Walter the younger which William deceased the .... daie of .... in the yeare of our Lorde God"

Ashmole fills in the date as 11th of May 1597. The brass shows two circular arches supported by Grecian pillars, within which kneel the two deceased. William is kneeling on a cushion at a small table covered with a cloth, on which is an open book. He is represented with short hair, beard and moustache, wearing a ruff and a doublet with frills at the wrists, and a long fur lined gown with false sleeves, the top parts of which, over the shoulders, are tied with bows. His two sons kneeling behind him, have ruffs, doublets, striped breeches and tight fitting hose.

Above him is a shield bearing arms:
A chevron engrailed between 2 castles and a fleur-de-lys. (Dunch).
Crests: A demi antelope rampant horned. (Dunch).

His wife Marie, who is also kneeling at a table, is wearing the French hood, with lappet behind, ruff, under gown, having full sleeves with frills at the wrists, and an over gown fastened with a sash at the waist and opening down the front showing the embroidered petticoat beneath and trimmed on either side with a broad ornamental. She deceased May 13th 1605.

Over her head is a shield bearing arms:
Dunch, as above, impaling 2 bars between 6 fussils, 3.2.1.
Crest: A demi unicorn rampant, collared and chained.

William Dunch lived at Little Wittenham Manor. As can be seen from the inscription, he was auditor of the mint to Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI and an esquire extraordinary to Queen Elizabeth who granted him the manor of Little Wittenham. He was MP for Wallingford in 1562 and Sheriff for the County in 1569 and married Mary, daughter of William Barnes, Esquire, of London and co-heir of her brother, John Barnes, whose brass memorial is displayed above them. They had two sons, Edmund and Walter. The latter is commemorated on a plaque which, apparently, once formed part of the the great Dunch monument to the former's son, Sir William.

Description edited from H.T. Morley's "Monumental Brasses of Berkshire" (1924) 


    Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved.