St. John Tomb at St. Mary, Lydiard Tregoze, Swindon, Wiltshire
This tomb is to commemorate Sir John St. John and his two wives and family. It is quite remarkable; everything about this tomb is impressive - its size, its quality, its detail. What craftsmanship and dedication must have gone into producing the finest of detail in the clothing, the folds in the cloth looks very realistic. The hands look almost real, the lace intricate. It must look nearly as good today as it did when it was sculpted in 1634.
Sir John's first wife, Anne Leighton, died two months after giving birth to their thirteenth child in 1628; she is to his left side holding the baby. On his right side is Margaret Whitmore, his second wife, who died in 1637. All thirteen children are depicted with their parents - four of the children did not surviveinfancy and are shown reclining on their elbows (two sons) or resting a hand on a skull (two daughters).
On the chancel side of the tomb is an inscription which we could not photograph properly. It gives details of this generation of the family and a transcription can be seen on page 179 of the Wiltshire Collections book.
What sadness this family endured. Sir John died in 1648 aged sixty three. He lived through the death of both his wives and nine of his children.
Due to the high railings surrounding the monument it is difficult to photograph; the chapel is also quite dark. We recognise the photographs are not brilliant, but will at least give you some idea of how this beautifully crafted sculpture looks.