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Church Mystery


 

 

The Missing Boy

 

Egerton Memorial in Betley Church

The above Memorial is a very elaborate alabaster monument attached to the wall behind the altar rail, it is situated at the north-east corner in Betley Church. The inscription on this memorial is quite hard to read, being on a small panel set high up at the top of the memorial. The picture below is a closer look at the inscription.

The Inscription on the Egerton Memorial in Betley Church

This monument is dedicated to the EGERTON family and reads as follows: 

HERE LIE YE BODIES OF RALPH EGERTON
OF BETLEY ESQVIRE & FRAVNCES HIS
WIFE DAVGHTR TO SR RALPH EGERTON
OF WRINEHILL KNIT WHO HAD ISSVE SR
RALPH EGERTON KNIT WILLIAM  MARY & FRAVN
CES
WCH RALPH DIED YE 17 OF APRIL 1610
.

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 .

There are only three figures in the memorial. It is believed that a fourth figure that represented the son of the family, who knelt on the left of the memorial, behind his father, went missing in the early 1900s or some time before that. I have now discovered a document that was printed in June 1809 (I shall post this article on this page as soon as I can) that states the little boy was missing then, so no one still knows exactly when or where it went, or where it is today, or even if it still exists.

(If you have any knowledge of this missing boy, Please let us know. It would be wonderful to get him back where he belongs.)

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The following is the only text that I have found which contains any reference to the memorial, this is taken from the STAFFORDSHIRE PARISH REGISTERS SOCIETY book published in 1916 of the BETLEY PARISH REGISTERS 1538-1812, Edited by Percy W. L. Adams and transcribed by Ralph Thicknesse.

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The total height of the monument is 103 inches without the top ornament representing flames or plumes, which is about 12 inches high. The total breadth is 86 inches. The square in the centre is 37 inches both ways with an arched canopy rising out of it, under which are the two figures of the husband and wife kneeling opposite one another at a prie dieu of the shape of a classic altar. The figures as they kneel are 28 inches high. To make the design balance there were two figures of children, one kneeling behind each parent, but one of these is missing. The other, the daughter, as she kneels behind her mother, is 16 inches high. There are two pieces loose still placed on the monument which were appar­ently further ornaments, one on each side at the top. On the lower part of the monument beneath the figures are two sets of plumes, each group having seven plumes (not three, like the Prince of Wales). There are three shields on the monument, one Over the husband and another over the wife, which have precisely the same arms upon them (they were cousins), except that the husband's have a crescent on them for difference, he belonging to a junior branch. The husband's arms are on a shield and the wife's on a lozenge.

There are remains of the gold, but if the arms were coloured the colours of the arms have completely gone. Between the shield and the lozenge is a much larger shield which apparently 'contains other arms which they were entitled to quarter. The dexter half of the shield and the sinister half contain again precisely ths same arms except that there is a crescent for difference on the centre of the dexter side. The arms quartered on the large shield are :-Dexter : " Gules a fesse ermine between three pheons argent" for Egerton, " Ermine a fesse gules fretty or " for Hawkeston, " Argent on a chevron gules five bezants a bordure engrailed of the second" for Chettleton, " Argent a chevron between three water-budgets sable" for Hill, "Vert a chevron between three talbots pass ant argent" for Hownill. Egerton repeated. On the sinister side, the whole of the above are repeated for the wife.

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