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Sir Richard Bulkeley

2001/03 p6


Sir Richard Bulkeley


In his Natural History and Antiquities of Surrey, published posthumously in 1718–19, John Aubrey gives details of Ewell parish church. He refers to the impropriation being lately in the hands of Sir Richard Bulkeley, Bart., ‘a gentleman of large estate in Ireland; but unhappily plunged into debt, by supporting a Set of Enthusiastical Pretenders to Prophecy, whose first spawn appeared amongst the seditious and rebellious French Camisars and Huguenots, with whom he engaged so deeply, that not only his estate partly supplied their extravagancies, but he prostituted his excellent pen in defence of their frenzy, and misapplied a great capacity and good sense, by submitting to their groundless delusions’. The Camisards were Calvinistic insurgents of the Cevennes, who formed during the persecution which followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  According to Thomas Allen’s History of the Counties of Surrey and Sussex (1829), Sir Richard ‘was very short and crooked and expected under the new dispensation to be made straight and handsome in a miraculous manner; but, to his great disappointment he died before the miracle was completed’.


Aubrey describes how, ‘On a black Marble, under the Altar, on a Cheveron, are the Arms of Ulster between three Bucks Heads cabossed, Crest a Bucks Head, cabossed, issuant from a Crown and this inscription:


Here lyeth the Body of Sr. Richard Bulkeley, Bart, who departed this Life Aprill the 7th 1710 in the 47 Year of his Age; and also LUCY his wife, who departed this Life, October the 9th 1710 in the 47th Year of her Age’.


In Nonsuch Extra No. 4, The Monuments from the Old Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Ewell, Surrey, Maurice Exwood explains that the Bulkeley memorial slab was probably put in the floor of the Old Church Tower c.1848 when the remainder of the church was demolished, was lifted by the Ewell Tower Preservation Trust c.1979, found broken inside the tower in 1998 and was pieced together outside the tower in 1999. The memorial is still to be seen close to the foot of the tower, although the black marble seems to have changed to something more like sandstone!


Charles Abdy

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