Sir Ralph Sadleir (1507-87), the great Tudor statesman and long-time resident of Standon, asked to be buried ‘not with anie pompe after the worldly manner, but in such sorte as shall be seemlie and requisite for a Christian man’.
His son, Sir Thomas, decided to ignore his wishes and commissioned very ornate tombs for his father and himself from leading London workshops.
Having stood in the Grade 1 listed church, St Mary’s, Standon for over 400 years, these magnificent tombs are now in need of careful conservation, repair and refurbishment to secure them for future generations.
Cleaning and various minor repairs completed! Excitingly, the cleaning has brought to light detailed carving of the very highest quality. Sir Ralph in particular has extraordinary fine detail. For example his pillow and bedding are carved with beautiful patterns and the edgings were originally gilded. Much more gilding has come to light than was originally found in the Conservation Report. Further expert advice and approval is required before we can carry out full re-gilding. The further work will take us beyond the funds currently raised but we are hopeful that future donations will enable us to bridge the gap.
'It is with great pleasure that I heartily endorse the Sadleir Tombs Refurbishment Project. St. Mary’s, Standon is a beautiful church built on land bequeathed to the Knights of St. John. However, it is the Sadleir tombs that visitors especially admire. From a Christian perspective Sadleir is also significant. He was a player in the great Protestant Reformation in England where politics met religious revival with our familiar history of Henry VIII and the perhaps less familiar joy of scripture being widely available in English for the first time.
The Sadleir tombs look impressive now but close inspection reveals that they are only a shadow of their former glory. It would be wonderful if they could be sensitively and fully refurbished. It would speak to our history, church and village, and also show the importance of spiritual life in a time of growing uncertainty.'