The Tallakarne monuments – a couple of rare beauties

Monuments appear in almost every one of our 16,000 churches, across the country. They vary tremendously; while some are simple and plain, others are ostentatious and imposing. The Tallakarne monuments are a couple of rare beauties here in Essex! So, let’s have a closer look at them.

When I saw the first of these monuments in St Andrew’s church, Helions Bumpstead I declared it to be unique. But I later found out that there was another in the church at Ashen, just 7 miles down the road. They are obviously ‘brothers’ by the same designer but differ slightly in paintwork and dedication. So, I think I can stand by my own statement and say, that they are both unique.

What do the monuments look like?

Luce Tallakarne monument in Ashen Church
Luce Tallakarne monument in Ashen church
Devereux Tallakarne monument in Hellions Bumpstead church
Devereux Tallakarne monument in Helions Bumpstead church

Both monuments are marble, painted, wall mounted and have inscriptions. They also have termini caryatids, which are half human forms, in place of columns that provide architectural support. It is a classical architectural feature dating back to Roman or Greek times. These two caryatids frame the dedications to the deceased and their family shields. Shields also top both of the monuments.

The monument in Ashen dedicated to Luce Tallakarne, who died in 1610. The panels and framing architectural columns and pediment are painted and the marble has been given ‘natural’ looking grain.

The monument at Helions Bumpstead is dedicated to Devereux Tallakerne, who died in 1627, and his wife. In addition to the caryatids and shields, this monument also has two obelisks at either side. It looks like the one in Ashen would have had them too. This monument also has painted details, but the colours and skill are slightly poorer than that of the one at Ashen. A more recent painter (perhaps during the 1950s restoration of the church) chose quite a bright pink, which really stands out.

The monuments are 17 years apart. Or at least the deaths of their respective Tallakarnes were. I think it more likely that the monuments were made at the same time. Perhaps at the time of the later Tallakarne, or somewhere in between the two. If the Tallakarnes were sharing an artist, it would make more sense for them to commission the monuments at the same time.

Who were the Tallakarnes?

Sadly, I can’t find very much out about the Tallakarnes. The inscription on the monument in Ashen reads:

Sir Giles Allington, of Horshen de Halle in ye Countye of Cambridge Knight. Married Margarett Argayle, widowe, she was ye Daughter of John Tallakarne of Tallakarne in Corn Esquire

Edward Tallakarne Als. Talkarne Gentleman y youngest Son of John Tallakarne married Alee Sewster Widdowe by whom she had 4 children. She was the daughter of Robert Alington Esquier. The Eldest sonne of sir Giles Alington knight.

Here lyes berried Luce Tallakarne ye wife of Captayne John Tallakarne Esquier by whom she had 7 children.

She was the eldest daughter of Thomas Cotton of Connington in the countye of Huntingdon by his firs wife Elisabeth Shirleye she departed this life the 3, day of December, 1610

The inscription on the monument in Helions Bumpstead is lost.

Interestingly though the inscription in Ashen more or less gives us a family history, but Devereux is not mentioned. Luce married into the family and I wonder if she and her husband John were the parents of Devereux or if Devereux was Johns brother. Either way more investigation is needed to discover more about the Tallakarne family, because their monuments are such rare beauties.

Do have a look at my other blog post about Helions Bumpstead. And, if you are fascinated by monuments, this one in Stansted Mountfichet is a stonker. The deceased was apparently killed by a stag, in very Game of Thrones style.

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