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Monumental brass

Monumental brass

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1516 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved brass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by O. J. Charlton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58, case WS

Object Type
Brasses such as these were used to commemorate prominent local families and were usually set in the floor of their parish church.

Materials & Making
Brasses were cast in flat plates then cut to shape and engraved. The engraved lines were often filled with coloured composition to give them greater emphasis.

Subjects Depicted
The main inscribed brass reads: 'Of your charity pray for the soul of Henry Fayrey and Agnes his wife which lyeth buried under this stone, and the said Henry deceased the 28th Day of December 1516'. The main figures are all depicted wearing shrouds. The complete brass would have had an additional plate showing a group of daughters and four roundels.

This group of monumental brasses came from a variety of different sources - some were acquired from a butcher in Derbyshire and others from London dealers. They all came originally from Dunstable Priory Church in Bedfordshire. The elements were probably widely scattered after destruction during the Reformation and the English Civil War of 1642-1646.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1516 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved brass


Height: 12 cm, Width: 11.5 cm at feet, Depth: 0.5 cm

Object history note

From Dunstable Priory Church, Bedfordshire. Made in England

V&A Exhibition RF.2003/51

Descriptive line

Monumental brass of the five Fayrey sons

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Marks, R & Williamson, P. (Eds.), Gothic. Art for England 1400-1547, London, V&A, 2003

Labels and date

British Galleries:
MONUMENTAL BRASSES of the Fayrey Family
The Fayreys are depicted wrapped in their funeral shrouds. The shrouds were knotted at the head, wrapped around the body and tied at the feet before burial. The inscription refers to the Catholic practice of praying for the souls of the dead to shorten their time in purgatory. Henry and Agnes's five sons are shown on one brass and there was originally a similar group of their daughters. [27/03/2003]
Henry and Agnes Fayrey with their sons
About 1516

Henry and Agnes Fayrey, dressed in their finery on the funeral pall, are here shown naked in their burial shrouds. Their eyes are open and their hands raised in supplication. It is the very moment of their resurrection and Last Judgement.

Made in London by the 'F' workshop
Formerly in the priory church of St. Peter, Dunstable, Bedfordshire

V&A: M.126, 127-1922, M.2267-1931, M.33-1932
Cat. 350 [2003]


Metalwork; Death; Children & Childhood; Christianity


Metalwork Collection

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