Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Bearing nine children in eight years...

Sir John Giffard & Wives tomb at Brewood

Poor Lady(ies) Giffard.  Sir John Giffard, who was the big-man in Brewood in the sixteenth century, had two wives, and had fourteen children with them. 
His first wife Jane had nine children in eight years, which is... well... incredible.  It's perhaps not surprising that she died in the throes of giving birth to her last child.

Sadly, most of Jane's children died young. Here you can see, on the side of the tomb, tiny statues that memorialise some of Sir John's children - the ones depicted in their shrouds are the ones who died young. A quick count shows that, of the ten shown, NINE died young.  The kind of grief the parents must have experienced almost seems beyond belief.
One touching item about this tomb (which you can't see here) is that there are three effigies on its top - Sir John is there lying squeezed in between his two wives. (See the Wikipedia page for a view).

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