Death and the practices that surround it, provide a touchstone of a community's cultural values, which are coloured by contemporary family sentiment embodied in memorial tablets to the dead.

A memorial for the dead at the place of burial, is customary, especially for distinguished persons, among nearly all peoples. It is of much importance in the history of art because the development of plastic art can be traced almost in its entirety by means of tombs, because the tombs, having, as a rule, been erected in churches, are better preserved.

Since the modern era put an end nearly everywhere to the burial of the dead within the church building, a new form of sepulchral art has gradually developed. This has produced works of the greatest beauty in all countries, but has also shown great variations in artistic sense, especially where the tendency is more to an excess of technique than to the conception of the eternal beliefs.

For most people, one of the social highlights of visiting a particular church for the first time is to glimpse through their memorials, the people to whome the building was the centre of their lives. In this respect, there is no better place to begin to trace these stories than the memorial tablets on the walls of Henstead Church. Their artistic dimension appears mainly in the mastery of linear expression expressed in letter carving. Generally speaking hunting for artistic merit in church memorials involves evaluating contrasting the carving in relief of letters and leaves

Palgrave, Robert Harry Inglis (1827-1919)
Sheriffe, Georgiana (1795-1824)
Sheriffe, Thomas (1791-1861)
Sheriffe, Thomas Bowen (1824-1864)
Sheriffe, Robert (1765-1840)
The Whitakers, George Ayton and Mary Henrietta
The Mitchells
William Clarke
Bence, Mary
Barker, Rowland Vectris (1847-1926)
Bagot-Chester, Heneage Charles (d.1912)

Robert Thomas Oliver Sheriffe sold his manor and estate of Henstead, based on Henstead Hall, at Michaelmas 1894 to Robert H Inglis Palgrave. Inglis, as he was known, was the son of Francis Palgrave and his wife Elizabeth Turner, daughter of the Yarmouth banker Dawson Turner. Inglis’ brothers Francis, William and Reginald all became eminent scholars like himself. The Palgrave boys had a along association with this part of Suffolk. Although brought up in London, they would holiday with their very strict grandfather, Dawson Turner at the Bank House in Great Yarmouth. The boys would play in an upturned boat in his garden, probably wonder at their grandfather's astounding art collection, and suffer the disciplines of being obliged to speak only Latin and French at meal times. Their grandfather packed the boys off to holiday in France, and instructed them to send him a note every day with their adventures described in French. Inglis went straight from Charterhouse at the age of 16 to join the business of Gurney & Co, the great Quaker banking family in Yarmouth. His maternal grandfather had been a partner in the bank, and Hudson Gurney, a family member, was a close friend of his father. Inglis himself subsequently became a partner, and married Sarah Maria Brightwen daughter of George Brightwen of Saffron Walden who was related to the Gurney family.

As a young boy Inglis was given a copy of Adam Smith's 'he Wealth of Nations' by his father, which, it is said, he treasured throughout his life. It certainly fostered an early interest in economics, which evolved and grew with his daily banking activities.

In 1870 he received the Statistical Society’s Taylor Prize for his essay on local taxation in Britain and Ireland. He published articles which dealt with statistical analysis of central banking, and the results are largely summed up in Bank Rate and the Money Market (1903), which was reviewed as, “a masterpiece of the art of making figures speak”.

In 1877 Inglis became financial editor of The Economist, eventually taking over the editorship, which he held until 1883. He also edited The Banking Almanac until his death, and for a time was editor of The Bankers’ Magazine to which he was a regular contributor after 1880. Inglis was also closely involved in bringing economics to bear on the public affairs of the nation. In 1882 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. His lasting monument is his Dictionary of Political Economy, which is one of the finest achievements of Victorian scholarship. He was knighted in 1909. Leading directly from Inglis Palgrave’s contribution to economic theory are various indices of community deprivation, which bring together data on income in relation to health, housing, education, and employment. The national sustainable development strategy is now using a national index of multi-deprivation to target economic resources on the most deserving communities.

Through Inglis Palgrave, Henstead Hall was a local focus for a line of illustrious scholars and artists who had long flourished in this small corner of East Anglia. At the beginning of the 19th century this had centred on Dawson Turner and his Yarmouth household, which became a forum of science, economics and art. This think tank included important national innovators such as the water colourist William Cotman and William Jackson Hooker, the famous botanist and academic. Cotman brought landscape appreciation to the eyes of the nation and Hooker, who began life as a wild-flower collecting brewer in Halesworth, eventually stabilised an embryonic Kew Gardens with science, making possible its present role as a guardian of the world’s diminishing botanical resources. It is difficult today to appreciate the importance and widespread influence that the Great Yarmouth group wielded, particularly as the borough entered the 21st century ranked fifth in the intensity of deprivation and 43rd in terms of its scale, with seven of its wards in the top 10% of the most deprived. In reality nothing has changed since the 1840s, when social cleavage between rich and poor was first attributed to the rapid rate of economic change. No where was social cleavage better illustrated than the wealth of the rector of Hestead and his curate, compared with the mass of agricultural labourers with their small plots of land in Hulver Street.

georgiana_sheriffe.jpgGeorgiana was the eldest daughter of Thomas Farr of Beccles, Suffolk, by Georgiana Gooch his wife, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Sherlock Gooch of Benacre Hall, Suffolk, and 3rd Bart.

She was born at Beccles in August 1795 and married Thomas (VI) Sheriffe at St. Mary's, Beccles, 1st May 1823. Thomas (VI) was provided with a marriage settlement from his father and on his father’s death he was left all the family plate.

The marriage produced one son, Thomas Bowen Sheriffe of Henstead Hall, Suffolk, and of Thurmaston Lodge, Leicestershire.

She died at Wheatacre, Norfolk, in September 1824.

Thomas Bowen Sheriffe was the son of Thomas (VI) Sheriffe and Georgiana Farr. He was born at Wheatacre 5th April, and baptised there privately, 9th April 1824.

The entry for Henstead in White’s Directory for 1844 states:

Thomas Sheriffe jun. Esq. (now a minor) …. is now lord of the manor and patron of the church. His father, the Rev Thomas Sheriffe is the incumbent.’

The Thomas Sheriffe jun. referred to above was Thomas Bowen Sheriffe, son of Thomas (VI) who would have been aged 20 when the information for the directory was collected.

Thomas Bowen Sheriffe was educated at Harrow and at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. 1847). His financial independence was assured by his marriage to Madeline Elizabeth, only daughter of Richard Mansel Oliver Massey of Tickford Abbey, Buckinghamshire, and of Kinrara, Invernesshire. Masseys wife was named Elise Marguerite. Thomas Bowen’s wife Madeleine Elizabeth was born 5th October, baptised, at Ratcliffe-on-Wreke, Leicestershire, 19th December 1831. The marriage took place at St. George's, Hanover Square, London (by the Rev. Evan Nepean), on Wednesday, 24th May 1854.

The day before their marriage, Thomas Bowen’s father settled £20,000 on the couple; the settlement to be held by them jointly. They set up home at Thurmaston Lodge, Leicestershire, which probably represents Madeleine Elizabeth’s dowry from the Massey family. Thomas Bowen thereby became a man of independent means.

The marriage partnership probably originated in Thomas Bowen’s passion for foxhunting. Madeline was born in Leicestershire’s hunting country. Thurmaston is one of several settlements situated to the east of Charnwood Forest, which is at the heart of first rate hunting country, where three hunts have territories intersecting at Melton Mowbray: Quorn, Cottesmore and Belvoir. In this respect, on the night of 30th March 1851, we find Thomas Bowen as a houseguest of Henley G Greaves Esq., of Cottesmore, Rutland, who was Master of his own pack of foxhounds. Greave’s household on this occasion consisted of 44 persons, including hunting guests from the length and breadth of the land with their servants, who augmented Greave’s own substantial band of household retainers. The collection of small woods and plantations surrounding Henstead Hall probably owe their preservation on Thomas Bowen's passion for hunting.

The Thurmaston area was attractive to young male aristocrats of the time, who would spend the whole hunting season in and around Melton Mowbray. ‘Meltonians’, as they became known, were devoted to hard riding, and would hunt six days a week throughout the winter months. In the evenings they relaxed with cockfighting, dogfighting, gambling and drinking. During one drunken night in Melton in 1837, the Marquess of Waterford and his friends poured red paint over the local nightwatchmen and then painted the walls of the town. This is said to be the origin of the phrase "painting the town red". The growing popularity of hunting led to problems ensuring a supply of foxes. In the early 19th century, foxes were imported from the continent, mainly from France and Holland. Landowners also planted artificial coverts - brushy areas for the foxes to live in. It became socially unacceptable for farmers to trap or shoot foxes - an act known as "vulpicide". There was a country saying: "Better kill a man than a fox".

It was in fact the spread of the railways in the 1840s that transformed fox-hunting. For example, a Londoner could now catch an early morning train to Melton Mowbray with his horse in a box, and get there in time for the day's meet. Between the 1840s and 1870s, the number of people hunting foxes increased tenfold. Women also began to hunt, riding side-saddle in thick skirts. For the first time, the sport attracted large numbers of people with little connection with the countryside where they hunted.

Thomas Bowen’s marriage produced four children; two daughters, Georgiana Mary and Madeline Harriet, and two boys, Robert Thomas Oliver and Charles Farr, who died on the 20th February 1874, age 11 years. They were born variously at Thurmaston and Henstead.

Thomas Bowen Sheriffe died prematurely at Thurmaston Lodge, only three years after his father, aged 39 years and 10 months. His death occurred, on Thursday, 11th February 1864 and he was buried at Henstead on the 18th February. A will dated 25th October 1862, has two codicils dated respectively 3rd November 1862, and 1st February 1864, proved (Prin. Reg., 204, 64) 21st March 1864, by Herbert Whitaker of Little Shelford, Cambridgshire, one of the Executors, and on 13th June 1864, by Charles Magniac, of 10 Upper Brook Street, Middlesex, the other Executor.

About a year after Thomas Bowen’s death, his wife Madeline Elizabeth moved laterally in the rural social strata to which she was accustomed, marrying for the second time at the Chapel of the British Embassy, Paris (by the Rev. Hogarth John Swale, Chaplain to the Embassy), on Saturday, 11th March 1865, Colonel Heneage Charles Bagot-Chester of Zetland House, Maidenhead, Berkshire, and of Southwold, Suffolk. Colonel Bagot-Chester was the younger son of Lieut.- General John Bagot-Chester, R.A., of Ashtead, Surrey, by Sophia Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Charles Swede Stuart of Kincaid, Stirlingshire. Born 12th February 1834, he was Colonel Reserve Forces, formerly of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and served throughout the Indian Mutiny 1858 (medal with clasps). He was a J.P. for Suffolk.

tsheriffe.jpgThomas (VI) Sheriffe was born at Uggeshall 8 March 1791, baptised privately the same day, and received into the church at Uggeshall 29 November 1792. He was educated at Harrow and at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking holy orders. He married Georgiana Farr(e), eldest daughter of Thomas Farr of Beccles, Suffolk.

Thomas (VI) was provided with a marriage settlement from his father and on his father’s death he was left all the family plate. The marriage produced one son, Thomas Bowen Sheriffe of Henstead Hall, Suffolk, and of Thurmaston Lodge, Leicestershire. He was born at Wheatacre 5th April, and baptised there privately, 9th April 1824.


In a Vault in the Burial Ground of St Paul at Deptford in Kent are deposited the remains of GEORGE MITCHELL only surviving Child of RICHARD AND SARAH MITCHELL and FRANCES MITCHELL his Wife only surviving Child of WILLIAM and ANN PELL who died in the prime of their days within six weeks of each other in the Year 1803

And of MARY ANN MITCHELL their Daughter who died in her infancy.

This Monument is erected to their memory in this Church with every possible sentiment of filial affection and gratitude by their only surviving Child FRANCES SARAH MITCHELL

To the Memory of William Son of JOHN and ELIZABETH CLARKE late Commander of the Ship Iris who was unfortunately Slain on the eve of Victory in an attack upon a Dutch Ship of superior force in the Indian Ocean on the 7th Day of Novermber 1804.

To an ardent and enterprising Spirit and a Courage equal to every danger, he joined all the amiable qualities of a dutiful son and an affectionate brother and by a deportment uniformly open and generous attained the regard and esteem of all who knew him.

Clarkes are recorded in Henstead from the beginning of the 16th century when a William Clarke, of Henstead, was buried in 1545, and Elizabeth Clarke married in 1548. A John Clarke, purchased Henstead land in 1575, of Humphrey Brewster, Esq., of Wrentham. John is designated of St. Margaret Ilketshall, in the purchase deed. In 1578, Jeffrey Bacon sold arable lands to the same John Clarke, called " Henstead Close," and other pieces of land containing nearly fifty acres, by the side of "John Willson, his pasture," &c. On the 12th of November, 1604, Thomas Clarke, of Henstead, purchased an estate of Thomas Wilson in the same village, for £4 7. lOs. ; and in 1641, his son bought lands called "Fairweather's " at Henstead for £520, of Thomas Buttolph, of Holkham; the lord's rent on which was £1. Os. 2d., and four capons and a hen.

The history of the Clarkes of Henstead was punctuated by the great fire which began in a farm-house and premises, adjoining the east end of the church, in which it had broken out by accident. These premises, which were not rebuilt, stood opposite to the present Henstead Hall. The fire spread to the church, destroying the greater part of the chancel and consuming the parish chest containing documents relating to the ‘town house’ and its associated charitable activities. In the parish register is the following notice of this event : "Elizabeth, the daughter of Alexander Burnet, clerk, and Elizabeth his wife, was born in the parsonage-house of Henstead, the 23rd of August, 1641, and baptized the tenth day of September, in the parish church of Rushmore, because the parish church of Henstead was then burnt downe."

Thomas Clarke was a trustee (foeffee) of the town charity and after the fire was instrumental in ensuring that the charity continued. This is set out in two indentures made after the fire at Henstead, April 12, 1658.. The following extract is from Suckling’s story of the Clarke family (The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk; 1848).

Witnesseth, that whereas by a suddaine and lamentable fire that happened in the said towne of Henstead, in the yeare of our Lord God 1641, there was not onelie severall howses of severall pesons borate downe by the same, togeather with the towne howse, but att the same tyme the church and chauncell of the said towne, in which was a chest, where amongst other thinges were all the wrightinges and evidences that did concerne or any waies belonge or apptaine to the towne howse and landes belongeing to the snide towne of Henstead aforesaid, were alsoe burnte, consumed, and utterlie lost, soe that the inhabitantes of the said towne now hath not any deeds or wrightinges to shewe concerninge any pte of the same, but onlye the coppie of an order or decree, which was, in the yeare of our Lord God 1608, written downe in the five and thirtieth page of the register booke of the said towne, as by the said register booke may appeare. And further, whereas the sd towne landes have alwaies bin in the handes of feoffees and of the survivour or survivours of them, to such intents and uses as hereafter shall be exprest. And whereas the said Thomas Clarke, beinge the onlie surviving feoffee of the said towne landes of Henstead, being desirous that the said towne landes might remain still in feoffees handes, and be imployed to such uses, intents, and purposes as formalie the same have usually bin. And that in tyme to come, those to whom it doth and may concerne, may not onlie take notice of what formly have happened, as before is exprest, but alsoe may knowe how, to whom, and in what manner, the towne landes aforesaid might be settled and conveyed, and to what uses, intents, and purposes, that therebie the towne might enioy its rightes, and the pfitts of the landes aforesaid might be inployed to right uses, according to righte, equitie, and good conscience.

Moving on with the Clarke history, Gregory Clarke, whose will bears date May 11th, 1723, died owning houses and lands in Bungay, and in the parishes of Earsham, St. Margaret, St. Peter, and Flixton, South Elmham, Mettingham and Fressingfield. He left, among other legacies, to " son John my silver basin, one silver porringer, four silver spoons of the best value, and my three silver castors." To the poor of Bungay, £5; the poor of Mettingham, twenty shillings ; the poor of Earsham, twenty shillings ; to be distributed in the church-yards. To his wife, all his wheat, cheese, coals, household goods, plate, linen, etc; and constitutes his son, Robert, his sole executor. The Clarke’s estate was situated on the northern part of the parish, near the 'old Hundred bridge', a picturesque structure of timber (see engraving), which by the time Suckling was writing, in the 1840s, had been replaced by a modern arch of brick, which then spanned the Hundred River river, then known as " Willingham water."

Regarding the status of the Clarkes at this time Suckling also writes:-

“There is an excellent and substantial residence of red-brick, built about forty years by the late Charles Clarke Esq. which was recently purchased by the Rev. Thomas Sheriffe and given by him in exchange, with 46 acres and 25 perches of land adjoining lying in Hulver, for about 39 acres and a half glebe, situated in that parish.

The said Rev. Thomas Sheriffe, as Rector of the Rectory and parish church of Henstead, granted and conveyed the former house and lands to the uses, and for the benefit of himself and his successors, Rectors of the Rectory aforesaid.

Notice of the intended exchange was dated April 14th 1846”.

Thus, the Clarke’s house became Henstead Rectory and in the Tithe Apportionment we find Charles Clarke living there as the parish Curate, farming the surrounding land, which remained in the the ownership of his family.



Sacred to the Memory of HENEAGE CHARLES BAGOT-CHESTER JP of Henstead Hall Wrentham and Centre Cliff Southwold. Late Colonel Reserve Forces and formerly of the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot – Whose mortal remains are buried in Ashstead Churchyard Surrey. Departed this life August 9th 1912. He was the second son of General John Bagot-Chester RHA of Chicheley Park Bucks. Beloved and lamented by all who knew him.

Heneage Bagot Chester married the widow of Thomas Bowen Sheriffe and so came into possession of Henstead Hall. By the will of Hariett Sheriffe, who was Thomas Bowen's aunt, Heneage inherited 'Centre Cliff', the grandest house in Southwold. Centre Cliff had been built by Harriet Sheriffe's father (the wealthy rector of Uggeshall) as part of a speculative investment to house upper class families, who at the start of the 19th century were desirous of spending the summer season by the sea.


Robert Sheriffe was the uncle of the Rev. Thomas Sheriffe. He was a wealthy brewer and property owner of Diss who, in the 1830s, had purchased the Henstead Hall estate and the manor of Henstead with the advowson of the rectory.

He appointed his nephew Thomas as rector, and when he died in 1840, he left Thomas the bulk of his estate.