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Two 14th century items from the previous Early English parish church are now displayed together in St Lawrence's Church - the Hungerford Effigy (traditionally attributed to Sir Robert de Hungerford (died 1352)), and the Indulgence Tablet from the Chantry of Holy Trinity (which Sir Robert had founded in 1325).

The elaborate monument with a long Latin inscription to his memory was restored in 2008 and is now mounted on the wall of St. Lawrence's Church, adjacent to the Hungerford Effigy. The restoration was the result of a consultation with Prof Brian Kemp, Reading University, who advised on the recovery and restoration of the tablet. The careful restoration has resulted in the engraving appearing more clear than might be expected for a tablet of its age - nearly 700 years. Professor Kemp dated the tablet to the mid 1320s because the form of Latin used in the inscription was not used after about this date. This was 25 years before Sir Robert's death in 1352.

The inscription invites viewers to pray for Robert de Hungerford in this life and the next.

The British Library holds a drawing of the tablet (in pen and ink with watercolour and bodycolour) dating from c.1730. It is titled: "THIS INSCRIPTION IS ON A YELLOW MARBLE FIXT INTO THE SOUTH WALL OF A SMALL CHAPEL JOYNING TO THE CHURCH OF HUNGERFORD COM : BERKS ". [British Library shelfmark: Maps K.Top.7.34.]

1730 Indulgence Tablet (BL) 600

Drawing of the tablet dating from c.1730 (British Library)

Transcription from the Latin Indulgence Tablet:

Whosoever shall pray for Sir Robert de Hungerford during his lifetime, and for his soul after his death, shall have 550 days of pardon, granted by 14 bishops while he was alive. Wherefore in the name of charity [say] a Pater[noster] (Lord's Prayer) and Ave (Hail Mary).

Through the power of God the Father, through the wisdom of the Son, through the mercy of the Holy Spirit, possessing a blessed life.

I believe
that I shall be raised from the earth
that in my flesh I shall see God my saviour
that God the father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God,
that this same God shall judge everyone according to his works.

Photo Gallery:


The Indulgence Tablet from the Chantry Chapel of Holy Trinity, 1325

- The Indulgence Tablet from the Chantry Chapel of Holy Trinity, 1325.

The Restoration of the Indulgence Tablet:

In 2007 plans were made (and a Faculty, No. 6516, obtained) for the cleaning and restoration of the wall memorials in the church (at an estimated cost of £28,426).

The initial work was carried out in 2007-2008 by Michael Eastham, conservator, of Steventon, Oxfordshire. Unfortunately, a major disagreement occurred, and the contract was cancelled mid-way through the work. The Indulgence Panel had been conserved, and the plinth had been installed (£2,350 + VAT). Further work to adjust the tone of the inscribed lettering of the Indulgence Tablet was carried out following guidance by Prof Brian Kemp of Reading University. The remainder of the work was carried out by Sue and Lawrence Kelland of Sharpham, Somerset. 

A geological assessment:

The British Library (c.1730) drawing describes the tablet as being of "yellow marble". Professor Kemp described it as "limestone".

In an effort to try to resolve this dilemma, tions, an expert geological assessment was made by Dr Chris Carlon in February 2023.  See Chris Carlon's reports, 2nd February and 19th February 2023

"The surface of the tablet has been polished and the sides display slight metallic patinas which suggest that at some point metal has scraped along the stone. This would indicate that the rock is a very fine grained siliceous rock type rather like a flagstone. 

However my inclination, given the small areas of fawn-grey unweathered rock on the edges of the tablet, is that this is a polished slab of hard micro-crystalline limestone, referred to as a ‘micrite’ which has taken a rather good polish.

The inscription is very ‘clean’, sharp and ornate which suggests that the rock is ‘softer’ carbonate rather than hard siliceous mudstone. To indicate if the rock is siliceous or carbonate is a simple test using weak acid. 

The fact that the British Library refers to the tablet as “yellow marble” suggests that it is a carbonate rock rather than siliceous - the acid test would prove this, but the rock is strictly a limestone and sedimentary, not a crystalline marble and metamorphic. 

My conclusion is that its a polished slab of fawn grey, fine grained, hard micritic or microcrystalline limestone.

Further inspection with better directed light on the face of this tablet indicates that it is covered by many small areas of defacement of the polished surface with a fair amount of scratching and graffiti.

However the check with dilute acid detects carbonate and the ‘cloudy’ fawn-grey patterns weakly displayed in the rock confirm that it is most likely a chemical, sedimentary, crypto-crystalline (fine grained) carbonate mudstone or micrite, i.e a limestone rather than a metamorphic marble."

See also:

- Hungerford Effigy

- Chantry of Holy Trinity

- St Lawrence Church

- Sir Robert de Hungerford