De Grey Mausoleum, Flitwick (Bedfordshire)
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Among the largest sepulchral chapels attached to any English church, this cruciform mausoleum houses a remarkable sequence of 17 sculpted and effigied monuments, spanning nearly three centuries (1615-1899), to the De Grey family of Wrest Park.
History to the present day
Henry Grey, the sixth earl of Kent, founded the mausoleum in around 1605, and was buried here in accordance with his will of 1614. This started the accumulation of one of the greatest collections of family funerary monuments in England.
The mausoleum owes its origins to the 'little Chappell or buryall place' added to the church of St. John the Baptist in Flitton by Henry Grey as a final resting place for his family and descendents. The church itself had been built by the de Grey family of nearby Wrest Park (make link to property page) one hundred and fifty years earlier.
For the next 250 years, the mausoleum was used as the burial place for members of the family. Their monuments clearly show changing attitudes towards death and bereavement from the 17th century to the Victorian period as well as changing styles of funerary architecture. The De Grey family members were not actually buried within their tombs, but instead in vaults beneath the stone floor of the mausoleum.
The founder Henry's monument is the oldest in the mausoleum and is characteristically Jacobean in style. The brightly painted effigies of the earl and his wife, Mary, lie on a large tomb chest, decorated with heraldic symbols.
Arrival information and how to find us
Address: De Grey Mausoleum, Flitwick, Bedfordshire, , United Kingdom
Contact the keykeeper in advance:
Mrs Stimson, 3 Highfield Road, Flitton (01525 860094)
Sat, & Sun.
Photographs courtesy of English Heritage Photographic Library.