C is for….. Courtenay #funfactfriday
When Maud/Matilda Courtenay died in July 1467 she was buried in the priory church. From her will we learn that she asked for the anthem of Our Lady to be sung daily in ‘our Lady chapel there’ and that after, prayers were to be said daily ‘at my tumbe and buryell there for evermore’.
Sadly, we do not know what her chapel and tomb looked like; it was destroyed along with the church at the dissolution of the priory. There is an interesting footnote to the possible fate of her tomb. On 9 January 1940 The Western Morning News ran a short article under the heading, ‘Economic Influences of St. Germans Priory.’ Amongst ‘a collection of memoranda relating to the Courtenay family by William Richard Crabbe, of Heavitree’ was mention of a discovery at the Priory ‘which it is believed is not elsewhere recorded’. ‘“ June 1842. We have just seen a leaden coffin found last Wednesday, the 8th inst., in an excavation now making for a cellar by Mr. Nicholas Tuckett. The ground on which it was discovered formed part of the Church and Cemetery of the Benedictine Priory of St. Nicholas. We conceive the coffin contained the remains of Mawle the Relict of Sir Hugh Courtenay, Kt., of charitable memory, whose will bears date 20 August, 1464, and whose tomb was in the Lodge Chapel of St. Nicholas Church. Probably when her tomb was destroyed with the said Church about the year 1539, her coffin was opened in the expectation of finding some valuables, for the lid had been cut through lengthways. The contents were a few bones and earth and a bit of damp leather. Mr. Tuckett has shown proper respect to these remains and will have them buried deep under a slab in his premises.”’ Lynda Pidgeon, volunteer