Finding Edward (part one)

On a reasonably sunny day in June, my fiancee surprised me with a trip to Robertsbridge, in Sussex, to find the grave of Sir Edward Dallingridge. Those of you who have read The Scourge and are reading Nostrum will understand my affinity with Sir Edward. He’s my man crush, so I have wanted to visit the Church of St. Mary in Salehurst (next to Robertsbridge) for a long time but I could never seem to get there. I had read that Edward was buried there. Needless to say, I was ecstatic at the surprise trip.

St. Mary’s Church in Salehurst

The church was beautiful. Attractive on the outside, but absolutely gorgeous on the inside. What architecture professors like to call ‘really cool shit.’ I strolled through the nave, along the aisles, through the transepts, around the altar. I was like a kid looking for that one really cool Easter egg. But I couldn’t find it. There was no sign of Edward’s tomb. Could he be buried outside? Would they have buried a former marshal of London and builder of Bodiam Castle out in the elements? The shame!

So we wandered the churchyard, but there were so many gravestones, and so many worn away epitaphs, that we had no way of finding the grave. Worse, Annabelle had paid for a guide book about the church and told me there was no mention of Sir Edward in the book. So we decided to go to the source. Bodiam. The place where Sir Edward and Lady Elizabeth spent their days. Someone in Bodiam would know where they were buried, no?

Can there be a better name for a vicar than Jack Lusted?

No.

We spoke to a few people from the National Trust at Bodiam Castle and there was no consensus about where he was buried. The general impression was that he had been entombed at an abbey in Robertsbridge. Mike Williams of the National Trust was particularly helpful. He said that he was almost certain that the final resting place of Edward Dallingridge was at the Robertsbridge Abbey, although the entire place had long since fallen into ruin.

All that remains of John Dallingridge’s Effigy.

Edward’s son, Sir John Dallingridge, definitely had a tomb at the Robertsbridge Abbey. We know this because a section of Sir John’s effigy was found on the site (and is now on display at Bodiam Castle). So were Sir Edward and Lady Elizabeth also buried there? Probably. But one of the National Trust guides at the castle said she thought that one or both of them might have been buried at St. Giles Church, not far from the Castle in Bodiam. And yes, it’s the same St. Giles that Edward talks about in The Scourge and Nostrum.

Seeing as how we were in Bodiam, we thought it was worth a look. What did we find there? I’ll let you know in the next Finding Edward post.

Thanks for reading!

 

England is awesome.

The interior of St. Mary’s, in Salehurst.

Our quest took us back to Bodiam Castle.

Me and a plan of how the grounds of Bodiam Castle looked in Edward’s day.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Finding Edward (part one)

  1. Very cool! I think it’s great how this trip (what a gift!) is bringing alive for you the very history you’ve brought alive for all of us through your writing. And how much we’ll all eventually benefit from it as you put pen to paper. Er…fingers to keyboard. ;-) Thanks, Annabelle!

    • Thanks Chris! Yes, Annabelle has been my own personal tour guide in England for three years now. She takes me anywhere I want to go, no questions asked. She’s a keeper for sure! She’s the one who brought me to Bodiam that first fateful day when I learned about Edward Dallingridge, and she lives in Bury St. Edmund’s. How cool is she?
      You’re absolutely right about how it helps with the writing of the story. My visits to these places have influenced the novels so much. There’s a richness to writing that can only come from actually being in the places, smelling the scents, seeing the plant life, touching the stones that Edward Dallingridge might once have touched himself. I know it sounds a little corny, but it’s true. Visiting those places fills up my creative diesel tank.