Historic Churches 2018

BCD SPECIAL REPORT ON HISTORIC CHURCHES 25 TH ANNUAL EDITION 7 REMEMBRANCE and REMONSTRANCE A FENLAND CHURCH Claire Daunton The 15th-century nave roof of St Clement’s (Photo: Mike Dixon) S IR NICHOLAS Beaupre of Outwell, a village on the Cambridgeshire and west Norfolk border, was a man of detail, as his long and interesting will of 1513 makes clear. He wanted to leave nothing to chance. Very clear provisions were made concerning his land, his house and contents, and a range of other goods. He was concerned that his sons’ education and subsequent paths in life should befit their gentry status: he wished them to train in ‘the law’ as well as to concern themselves with the management of land. He had married well, to Margaret Fotheringhay, but it was more than a marriage for money and status: it was a close partnership, as the will indicates. His other concern was the parish church of St Clement, particularly the Lady Chapel, on the south side, where his family used to sit. He makes provision for repairs and repainting there and for hangings, as well as for a crimson cope (a cloak-like liturgical garment) for use in the chapel. The two quotations opposite, along with other detail from the will, make clear that he spent time in the church, to pray alone and take part in the liturgy, and that he liked to do this in a style befitting his status. But he was not a lover of great ostentation. There are marks of genuine piety in the will and of a genuine concern for the wellbeing of St Clement’s, as well as for the wider community of Outwell. He wished to be remembered as a devoted father, a devout Christian and a good member of the parish. Sadly, nothing now remains of the desk, the cushions or the hangings, but there is a tomb to Sir Nicholas and his wife and heirs. There is also some very fine late medieval glass in the tracery lights of the east window in that chapel, probably dating to the period when Sir Nicholas entered into his marriage with Margaret. The scheme includes …and al my bokes as prikson boke gramer bokes englyshe bokes and al other be devidyd be twine my sonnes Edmonde and Nichols excepte I wil my primer remain in o[ur]lady chapel in owtwell under lokke and key in a lytill deskewiche yf I leve I purpose to make for myself to sit inne and knele before sainte John and att pleasure of my nexte heres to have it born in to my chapel. I geve also my portas to remain. …also I will that iv coshons cov[er]yd with greys skinnys remain in the churche on my deske and iii upon my grave ston to sit on. Provisions made in Sir Nicholas Beaupre's will for St Clement’s in 1513