Monumental Brasses

Monumental Brasses

Extract from an article by Eric Cross in the October 2004 issue of Sunburst – the Parish magazine of St. Margaret’s Rainham.

The Monumental Brasses in St. Margaret’s Church

A monumental brass is a flat metal plate engraved with a figure, and sometimes an inscription, and fixed to a memorial slab in the floor of a Church or a tomb chest.

All six remaining brasses in St. Margaret’s Church are in the floor of the chancel and covered by carpets. Unfortunately none are complete in every respect . We know that two others existed because their indents can be seen.


The oldest inscribed memorial remaining in the Church is the brass inscription on a stone slab in the floor of the chancel lying between the choir stalls. It is in Latin and states that James Donet Esq., died on the 8th February 1409. A separate brass that was also let into the slab is missing but we can see from the indent that it took the form of a small floriated cross with a quatrefoil centre and equal arms.

The Donet family lived at Siloam a former estate in the Parish of Rainham. James left a daughter and sole heiress, Margery, who married John St. Leger of Ulcombe. They had a son who became Sir Thomas St Leger, ambassador to France, and husband of Princess Anne, sister of Edward 1V. He is thought to be responsible for the celure on the roof of the nave.

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