The Polyptych, St. Mary's Church, Lydiard Tregoze

The Polyptych, St. Mary's Church, Lydiard Tregoze
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In the early seventeenth century Sir John St.John of Lydiard Park, a wealthy country gentleman, employed artists of the highest calibre to create a range of Renaissance monuments to commemorate his family and celebrate their ancestry, wealth, and taste. The most notable of these is the St.John family polyptych, regarded as the most splendid monument of the kind surviving in England. 

The polyptych contains eleven painted panels and began with a central panel (1615) attributed to the popular court painter, William Larkin. This life-size painting features Sir John’s departed parents, himself and his wife Anne (Leighton), and his six sisters. Sir John’s father had been knighted by Queen Elizabeth at Lydiard Tregoze in 1592, and it would have been an additional source of family pride that all his sisters made marriages befitting their rank. 

The monument's huge outer doors bear heraldic tables that demonstrate the family’s pedigree, including their close ties with the royal House of Tudor. Luckily for Sir John, he had an expert genealogist on hand to prepare the family trees. His uncle Sir Richard St.George was the second most senior herald in England.

c. 1617
St. Mary's Church, Lydiard Tregoze
Friends of Lydiard Park
Last updated on:
Friday 15th March 2024

Items of Interest

Photograph of Revd. Brian Carne & St. John Polyptych, c1965
Photograph of Revd. Brian Carne & St. John Polyptych, c1965

Large photograph of Revd. Brian Carne, Rector of t...