Monumental brass of Roger and Agnes Thornton, 1441, St Nicholas's Cathedral (formerly at All Saints), Newcastle upon Tyne

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This image, together with the information below, was generously provided by Bob Thornton, and is reproduced by kind permission of St Nicholas's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Roger Thornton was a benefactor to the town of Newcastle. His birthplace is obscure.

A typical 'Dick Whittington' when he arrived in town, he became a very succesful merchant. "In at the Westgate came Thornton in with a happen hapt in a ram's skin." So runs a traditional rhyme.

His benevolent munificence and pious spirit enabled him to be charitable to those in need. He built a hospital for the poor in Sandhill, near the Tyne.

The great east window in St. Nicholas Church (the window has since been restored and altered) was one of his gifts: on many occasions he contributed to the reparation of the ornaments of the church.

He was three times Mayor of Newcastle over a period of ten years and was a member of Parliament on several occasions, the last time being in the reign of Henry V.

This great benefactor died in 1429 and was buried in All Saints Church, Newcastle. On his altar tomb was placed this splendid Flemish Brass with its beautifully engraved figures of Roger Thornton and his wife Agnes. Numerous effigies of Apostles and Saints with their various symbols are also shown.

His wife Agnes, who bore him seven sons and seven daughters, died in 1411.

The Brass, dated 1441*, is one of the largest in Britain.


The translation of the inscription around the edge of the Brass is as follows:

Here lies mistress Agnes formerly wife of Roger Thornton who died in St. Katherine's Eve in the year of our Lord 1411. May God have mercy amen. Here lies Roger Thornton merchant of Newcastle upon Tyne who died in the year of our Lord 1429 on the 3rd day of January.


[* This is an error. The only dates given by the inscription are 1411 and 1429.]