Buckden churchyard, memorials, Dukes of Suffolk (1551), Whitworth, removals, September 2012
The south eastern section of St.Mary’s parish churchyard viewed from the tower parapet. The majority of headstones date from 1700 to c1840s with the obelisk extreme left and surrounding graves relating to the Whitworth family c1790-1820.
The table top tomb, closest of the pair mid-right, is alleged to be that of the two Dukes of Suffolk who died on 11th July 1551 from the English sweating sickness. It is likely that they were (originally?) buried in the main body of the church being such high ranking figures, but tradition has it that they lie beneath this outside tomb. Henry Brandon (16 years), Duke of Suffolk fled with his family from London and Cambridge to Buckden Palace, but succumbed to the disease that morning. His brother Charles (14 years) then became Duke of Suffolk, but lasted only about twenty minutes before himself dying. Poor Charles thus became the shortest-lived peer in English history; and for a while this got Buckden into the Guiness Book of Records!
The headstones and footstones at the top of the photo are those removed from the graveyard at the east end of the chancel, with permission, during the construction of the church’s Living Stones Room and extension to the north and eastern sides of the church. The graves and remains were undisturbed, only the stones were removed after careful research for descendents; detailed records were kept of this work.
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