030. Wall Tablet - Theophilus Cave d.1656

Location:  Chancel North Wall

 

  1. This complex document is divided into two sections. The top section (see 9a) has three rectangular backplates - the lower section has two within an architectural framework. Above is a classical open and broken pediment.  In the centre is a square block on which is a cartouche with a curved scroll to the upper left and lower right. An oval frame surrounds a rounded oval heraldic arms.
    BLAZON Quarterly: 1 and 4 Azure fretty argent CAVE
                              2 Ermine on a bend sable.  Three whales heads erased. Argent WHALLEY
                             3 Sable, a cros patonce, or crest BRAHAM (ref a)
    Below the pediment is an upper entablature which rests on carved skulls.  A black rectangular slate tablet incribed with Roman caps, lies between these.  CAVE AVE, AETERNATITATEN - TAKE CARE, GREETING TO ETERNITY (ref b). there is another entablature obove modified Corinthian capitals, column and base which are free standing (see 9b).  The second slate backplate bears the main inscription in Latin and rests on a lipped tranverse rail.  Below that the third backplate has an English inscription.  Below this is a double entablature with a central rectangular block and a raised patterned face lies between them which encloses the plain fourth backplate.  Two massive volutes face inwards and downwards and sit on a cornice and two further rectangular blocks.  These enclose the fifth plain backplate.  Two curved brackets complete the monument.
  2. Slate and limestone
  3. Late 17th c
  4. H.( inaccessible)  x W 122 cms
  5. -
  6. Unknown
  7. Theophilus Cave was born in Barrow upon Soar in 1584, the second child of thirteen born the Henry and Philippa Cave (nee Braham).  Theophilus' father was the son of Francis Cave who built Baggrave Hall, Hungerton.  The Cave family were prestigious, influential and wealthy.  Originally from York they moved to Northamptonshire in the early 15th century and built Stanford Hall which became their ancestral home.  Theophilus's mother was a wealthy woman in her own right being the sole heir of Richard Braham, a lawyer who was appointed to the Recordership of Leicester in 1558, and who was the MP for Leicester at four parliaments.  In 1611 Theophilus married Isabel Allen of Sileby, whose father John Alleyn (Allen) was a mercer. They had no children.  In 1630 Theophilus Cave was one of only 5 'freeholders in Barrow.  In 1640   he was present at the induction of the vicar Anthony Berridge. On his memorial Cave is described as’gent’ and as ‘armiger’ which indicates that he was a man of private means and who was entitled to a coat of arms. Theophilus Cave died in 1656. Cave was much admired by his nephew Humphrey Babington who Theophilus had cared for after he was orphaned at the age of 15. In his will dated1686 Humphrey Babington established a charity in Cave’s name. The charity provided an Almshouse (Old Men’s Hospital) for 6 poor men who were called ‘The Beadsmen of Theophilus Cave’. The beadsmen were given £8 per year, forever, paid weekly for their maintenance. In addition each beadsman was given a load of coals each year. The beadsmen wore a gown of blue and white and they were obliged to attend 3 commemorative sermons to be preached in Barrow annually – two on Trinity Sunday and one on the last Sunday of October. Until recently children in Barrow were given a ‘Cave Bible’.(ref c and d)
  8.  Humphrey Babington
  9. (9a) Siste gradam, Viator; morae pretium spondee./ Dum legis Haec, teipsum perlege, /  & memorare novissima tua. / Hic fitus est Theophilus Cave, armiger/ Quem patri  Henrico Philippa Braham peperit/Fecun de tredecim puerperio;/1584,natus Octobris Ultima LVce; Denatus prIMa;/ En licet Vitae prior potior est Mortisat Probati moris & intermera’ae fidei;/ Qui furente bello plusquam civili Britanico,/ & novas res ritusque parrides molientibus,/Nec Deo nec regi infidus unquam extitit;/ Candidus Irenarches, & juris assertor rigidus,/nemo minusf/saeculo serviit aut Prospexit melius./Connubio cum Isabella, matron lectissima,/ junctus,annos Quodraginta vixerat./ Hunc tamen, liberis vacuum, voluit Deus/pauperibus & orphanis ut effet pater./ Humfredum Babington, Margaretae sororis filium,/Quem prius et pueritia orphanum aluerat,/& Deo &ecclesiae cons/fecterverat,/legitimum testament haeredem constituit/ Moritur, ut vixit, Deo dignis; & eo certe dignior,/ quod pie fe judicavit indignissimum./ Duce, tandem, Viator/ Beatos esse qui in Domino moriuntur. Vale./ Moestus & composuit/ posuit, Memor/H. Babington/ T:C:S:T:B:R:  
     (Ref e)       
                (Translation of above) Ref f.)
    Beware eternity, farewell,/Stay your step, traveller. I promise a reward for your delay./ Whilst you read these words, examine thyself and be heedful of your end./ Here lies Theophilus Cave Esquire/ Whom Philippa Braham bore to Henry,/ In the second delivery of thirteen;/ born the last day of October 1584; deceased the First;/Lo! Although the birthday is first, the day of death is more important./ He was a man of good morals and fearless faith/ Who, whilst the British Civil War Was raging more and more/ And whilst the traitors were grinding out new affairs  and usages,/He was not ever disloyal to God or King./ A clear leader of peace & strict advocate of justice,/ Nobody had less respect for the age or foresaw things better/ He had lived for forty years joined in matrimony with Isabella, a most excellent wife/ However, God desired that he, lacking children, should be a father to the poor and orphans./ In his will he appointed as his lawful heir Humfrey Babington, the son of his sister/ Margaret, an orphan whom he had first maintained from boyhood,/ And had dedicated to God and the church./He died as he lived, worthy of God, & indeed more worthy/ because he piously judged himself the most unworthy./Think, finally, Traveller/ That they are blessed who die in the Lord. Farewell/ H Babington, mournful and remembering composed and set this in place./T:C:S:T:B:R
  (9b) HERE IN THIS GRAVE THERE LIES A CAVE:/WE CALL A CAVE A GRAVE:/ IF CAVE BE GRAVE, AND GRAVE BE CAVE,/THEN    READER, JUDGE I CRAVE,/ WHETHER DOTH CAVE HERE LYE IN GRAVE,/OR GRAVE HERE LYE IN CAVE:/ IF GRAVE IN CAVE      HERE BURY’D LYE,/ THEN, GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY?/ GOE, READER, AND REPORT HERE LYES A CAVE /WHO  CONQUERS DEATH, AND BURYES HIS OWN GRAVE.
10. References
a) Drusilla Armitage  b) Ruth Ledbury  c) Eighth centenary of Holy Trinity Church by Mr Heywood Chilton. Mediaeval Leicester by Charles Bilson. The Braham Conveyance.   d) Eric C Wheeler, Sileby – Sileby Parish Records, John Allen’s will and The Visitation of the County Of Leicester 1619.   e) John Nichols (History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester.)  f) Jess Jenkins, translator. (Leics. And Rutland Record Office)

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Last Updated. 15-August-2016 By Anthea