Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Title: Philippa Carew
  • Creator:
  • Description: Mothers, like Mercy Hayme, mother of Philippa and the rest of the children on this monument, could not be confident that any of their children would survive. Childhood deaths were common in the medieval period, but distinctions were made between older children and those who died in the cradle. Philippa survived longer than her many brothers and sisters who died in infancy. This may explain why Philippa is the chief figure memorialized while her thirteen siblings are named and pictured in half-effigies at the frame of the monument. The inscription on the tomb reads: “Here lies Philippa, daughter of Nicholas Carew and Mercy, his wife, who once [lived] with her brothers and sisters whose names are sculpted below.”

    The Carew family was quite prominent as Philippa’s grandfather was keeper of the privy seal for Edward III, and her father, Nicholas Carew, succeeded to the family manors. This inheritance made his need for an heir particularly important and the disappointment of losing so many children particularly harsh. Even though death in childhood was common, parents still naturally mourned their children and felt emotional loss as can be seen on the monuments and other records regarding the burials of children. For example, there is this account from a schoolboy at Oxford in the 1490s. “A great while after my brother died, my mother was wont to sit weeping every day. I trow [am sure] that there is nobody which would not be sorry if he had seen her weeping.”

  • Source: Haverford College donated by David and Maxine Cook
  • Rights: Permission of Haverford College
  • Subject (See Also): Brass Rubbing Children Daughters Tomb Effigies
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 15
  • Date: 1414
  • Related Work: Brass rubbing of Philippa Carew's siblings from the tomb:
  • Current Location: Haverford College
  • Original Location: Beddington, Surrey, England. Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
  • Artistic Type (Category): Brass rubbing
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Heelball; Paper
  • Donor:
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): 12.7 cm/43.18 cm/
  • Inscription: Roberti cista Skerni corpus tenet ista, Marmorie petre, conjugis atque suæ, Qui validus, fidus, disertus, lege peritus; Nobilis, ingenuus, perfidiam renuit: Constans sermone, vitâ, sensu, ratione, Communiter cuique justitiam voluit. Regalis juris unicos promovit honores; Fallere vel falli, res odiosa sibi. Gaudeat in celis, qui vixit in orbe fidelis; Nonas Aprilis pridie qui moritur, Mille quadringentis D[omi]ni trigintaque septem A[ni]mis ipsius Rex miserere Jesu. Translation: Here lies Philippa, daughter of Nicholas Carew and Mercy, his wife, who once [lived] with her brothers and sisters whose names are sculpted below.
  • Related Resources: Michell, Ronald. The Carews of Beddington. London Borough of Sutton Libraries and Arts Services; John Bentley (Printers), 1981;
    Orme, Nicholas. Medieval Children. Yale University Press, 2001.