Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Title: John Leventhorp
  • Creator:
  • Description:

    The inscription on John Leventhorp’s tomb identifies him as an usher of the chamber, one of four men who was privileged to have direct access to the inner apartments of the royal court of King Henry VII. “Here lies John Leventhorp, Esquire, one of the four Keepers of the Chamber to King Henry VII, who died August 6th, 1510. To whose soul God be gracious. Amen.” The tomb inscription’s closing prayer was defaced during the Post-Reformation period.

    He is dressed in full armor with a rigid breastplate with a projecting ridge and lance rest and pieces for protection at the neck, arms, elbows, thighs, and feet. He carries both a dagger and a long sword. His head rests on a decorative helmet that he would have worn in tournaments rather than in battle. The crest, in the form of a human head, may portray a wild man, a popular figure in late medieval art and literature representing the animal side of human nature. Leventhorp rests his feet on a dog sitting at alert attention. The dog was often used on brasses to convey qualities of loyalty and courage. Leventhorp’s full armor and decorative pieces serve to emphasize his high social status and the masculine power he exercised through arms.

    Despite Leventhorp’s attendance at the royal court, scholars do not know much more about his life or his family connections. However, the nineteenth century history, Annals of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, London, connects Leventhorp to a family in Hertfordshire who served in Parliament and held Shingey Hall. Two shields on his tomb, now lost, would have contributed more definite information about Leventhorp’s family.

    The tomb is located in the nun’s choir along with brasses of two priests, Nicholas Wotton (1482) and John Breux (ca. 1500) and a lady in a heraldic mantle (ca. 1535, Feminae record). Married couples were buried in the parish section of the church as were Thomas and Margaret Williams (1495).

  • Source: Haverford College donated by David and Maxine Cook
  • Rights: Permission of Haverford College
  • Subject (See Also): Brass Rubbing Gender Knights Masculinity Tomb Effigies
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 16
  • Date: 1510
  • Related Work: Other selected brass monuments in St. Helen's Bishopsgate:
    Lady in a Heraldic Mantle, 1535
    Robert Rochester, Sergeant of the Pantry, 1514
    Photographs of Leventhorp's tomb in St. Helen's Bishopsgate:
    Rubbing of John Leventhorp's tomb on the Monumental Brass Society website:
  • Current Location: Haverford College, Special Collections
  • Original Location: London, Middlesex, St. Helen's Bishopsgate
  • Artistic Type (Category): Digital Images; Brass Rubbing
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Heelball; Paper
  • Donor:
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): 79.4/29/
  • Inscription: Hic iacet Johes Leenthorp armig' nup' unus quatuor hostiarior' camere dni reg' herici septimi qui obijt vj die augusti ao dni M vc x [cui’ aie ppicietur deus Ame] (Here lies John Leventhorp, Esquire, late one of the four Ushers of the chamber of the Lord King Henry VII, who died the 6th day of August in the year of our Lord 1510 [on whose soul may God have mercy Amen]) Source: John Leventhorp Display Notes, Hamline University
  • Related Resources: Bertram, Father Jerome. Monumental Brasses as Art and History. Alan Sutton, 1996;
    Brass Rubbings Collection. 2013. Hamline University. http://www.hamline.edu/brass-rubbings/;
    Cox, John Edmund. The Annals of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, London. Tinsley Brothers, 1876. Pages 73, 233-234;
    Reddan, Minnie and Alfred W Clapham. “St. Helen's Bishopsgate: Fittings”, in Survey of London: Volume 9, the Parish of St Helen, Bishopsgate, Part I (London, 1924), pp. 36-51. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol9/pt1/pp36-51.