Hooded Tomb

By the south wall of the Church of St Mael and St Sulien stands what is perhaps, as Hubbard claims, ‘the most elaborate of the Welsh hooded tombs.’  Boasting fluted columns, decorated spandrels and a strapwork frieze, an angel  with outspread wings is carved in relief under the soffit, along with a skull and shields.

On the horizontal slab beneath the hood is inscribed the following dedication:

‘Here lyeth the body of Grace Williams, the wife of John Griffith of Bersham in the County of Denbigh, who was interred the five and twentieth day of March Anno D M 1642.

Amoris ergo posuit Iohes Griffith.
(for love’s sake John Griffth placed).
Ioe my sad pledge of last adieu
Is here presented to thy view.
Reader behold my losse soe deare
Spare thy censure spend a teare.’

The last line might suggest John feared criticism of the extravagance of this hooded tomb, which would be in keeping with the Puritanical times, even if this part of North Wales was largely Royalist in the English Civil War which erupted in the year of his wife's death.  Censure would be undeserving since, while extravagant it might be, the simple truth of the inscription burns through the ages.  In a 'world turned upside down', in which creative cruelties became something of a normality, a reminder that love existed at all, is something of a relief.

Other examples of hooded tombs can also be found at Dyserth.

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