Sir Thomas Fulford’s Monument in Dunsford Church

Devon Notes & Queries Vol. 1, January 1900 to October 1901), pp.5-6.


Maxwell Adams

Prepared by Michael Steer

Dunsford Parish Church is the burial place of the Fulford family, and the tomb presents an example of decorated work of the Jacobean period [1603-1625]. Great Fulford near Dunsford has been the residence of the Fulford family (originally "de Fulford"), which took its name from the estate, from the reign of King Richard I (1189–1199) to the present day. There are thus few, if any, families in Devonshire of more ancient recorded origin still resident at their original seat. The monument was restored in 1845 by Col. Baldwin Fulford. "The original inscription apparently spoke poisonously of the Roman Catholic Church...at the instigation of a Roman Catholic friend, Dr. Oliver, a new inscription was supplied". The name of Mary, [ the 4th daughter whose effigy appears on the monument, is omitted. She was the 2nd wife of Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1565/8-1647), founder of the Province of Maine, known as the "Father of English Colonization in North America". Google with the Archive Organization has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. The Internet Archive makes available, in its Community Texts Collection (originally known as Open Source Books), books that have been digitised by Google from a number of libraries. These are books on which copyright has expired, and are available free for educational and research use. This rare book was produced from a copy held by the New York Public Library, and is available from the Internet Archive.


This monument is in the north aisle of Dunsford Church, and is a good example of highly decorated Jacobean Art. On the base, which is panelled in rich relief and gilded, are the full length effigies of Sir Thomas Fulford and of Ursula, his wife. Sir Thomas is in steel armour picked out in gold, wearing a red velvet tunic and pantaloons and Elizabethan ruffle and wrist-bands, but ungauntleted and without helmet. His wife is in a dress of Elizabethan period, ornamented down the front with a trimming of gild quatrefoils. She also wears a ruffle and flat-topped head-dress. 

Over these figures is a canopy supported by three fluted Corinthian columns in front, and two pilasters at the rear, with gilt bases and capitals. The ceiling of the canopy is divided into panels, enriched with gilded bosses. The en- tablature is decorated with cupids' heads, shells, and a series of shields of arms, and above is a billeted cornice. At the back of, and raised slightly above the effigies of their parents, are the kneeling figures of the seven children of Sir Thomas and Lady Ursula Fulford. In front of the first is a desk, facing which is a shield of the arms of Fulford impaling Bampfield. 

On the flat surface between the front columns is the following inscription : 

Heare lyethe Sir Thomas Fulforde Who died last day of July, an do 1610. 

Also his wife Ursula, who died 1639, daughter of Rich d Bampfield, of Poltimore, Esq r 

ist. Sir Francis, who married Ann, heir of Bernard Samways, Esqr, of Toller, Dorset ; 

2nd. William; 3rd. Thomas ; 4th. Bridget, married to Arthur Champernown, Esq., of Dartington ; 

5 5th. Elizabeth, married to John Berriman, Esq. ; 6th. Ann, married to John Sydenham, of Somerset. 

There are eleven shields of arms on the entablature of this monument, which are as follows, beginning on the west side : 

1 Gu. a chev. arg. (Fulford). 

The remainder (2 to 1 1) are impaled with the arms of Fulford. 

2 Or. on a bend gu. 3 mullets arg. (Bampfield). 

3 Arg. on a bend sa. 3 bears' heads erased of the first, muzzled of the second (Fitzurse, co. Somerset). 

4 Or. 3 torteaux (Courtenay). 

5 Arg. a chev. sa. between 3 moorcocks of the second (Moreton). 

6 Or. on a bend gu. 3 crosses molines (or formee) arg. [Belston] 

7 Az. 3 birdbolts arg. (Bozom, of Bozom's Zeal). 

8 Arg. a lion rampant gu. a chief az. (St. George). 

9 Gu. a bend engrailed az. between 3 leopards' heads or, jessant de lis of the second (Dennis). 

10 Arg. on a cross gu. 5 bezants (St. Aubyn). 

11 Gu. 2 bars arg. and an orle of martlets of the second (Challons). 

Over the monument hang an old helmet and sword.