Wentworth Memorial

Tomb of Sir Thomas Wentworth and Wife, Grace

Tomb of Sir Thomas Wentworth and Wife, Grace

The beautiful church of All Saints (Grade 1 listed) at Silkstone, near Barnsley, is said to contain many treasures.

Surely one of the most notable features is the Bretton Chapel, which houses the remarkable monument in memory of  Sir Thomas Wentworth of Bretton Hall, and his wife, Grace.

Thomas Wentworth fought with the Royalists in the English Civil War and was captured at the Battle of Naseby, and his estates were confiscated.  When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Wentworth’s estates were returned, and Thomas was knighted for his services to the Crown.  In 1664 he became the 1st Baronet Wentworth of Bretton.

When, in 1675,  Sir Thomas died without a direct heir, the baronetcy passed to his brother, Matthew, whose son (another Matthew) was the last of the Wentworths of Bretton to be buried at Silkstone.  This latter Matthew was the father of Sir William Wentworth (4th Baronet), who built the Palladian mansion at Bretton in 1720.

In his pamphlet, describing the Bretton Chapel at Silkstone, Stephen J. Healey comments:

“Sir Thomas lies in full armour, his left hand resting on the hilt of his sword;  the figure of his wife, Grace, who survived him by 23 years, is holding a book, a sign of piety and learning.  Eagles are at their feet.  There is a long Latin eulogy above the tomb, relating to Sir Thomas’s life and exploits, and a once brightly-painted coat-of-arms.

“The carving is absolutely sumptuous;  the figure of Sir Thomas himself is widely recognised as being one of the best examples of a Cavalier in existence. …

“Following the death of Sir Thomas … his widow Grace … became a Countess on her marriage to Alexander, 8th Earl of Eglinton. …  

“A well on the Bretton estate bears Grace’s name.”