Hawsted Church
Bury St. Edmunds, County Suffolk

Hawsted Church is a small parish church located a few miles outside of Bury St. Edmunds and dates to at least the 15th century. Unfortunately the church was out of their brochures when I visited so I am not able to provide a more complete history on the church.

Inside Hawsted Church are many wonderful Drewry artifacts. If you are ever in the area this church is a "must see" along with all the others of course. There is a tomb to Sir William Drury and his two wives, Joan and Elizabeth, who died 1557. Adorning the tomb are several small brasses of Sir William, his wives, and the Drewry Coat of Arms. In the sanctuary of the church are two magnificent tombs. One to Sir Robert Drury and his wife and the other to his daughter, Elizabeth.

The tomb of Sir William Drewry is not as elaborate as others with their sculptured marble figures. What denotes this tomb is a series of small brasses that adorn the top of the tomb. These brasses show Sir William and his two wives, Joan and Elizabeth, and the Drewry Coat of Arms are fine examples of brasses from the period.


The Drewry Coat of Arms appeared above the brass of Sir William Drewry. The brasses of Sir William Drewry, center, and his wives Joan, left, and Elizabeth, right. The Arms of Sir William Drewry impaled with those of his wife Elizabeth.
A brass showing a grouping of people. I am unsure of the exact meaning of this brass. A brass bearing an inscription. Once I have managed to decipher the inscription I will add it to this page.
Before visiting Hawsted Church I was aware of the tomb to Sir William and the brasses that adorned the top of the tomb. I was, however, not aware that there were also two other tombs in the sanctuary of the church. One to Sir Robert Drury and Anne, his wife, and the other to Elizabeth Drury, daughter of Sir Robert Drury who is buried at St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds, county Suffolk.
The tomb of Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Robert Drury, who died young in 1610. Elizabeth, as tradition has it, was betrothed to Prince Henry, the son of King James I. According to legend she refused to marry the Prince much to the dismay of her parents.

The famous Dr. John Donne, later to become Dean of St. Paul's, was chaplain at Sir Robert's home on Drury Lane in London at the time of Elizabeth's untimely death. He took the occasion to write two poems honoring Elizabeth: "An Anatomie of the World" and "The Progress of the Soul." In the latter, the following quote can be found:

"Her pure and eloquent blood
Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought
That one might almost say her body thought"

Sir Robert Drury died without living issue and thus ended the Drury of Hawsted line.

Elizabeth Drury (Recumbent)

Elizabeth's tomb was splendidly sculptured and, according to the church's representative, prepared at great expense to Sir Robert.

The sculpture at the base of Elizabeth's tomb shows two angels
holding a wreath with the entitled Coat of Arms emblazoned.

<-- A closer look at the Coat of Arms that were emblazoned upon Elizabeth's tomb. The Drury Arms appear in the top left next to the Arms for Saxham.

Like Sir Robert Drury's tomb in St. Mary's -->
Elizabeth's tomb also included a sculpture of a Greyhound.

The tomb of Sir Robert Drury and Anne, his wife, parents of Elizabeth, is immediately across the Sanctuary from Elizabeth's tomb. The sarcophagus stands under a double arch, supported by side pillars with Corinthian capitals, and a bracket in the center. On the center bracket can be found the Drury Arms quartered with several others. Sir Robert died without a living heir in 1615 and, with him, the line of Drurys at Hawsted ended.

Over the sarcophagus in gold letters can be found the following inscription:

"Roberti Drury
Quo vix alter ejus ordinis majoribus ortus,
Cum nec ephoebos excesserat,
Nec vestem de paterna morte lugubrem exuerat,
Equit: aur: honore (nec di domi)
Sed obsidione Rhotomagensi anno 1591 insigniti, etc"

A closer look at the bust of Sir Robert Drury which appears over his sarcophagus.
These two inscriptions were found under the sarcophagus of Sir Robert Drury and Anne, his wife, and commemorate their daughter, Dorothea, who died in childhood. The inscription to the right is very touching and reads:

"She LITTLE, proms'd much,
Too soone untide
She only DREAMT she liv'd
and then she dyde."

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Last updated: November, 1999