'Wakeham' Cenotaph - Tewkesbury Abbey

Share this

Wakeham cenotaph

 

Attributed to John Wakeham (d1549), the last abbot of Tewkesbury, the 'Wakeham' Cenotaph, is actually mid fifteenth century and pre-dates the abbot by about 100 years. The effigy is a gisant as a decomposing corpse and the canopy was modelled on the throne of the House of Lords.

 

Following the death of abbot Henry Beeley, in 1534, a Congé d'Elire was issued for the election of an abbot. Having obtained support from Thomas Cromwell, John Wakeham was elected to the position. Henry VIII and Cromwell stayed at the Abbey in July 1535, and in October of that year abbot Wakeham sent Cromwell a gelding and £5 to purchase a saddle. Wakeham also supplied information regarding the disaffection of one of his priors. On the 9th January 1539 he surrendered the monastery, receiving a pension of four hundred marks a year.

 

In 1541 Thomas Cranmer consecrated him as the first bishop of Gloucester, at which point his pension for Tewkesbury was removed. He was tasked by Cranmer, in 1542, with providing a translation of the Book of Revelations for a projected new translation of the New Testament.