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Personal Data
Surname Roucliffe (Rawcliffe, Roucliff, Rockcliffe)
First Name David
Dating 1407
Location Pickering
Life dates +20 June 1406
Title constable of Pickering castle between 1393-1407
MP for Yorks.1397, king's knight 1399, and held Pickering & Thornthorpe (Yorks.)
Close relatives father - Richard Roucliffe (1321-1393)
Mother - Elizabeth Everingham
brother - Richard Roucliffe (+before 1407)
wife - Margaret (Margery) Hesill
without issue
Type of the object  
Place of manufacturing
(place of burial)
St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Pickering, North Yorkshire, England
Place of exposition St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Pickering, North Yorkshire, England
Date of manufacturing  

Tomb of Sir David and Lady Margaret Roucliffe, in the chapel they had built in 1407


These two lie in their chantry chapel on the south side of the chancel. It was built in 1407. The alabaster has survived well. It is interesting that alabaster effigies and tombs were exempt from the 1550 Act which made alabaster carvings of sacred scenes illegal. The Edwardian reformation, put into effect by Edward Seymour, later the Duke of Somerset, was doctrinally and financially radical but not socially radical. There was at one time a chantry on the north side as well.
The Roucliffe chapel has had a varied history. As mentioned it started out as a chantry, but they were made illegal in 1547, though this was in large part a money making exercise. (I suppose if Henry VIII's attacks on the monasteries were the equivalent of Thatcher then Somerset's further attacks on the Catholic church were the equivalent of Osbourne and Cameron. Let's hope that those two don't emulate the other major piece of legislation of 1547: the Vagrancy Act, which introduced the branding and slavery of able bodied people who had been out of work for more than three days. On a brighter note however: Somerset was executed 5 years later. Think on that Mr Cameron.)

David has a wreathed bascinet, a collar of SS and a surcoat with the arms of Rawcliffe: On a cheveron between 3 lions' heads a chess rook. The feet rest on a lion, from whose mouth issues a scroll, and the head is supported by 2 reclining angels. Margery has also 2 angels at her head and 2 dogs at the feet; she wears a cote hardie and a long cloak corded across the breast. She also wears an SS collar

The two beautifully carved figures of a knight and his lady that lie in the Bruce Chapel are not Bruces for the surcoat of the man is adorned with the arms of the Rockcliffes--an heraldic chess-rook and three lions' heads. Both the knight and his lady wear the collar of SS, the origin of which is still wrapped in obscurity. Traces of gilding are visible in several places on the wings of the angels that support the heads of both figures, as well as in other parts of the carving where the detail is not obliterated. The date of these monuments is believed to have been either the end of the fourteenth or the very beginning of the fifteenth centuries.

1352 mons ric rocliff yorks
chevron ch. chessrook betw 3 lion's heads
Richard Rowcliffe, fl.1367, kt., retained by John of Gaunt, cmsnr of arrest 1371. His son David
Roucliffe (o.s.p.1407), was MP for Yorks.1397, king's knight 1399, and held Pickering &
Thornthorpe (Yorks.). There is a Rowcliffe effigy with the lancastrian SS-collar in Pickering Church.

Rowcliff Coat of Arms
Blazon: Ar. on a chev. betw. three lions' heads erased gu. a chessrook or.
Source: Burke, Sir Bernard. The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. London: Harrison & Sons, 1884

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