St Mary’s church in Thame houses a series of brass memorials to the Quatermain family, local gentry who came to prominence in the later medieval period. Four generations of the family are depicted, showcasing their steady lordship across the fifteenth century. Yet all is not as it seems. This talk will uncover the true history of the Quatermain dynasty and ask why the monuments that commemorate them were designed to give a false impression of family stability in a time of crisis. In doing so, the talk will also reveal one of the hidden purposes of medieval monuments, which survive in parish churches dotted throughout Britain.
Dr Kelcey Wilson-Lee FSA is a medieval historian specialising in memorialisation, church spaces and the history of women. She is President of the Monumental Brass Society and sits on the conservation committee for sculpture and furnishings of the Church Buildings Council. As well as academic research articles, Kelcey writes for a popular history audience: her book Daughters of Chivalry chronicles the lives of the five daughters of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile. Since 2019, she has worked at the Architectural Heritage Fund – one of the UK’s leading funders of heritage projects – where she is currently Director of Programmes.