Edmond Tingham, Sculptor

(fl. c. 1630)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

He lived at Chapelizod in the early part of the seventeenth century, and was employed in various works by Richard, 1st Earl of Cork, notably in the great Boyle Monument in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Lord Cork in his Diary, records, under date 3rd June, 1630: "I this day perfected my covenants with Edmond Tingham of Chapple Isolde, stone-cutter, for erecting a Tombe for myself, my wife, her father and mother, her grandfather and grandmother, in St. Patrick's church in Dublin, for which I am to be of no other charges for all materials, carvings, painting and gilding, and finishing thereof by 24th July 1631 than the payment of £300 sterling" ("Lismore Papers," Ser. I, Vol. III). The tomb was designed by Alban Leverett, Athlone Pursuivant-at-Arms,* who was paid forty shillings "for drawing the modull of my dear wife's tombe." The monument was completed in 1632 and erected against the east wall of the choir in the Cathedral; and on the 13th December of that year Lord Cork paid Tingham three hundred pounds. Of this tomb Lord Cork records: "In the perpetuall memory of my vertuous and religious deceased wife and of her predecessors and posterity I have caused a very fair tomb to be erected wth a cave or cellar of hewed stone underneath it. have purchased from the Dean and Chapter of St. Patrick's Church an inheritance of that upper part of the Chancell wherein the cave or cellar underground is made and wherein the tomb is built to be a burying place for mee and my posteritys and their children" (MS. quoted in "Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society" for 1892, p. 93).

On a complaint from Archbishop Laud that "this structure occupied the place of God's altar," Lord Strafford, the Lord Lieutenant, appointed a commission, on whose recommendation the monument was taken down and re-erected in 1634 against the south wall. In 1863 it was removed to its present position against the south wall of the nave. The monument is of black marble and alabaster. The kneeling figures in the lowest tier represent the Earl's children; the recumbent figures on the second tier are the Earl and his wife. On the third tier the kneeling figures are those of Lady Cork's parents, Sir Geoffry Fenton and his wife, Alice Weston; and on the topmost tier is the recumbent figure of Lady Fenton's father, Robert Weston, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Dean of St. Patrick's. The monument having fallen into decay was repaired by Swift, when he was dean, and in the course of the work some alterations were made from the original design.

Tingham combined the callings of architect, builder and contractor with that of sculptor. In July, 1631, Lord Cork made an agreement with him for the wainscoting of the new gallery and study in his house on Cork Hill, Dublin, and the providing three chimney-pieces and "a neat nest of boxes" in the study. In recording this agreement he calls Tingham "my Tombe maker"; and it is not unlikely that the Earl of Cork's tomb in Youghal church, which resembles the monument in St. Patrick's, was his work. As guardian of George, 16th Earl of Kildare, Lord Cork restored and improved the Castle of Maynooth which had fallen into decay, and also the church there; and in this work he employed Tingham, to whom, in 1632, he presented a grey hackney and two cows to his wife, "to help to encourage them in forwarding the buildings." The same year Tingham was arrested for debt, and his patron paid eleven pounds nineteen shillings to obtain his release. There are no further records of Tingham's work, or of the date of his death.


* Athlone Pursuivant, 1618-1650. He and his wife were buried in St. John's church. His father, William Leverett, held the same office from 1595 to 1618.

« James Christopher Timbrell | Contents and Search | Peter Toms »