The Hatchments of St. Leonard’s Church, Deal
Hatchments are diamond shaped paintings on either canvas or wood that are set in wooden frames. St.Leonard’s has a fine collection of these memorials which are of national importance They were commissioned upon the death of a person of nobility or wealth as both a mark of their passing and as a memorial. The person’s rank, sex and marital status are indicated by various heraldic symbols and the design includes their Coat of Arms. These hatchments usually acted as a substitute for the earlier practice of placing a Knight’s shield on his coffin at his Funeral and the name is derived from the old term Achievement meaning a ‘Coat of Arms’.
The Hatchment would be paraded at the head of the Funeral cortege and may have been placed on the coffin during the Service. Afterwards, it would be hung outside their former home for anything up to a year before being placed in their local Church. Their popularity spread to England from Holland around the time of the Restoration and they remained in use until the middle of the nineteenth century.
Deal has long been associated with England’s rich Naval history and this is reflected by the many notable seafaring families represented by Hatchments at St. Leonard’s including Sir Francis Samuel Drake Bart. (a descendant of Sir Francis Drake) and his first wife Sarah; Admiral Sir John Harvey and Admiral Sir Edward Harvey.
Sadly, these hatchments are in desperate need of renovation to restore them to their former glory. An appeal has been launched.
Research by Sue Buckman
Francis Samuel Drake