"There is a fine joint monument to Granville Piper and Richard Wise (who died in 1717 and 1726) erected in the church of St Mary Magdalen in Launceston marking their burial together, with an inscription recording their friendship — Fidissimum Amicorum Par: "the most faithful of friends". Their portraits are set between a single flaming funerary urn, as in the tomb monument of John Finch and Thomas Baines in Cambridge." Alan Bray
Translation from Latin inscription: The Empty Tomb of Granville Pyper, Esquire, and Richard Wise, gentleman., formerly Alderman of this Town, whose mortal remains are lying at Bath in the County of Somerset.
As they had in life been of one mind and most closely associated together, so now after death these equally true hearted of friends are not divided.
The former when much urged to seek his health at Bath, consented. He died there 16th April in the year of our Lord, 1717, in the 38th year of his age. The latter dying at Launceston on the 27th July, in the year of our Lord, 1726, aged 64 wished that his ashes should be deposited at Bath near those of his most loving and dearest Master.
This Cenotaph (a memorial of their mutual affection and of the highest respect which he always had for the most liberal and most munificent of patrons) Richard Wise, gentleman, ordered by his latest writing to be erected.
© English Heritage.NMR. Reference Number: AA98/04754. Photographer: Eric de Mare
A classically-inspired monument in St Mary Magdalene Church, Launceston, commemorates Granville Piper (died April 16, 1717) and Richard Wise (died in 1726) who are buried at Bath. It combines busts of the deceased and allegorical figures. It dates from 1731. The epitaph reads "As they had in life been of one mind and most closely associated together, so now after death these equally true hearted of friends are not divided."
Therefore that his heirs Philip Welsh, and William Couch, gentlemen, might satisfy such pious directions they have made this marble for ever sacred to the memory of the man."
The Friend by Alan Bray
Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (December 31, 2006)
Amazon: The Friend
In the chapel of Christ's College, Cambridge, some twenty years ago, historian Alan Bray made an astonishing discovery: a tomb shared by two men, John Finch and Thomas Baines. The monument featured eloquent imagery dedicated to their friendship: portraits of the two friends linked by a knotted cloth. And Bray would soon learn that Finch commonly described his friendship with Baines as a connubium or marriage.
There was a time, as made clear by this monument, when the English church not only revered such relations between men, but also blessed them. Taking this remarkable idea as its cue, The Friend explores the long and storied relationship between friendship and the traditional family of the church in England. This magisterial work extends from the year 1000, when Europe acquired a shape that became its enduring form, and pursues its account up to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Spanning a vast array of fascinating examples, which range from memorial plaques and burial brasses to religious rites and theological imagery to classic works of philosophy and English literature, Bray shows how public uses of private affection were very common in premodern times. He debunks the now-familiar readings of friendship by historians of sexuality who project homoerotic desires onto their subjects when there were none. And perhaps most notably, he evaluates how the ethics of friendship have evolved over the centuries, from traditional emphases on loyalty to the Kantian idea of moral benevolence to the more private and sexualized idea of friendship that emerged during the modern era.
Finely nuanced and elegantly conceived, The Friend is a book rich in suggestive propositions as well as eye-opening details. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of England and the importance of friendship in everyday life.
History Today’s Book of the Year, 2004
“Bray’s loving coupledom is something with a proper historical backbone, with substance and form, something you can trace over time, visible and archeologicable. . . . Bray made a great contribution in helping to bring this long history to light.”— James Davidson, London Review of Books
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