The mausoleum is attached to the north side of the chancel and is, externally, much altered. Gone is the rendering with Gothick detail which once covered the red brick structure, and an entrance has been made in the east wall. Originally, however, the interior could only be reached via a door in the chancel wall (now blocked). From here steps led down to the burial chamber which, unlike the upper part, remains substantially as built.
The north wall opposite the stairs is divided into three bays, each of which has a large loculus above and two lesser ones below. The east and west walls are treated in the same way. The loculi to both the north and south walls have been filled, and each is closed with a slab of stone inscribed with the name of the occupant. In order to emphasise the higher status of those interred in the larger loculi, the panels containing their inscriptions are surrounded by aedicules of statuary marble.
This mausoleum was constructed for the burial of George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington (d.1732) permission having been granted by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1733. Other burials include that of Admiral John Byng who was executed in 1757. His memorial is inscribed "To the perpetual Disgrace/Of PUBLICK JUSTICE/ the Honble JOHN BYNG Esqr:/ Admiral of the Blue/ Fell a MARTYR to/ POLITICAL PERSECUTION/ March 14th: in the Year 1757 when? BRAVERY and LOYALTY/ were Insufficient Securities/ for the/ Life and Honour/ of a/ NAVAL OFFICER". Also buried in the vault is John Byng 5th Viscount Torrington (d.1813) and his wife Bridget, Viscountess Torrington (d.1823). The last recorded burial is that of Arthur Stanley Byng 10th Viscount Torrington (d.1961).
Dr Roger Bowdler has suggested that the architect of the mausoleum may have been Isaac Ware, on account of his connection with the Admiralty, and also because he designed Admiral Byng's house, Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire.
In 1999 it was proposed to subdivide the interior of the mausoleum, which is double height, laterally so as to seal off the burial chamber and create a parish room at ground floor level. Fortunately this scheme has been abandoned.
Fair. The rainwater goods need to be overhauled and the drainage should be improved to combat rising damp (1999).
Thomas Fisher, Collections ...for Bedfordshire (1812), pl.134;
Roger Bowdler, unpublished English Heritage report (1999);
VCH: Bedfordshire (1912), 3, 260.
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Church of All Saints,
The Byng Vault
Notes on the Byng Vault at All Saints Church, Southill, Bedfordshire, by Roger Bowdler, January 1999. ... more