The mausoleum is attached to the north transept. The outside is very plain; it has stone walls, a tiled roof to match the church and an external door at the north end. There is also a door inside the church and this leads into a narrow space (about 4 ft wide) with an elaborate Gothic screen to the north. The screen appears to be made of Coade stone, but no signature has been found. James Wyatt used Coade stone for Gothic details at Sheffield Place. We are told that the burial chamber is vaulted and that the coffins are arranged on shelves.
Grade I (England and Wales)
The mausoleum was built by John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield (1735-1821). Although it was intended for members of the family, when Holroyd’s close friend, the writer and historian Edward Gibbon, died in 1794, he was buried in the mausoleum as a mark of respect. In fact, as the inscription commemorating Gibbon is given the place of honour in the centre of the screen (see below), it is possible that the date of his death provides a terminus post quem for the mausoleum. The Holroyd family are commemorated in the surrounding panels. It is possible that the mausoleum was designed by James Wyatt who made alterations to the Earl’s house, Sheffield Place, in the 1770s and 1780s.
In 1998 the MMT expressed concern at the proposal to re-site the coffins below a glazed floor and convert the building to a parish meeting room. Fortunately this scheme has now been abandoned.
BoE: Sussex (1965), 501;
Shell Guide: E. Sussex (1978)108;
H Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects (1995), 1114;
A Kelly, Mrs Coade’s Stone (1990), 76, 278, 329.
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