Monday, 18 July 2016
A Cavendish Monument
The figures represent Modesty, Prudence, Love, Obedience and Piety, and they have evidently been knocked about a bit; three are headless. They look thoroughly Italian, as does the tomb on which they stand, which is topped by a kind of hipped roof from the corbels of which spring the five statues. Nothing much seems to be known about this extraordinary monument, and no names have (as far as I can find out) been suggested for its maker.
By a quirk of history, this obscure village church also contains the tomb of the great English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who lived for many years in the care of the Cavendish family. His handsome tomb slab, with a Latin inscription celebrating his learning and renown, lies at the foot of Ann Keighley's monument. He died at Hardwick at the grand age of 91, kept fit (according to Aubrey) by much walking, the occasional game of (real) tennis, and, when he was sure no one was about, singing at the top of his voice.