Reblogged from A Medieval Potpourri sparkypus.com




A guest post from John Dike who is leading Philippa Langley’s Missing Princes Project team in Devon and following on from my post A Portrait of Edward V and Perhaps Even a Resting Place?  :-


The window in the Evans Chantry, St Matthew’s Church, Coldridge.

As far back as the writings of Beatrix Cresswell in the early 1900’s, learned authors have been puzzled by the rare stained glass window of Edward V in the Evans Chantry at Coldridge Church, Devon,  one of only four contemporary depictions of him in glass. Edward V was one of the two “Princes in the Tower” who disappeared, presumed by some to have been murdered by his uncle Richard III.   Later authors than Cresswell have speculated that Evans was in fact Edward V,  living a secret life in Coldridge.  It might sound far-fetched but there are a number of clues that add up to this possibility. The true identity of John Evans is currently under investigation by a small team of amateur historians under the guidance of Philippa Langley MBE who was responsible for the discovery of the grave of Richard III at Leicester. The following points are of interest.


At some point after the battle of Bosworth in 1485,  John Evans was granted the Manor of Coldridge and the Stewardship of the Royal Coldridge Deer Park by Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset and half brother to Edward V.   He took over these estates from Robert Markenfield who had been granted them by Richard in 1484. Robert was the brother to the more famous Sir Thomas Markenfield who fought for Richard at Bosworth. Both the brothers, who were from Ripon in Yorkshire, were friends and Richard was extremely generous to Thomas (1). It would thus seem very strange that although Sir Thomas was granted much wealth, his brother, another good friend, was sent to a small and remote village in Devon. I will come back to this later. After Richard was killed at Bosworth and Henry VII took the throne,  Robert Markenfield moved to nearby Wembworthy and become an associate of Sir John Speke who held the Manor there. 



Coldridge Deer Park


Being appointed the Parker was a prestigious appointment for Evans and allowed him to give favour to local dignitaries on behalf of Thomas Grey. The Deer Park was approximately 3000 yards in circumference and in 1525 had 140 ‘beasts of the chase. Existing place names indicate the area of the park on a modern map.   Higher Park, Lower Park, Lower Park Break, Park farm, Park Wood  etc., Park Mill was originally called Parker’s Mill. Long Parks named from Parker’s Long Field but adjacent to Coldridge Barton, John Evan’s manor house. 


The chantry was built by John Evans and completed in 1511.  We know this because it originally contained two prayer desks with the inscriptions ‘Pray for John Evans, Parker of Coldridge, maker of this work in the third year of the reign of King Henry VIII’ and ‘Pray for the good estate of John Evans, who caused this to be made at his own expense the second day of August in the year of the Lord 1511.


The renovated prayer desks with original inscriptions


‘Pray for John Evans, Parker of Coldridge, maker of this work in the third year of the reign of King Henry VIII’


The prayer desk front with the bench behind.  Photo John Dike.

20210411_102508Another view of the renovated prayer desks and bench.  It’s possible the bench and other pew ends were originally part of the furniture in the Evan’s Chantry and added in 1930s when the desk was restored.

By the early 1900’s these prayer desks were in poor condition and in 1930 the Rural Dean requested that these valuable objects be renovated. And so by 1931 a Miss Harris had rescued the desks by combining the remains into one with the new top engraved with the first inscription above. This desk is now in the Barton chapel as the Evans Chantry is now used as the vestry. The desks are significant as they confirm that John Evans was in Coldridge before 1511. As a chantry was intended to establish a ritual of prayer to speed the donor to heaven, it was likely that, with the then short life expectancy, he was around 40 years of age when it was finished. This would mean that he could have been the same age as Edward V who was born in 1470!.  

To continue reading about the Evans Tomb and Woodville plotting click here

Here is an additional image of the effigy:




  1. Fascinating post, we seem to be getting closer to the secret. One thing puzzles me about the “ermine/deer” on the crown in the stained glass window – ARE they deer? Most seem to have five legs, one at least has six. If one of the “legs” is intended to be a tail on each animal, surely it would be shorter and pointing upwards on the rump?


    1. Hallo Anne. Of course this post is by John Dike, who lives in Coldridge, who first pointed out to me the ermine spots were deer which I believe that they are looking at the heads. Yes they do have what looks like five legs and not four legs and a shorter tail. Could this be artistic licence or another nod to Edward ‘V’ or fifth?


      1. Well, just doing a quick image search online this morning, I found four or five other examples where the ermine pictures have little “heads” with five or so strokes downwards – one even has the strokes going upwards. I’m sorry to be a bit of a wet blanket on this aspect of the theory – it was enticing! If you email me I could pass on the pictures I found and you could pass them on to John Dike…


      2. Hi Anne have seen the photos you posted on the Murreyandblue Facebook page. After studying them closely I’m still going along with John and the Coldridge spots being deer.


    2. Visited today and the dimples in front of John Evans effigy caught my attention. Are there 28, one for each year of his ‘should have been’ reign 1483 to 1511. Couldn’t be sure I counted accurately though.
      Mark Peters,
      Bickleigh on Exe.


      1. Sorry Mark not sure what you mean by dimples? Are you referring to the ermine?


      2. No in the stone work in front of the effigy. I couldn’t go in but found it easier to count them when viewing against the light from the stained glass window.


      3. I think I see what you are talking about now Mark! Unfortunately I can’t post the picture on here …but its a long row of yes, what looks like dimples. Im not sure what they are tbh. I shall ask John Dike today and get back to you. Eileen/sparkypus.


      4. Dimples may not be the right word, regular little craters in a line, like on a solitaire board, from memory


      5. Mark I have found out from John Dike who is leading the Coldridge investigation that the little holes are where railings were once fitted. So sadly a bit of a dead end.


      6. Yes indeed Mark. We are pondering it. Because as far as I am aware I have never come across a monument with this type of railing before. Its all very odd.


      7. I’ve asked John to count them next time he is in the church. He’s a Coldridge resident. Ill let you know…😊


      8. Ok Mark. So John has been to the church this morning and measured the holes/indentations. He now believes they are not deep enough to have ever held railings also there is no sign that railing were ever there in the first place. So they have perhaps held some sort of decorative stud or were they merely decorative on their own. There are 29 of them. As John has reminded me we have no proof of John Evans/EV date of death in 1511. Only that the chapel and furnishing were finished at that time. He may have died c.1529 which leads us back to the 29 indentations. Evidence of the date of death of JE/EV…! Well spotted Mark and thanks for pointing out to us. It seems the church has not finished giving out its secrets. Eileen/sparkypus.


      9. I suppose 29 still works if you include 1483 and 1511. And then there’s the number of baubles on his pillow….
        Presumably its not usually appropriate to pray for someone before they have passed? Happy hunting!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry, not sure if I’m missing something here so please be patient with me.

    I’ve seen the grant by Richard III of the parkership of the park to Robert Markenfeld, but that is all. Is there a separate grant of the actual tenure of the manor? If so, then surely a grant of the parkership would not have been needed as it would have been in Markenfeld’s own gift?

    After Dorset’s attendaer was reversed Coleridge apparently reverted to him, and the Marquess names it in his will as one of his manors so does not seem to have gifted it away. Again, is John Evans not just his parker there? Might he not have been Dorset’s parker of Coleridge before Bosworth as well?

    As regards the “misspelling” of Evans as Evas in one piece of the stonework, that is not actually a misspelling. If you look closely you will see there is a bar above the ‘as’ of ‘Evas’ – that is the standard shorthand symbol for an omitted ‘n’ or ‘m’ – a very, very common abbreviation. The reason the surname may have been abbreviated in this place and not elsewhere is likely to be either that there was a shortage of space or the mason was running out of time.

    Is it not likely, since this manor remained with Dorset, that he had commissioned the window to commemorate his half-brother?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think we would be better off contacting Mystic Meg than this egotistical, obnoxious little prick tbh.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: