Chiltern Society PhotoGroup

The restored Lovelace Monument was erected to the left of the altar in 1605. John Lovelace (1515-1558) bought the monastic estate in 1545 and built Ladye Place on the site of the ruined Priory. His own memorial was destroyed in the 19th century. The left-hand figure is his son Richard (1542-1601), whose own son and heir Sir Richard Lovelace (1565-1634) is on the right. He was knighted in 1599 for services during the Dublin wars. Charles I elevated him to the barony as 1st Lord Lovelace of Hurley in 1627.

John, the 3rd Lord Lovelace, played a significant role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. As an ardent anti-Catholic, he supported the cause to overthrow James II and replace him with the Protestant William of Orange. The crypt at the first Ladye Place become a centre of aristocratic plots, with plotters surreptitiously entering it by underground tunnels, including one from the Priory moat. Gratings set into the cloisters’ lawns covered their entrances. A cupboard in the bar at the Olde Bell reveals a crumbling staircase that allowed access to one of them.
Author: Q Barrett