History in Structure

Mausoleum of Absalom Feavearyear North of Wingfield Green Farmhouse

A Grade II Listed Building in Wingfield, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.3468 / 52°20'48"N

Longitude: 1.2521 / 1°15'7"E

OS Eastings: 621599

OS Northings: 277056

OS Grid: TM215770

Mapcode National: GBR VKN.Z84

Mapcode Global: VHL9H.N88T

Plus Code: 9F4387W2+PR

Entry Name: Mausoleum of Absalom Feavearyear North of Wingfield Green Farmhouse

Listing Date: 14 May 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393791

English Heritage Legacy ID: 507310

ID on this website: 101393791

Location: Wingfield Green, Mid Suffolk, IP21

County: Suffolk

District: Mid Suffolk

Civil Parish: Wingfield

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Wingfield St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Tagged with: Mausoleum

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1220/0/10013 WINGFIELD GREEN
14-MAY-10 Mausoleum of Absalom Feavearyear north
of Wingfield Green Farmhouse


Also Known As: Summerhouse near Saviours Barn, Wingfield Green
Mausoleum, built in 1840 by Absalom Feavearyear; brick with a corrugated iron roof and with wooden cornice, eaves and gables. Stone headstones.

EXTERIOR: The building is rectangular in plan with a low pitched roofed with pedimented gables and deep eaves. There are windows to east and west elevations, that to the west with two lights, one glazed and the other with vertical iron bars. The east window has four lights divided by wooden mullions, the north light unglazed with vertical iron bars. Immediately above the window is a stone plaque with the inscription "This Summer House was built in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty by ABSALOM FEAVEARYEAR Carpenter of this Parish in the Sixty Fourth year of his Age". The entrance in the south elevation has a moulded wooden architrave with roundels at the corners; the door is divided into six panels by applied beading.

INTERIOR: There are three inscribed headstones set upright against the north wall. Absalom's headstone stands opposite the door flanked by those for his son and daughter-in-law, and has concave shoulders with moulded cornice above; suspended from each end of the cornice are round door handles. Immediately below the cornice and above the inscription is a relief carving depicting Absalom at work with an axe in the foreground, and behind him his house with the door to a single storey wing standing open. Below, the lettering is mainly lower case italic, with Absalom's name in capitals. The inscription reads "In a Vault beneath are deposited the Mortal Remains of ABSALOM FEAVEARYEAR (Carpenter; of this Parish) and Donor of this Estate and several Cottages to his Son Absalom, and to the Heir at Law for Ever. After a long and severe conflict with the World, the Flesh and the Devil, Died in hopes of a Joyfull Resurrection on the ". The space left for the date of his death has been left blank, and at the foot of the stone in inverted commas is the text "The Earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof, the World and they that dwell therein." His son and daughter-in law's stones also have concave shoulders, but the son's has no moulded cornice. Both are raised on rectangular stone slabs containing the inscription "Built in 1841". The son's inscription reads "To the Memory of ABSALOM FEAVEARYEAR (Carpenter) The Heir to this Estate and Son of the Donor". It gives the date of his birth and marriage to Thirza, the daughter of David Feavearyear, and again the date of his death has not been recorded. Beneath these details the inscription continues "Read at your leisure the XXI Chap. of St Matthew, and the II Chap. of St John, and Judge for yourselves. Temple built 1014 Years before Christ." Thirza'a stone records the date of her birth and marriage, and also a daughter, Maria. At the foot is the text "Blessed are the Dead that Die in the Lord." Immediately in front of the headstones, lying on the floor, are stones inscribed with the word "VAULT" and the date they were laid; 1840 for Absalom's and 1841 for the two on either side. The rest of the floor is laid with unglazed clay tiles.

HISTORY: The mausoleum, also known as the Summerhouse, was built in 1840 by Absalom Feavearyear for himself and his family following a dispute with the vicar over the payment of tythes, which resulted in him swearing that he would never set foot in the church again. In order to carry through this threat Absalom, a carpenter and stonemason, designed and built his own mausoleum, having paid to have the land consecrated by the Bishop of Norwich. He also carved his own headstone, and in the following year added headstones for his son, also Absalom, and daughter-in-law Thirza, who had married in December 1840. At the foot of his son's headstone are biblical references directing the reader to those texts that tell the story of Jesus' anger at the presence of merchants and moneylenders in the Temple. This sentence in particular (Matthew 21) "My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" must refer to his view of the vicar, and his reasons for never returning to church, even in death. Absalom senior died in 1852 and was buried as he wished, although his family neglected to insert the date of his death in the space allowed on his headstone; his son and daughter-in-law decided to be buried in the churchyard.

SOURCES: Website of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust, www.mausolea-monuments.org.uk. Accessed on Aug 25th 2009.
East Anglian Magazine September 1963
Suffolk Roots November 1999

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The mausoleum of Absalom Feavearyear is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special interest as an unusual example of a private mausoleum designed and built by its intended occupant for himself and his family on his own land, in a simple neoclassical form using local materials.
* The headstones carved by Absalom Feavearyear display high quality decoration and craftsmanship, unusual imagery and highly personal and telling epitaphs.

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