Created: 2nd Apr 1754
The Hardwicke Family Vault St Andrew's Parish Church, Wimpole (Based upon a report written in 1956) General Description The entrance to the vault is situated on the north side of the Chicheley Chapel, directly beneath the centre window. It is approached by a flight of brick steps, the beginning of which projects out into the churchyard about 8 feet 6 inches. The level of the vault is reached at a depth of 7 feet. The steps descend between two brick walls which are 5 feet 8 inches in height. Boards are placed over the steps and resting on the walls and the whole covered with earth to a depth of one foot. There are eight steps. The door into the vault was of oak, but has rotted and is lying in pieces. The vault itself measures approximately 10 feet by 15 feet constructed of brick which has been limewashed. The floor is of brick also, except for two narrow shelves a few inches from the floor on either side of the doorway. These shelves are of small square slabs, one of the shelves on the right hand side is empty. The ceiling is rounded and at its highest point, in the centre, is approximately 5 feet 8 inches high. In the centre of the roof at approximately 5 feet and 10 feet from the door are two circular holes about 1 foot in diameter which appear to be closed at the top by the pavement of the chapel. vault.jpg The Hardwicke Family Vault showing coffins 1 to 7 inclusive. (photographed in 1985) The vault contained nine coffins of wood with lead linings, number 3 adorned with silver furnishings. Except for this coffin, the woodwork was badly decayed and the lead linings exposed. One coffin (number 9) was lying on the shelf on the left hand side of the doorway. The others were in two rows, one above the other, facing the door, as follows: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (Door) The coffin plates are legible and are noted at the end of this report (against the above numerical key which gives the coffin positions in the vault). A low brick wall has been built between each coffin in the lower row. Iron bars have been placed across these walls to hold the coffins in the upper row. 18 June 1956 Some of the boards gave way when the churchyard was mowed and a hole appeared. On Monday, 18 June the steps were excavated and the vault and the coffins exposed. On the evening of that day the Rector entered the vault and took the above particulars and descriptions. On the following morning, 19 June 1956, the doorway of the vault was temporarily bricked up to avoid desecration. This was merely a precautionary measure until further advice could be obtained. The cost of this temporary wall and of timbers to cover over the steps was borne by Mrs Bambridge of Wimpole Hall. Inscriptions on Coffins (see key above) Coffin 1: [interred 17 January 1852] The Hon. Mrs Henry Yorke died January 12th 1852 aged 38 years. Coffin 2: Henry Reginald Yorke Rector of Wimpole Born 30th October 1802 Died 25th September 1871 Coffin 3: The Rt. Hon. Charles Philip Yorke 4th Earl of Hardwicke Lord Lieutenant & Custos Rotolorum of the County of Cambridge P.C. D.C.L. Fellow of the Royal Society Born 7th April 1799 Died 17th September 1873 at Sidney Lodge, Hants in his 75th year. Coffin 4: [interred 20 March 1834] The Rt. Hon. Charles Philip Yorke Died 13th March 1834 aged 70. Coffin 5: [interred 14 May 1831] Admiral Sir Joseph Sidney Yorke, K.C.B. Obiit 3rd May 1831 Aetat Sui 63 years. Coffin 6: [interred 7 February 1812] Elizabeth Wheake Yorke born on May 13th 1773 died Jan. 31st 1812 Lady of Sir Joseph Sidney Yorke, Kt. Rear Admiral of the Blue and one of the Lords Common of the Admiralty. Coffin 7: [interred 28 March 1814] Master Horatio Nelson Yorke born 13th August 1806 died March 21st 1814 aged 8 years. Coffin 8: Lieut. The Hon. Victor Alexander Yorke, R.H.A. Died 23rd Dec. 1867 in the 26th year of his life. Coffin 9: [interred 16 May 1854] Harriet, Widow of the Rt. Hon. Charles Yorke Born 21st June 1763 Married 1st July 1790 Died 10th May 1854.