Sir Lewis Robessart, Lord Bourgchier
Died: 27 Nov, 1430
Field: Soldier
Location in the Abbey: Chapel of st paul
Type of memorial: Tomb
Type of material: Stone; brass

In the chapel of St Paul in Westminster Abbey is a lavishly decorated tomb to Sir Lewis (de) Robessart, Lord Bourgchier (or Bourchier), Knight of the Garter. The stone monument consists of a tomb chest and canopy in the two eastern bays of the chapel screen. On each side, at the apex of the arch, is an achievement of arms with a crest of a Saracen's head surmounted by a Catherine wheel. At each end of the tomb chest is a lion, or a falcon, holding a standard sculptured with arms.  On the frieze of the screen are shields and painted inscriptions alternating with falcons and water bougets [water carriers]. The inscriptions here are "non nobis D'ne, non nobis, sed N'ni tuo da gloriam" [Not unto us O Lord, not unto us but unto Thy name give glory].

On the fascia below the frieze are ten painted angels, each with two shields, and the repeated mottos "L'honneur a Dieu, a nous Merci" and "Learne to dye to live ever". Altogether there are 48 shields on the south side and 49 on the north side. All the inscriptions and heraldry were repainted in 1968 as most of the original decoration had been deliberately washed over with a dingy stone colour in the early 19th century. If paint did not remain the authority for re-painting the arms was taken from a manuscript in the British Museum. When the enormous statue to James Watt was put in this chapel [since removed] the Robessart tomb lid was damaged and was replaced with the present black marble slab in the mid 19th century.

Lewis was the second son of Sir Thierry de Robessart, who is mentioned in Froissart's Chronicles and derived his name from a small village in Hainault. John was his brother, Lewis was an esquire to Henry V, when he was Prince of Wales and later as king, and was a favourite and trusted knight. In 1421 he was nominated Knight of the Garter and was made the King's standard bearer. Later he was an executor of the king's will and under Henry VI was a Privy Councillor and Chamberlain. Following his marriage to Elizabeth, Baroness Bourgchier and widow of Sir Hugh Stafford, Robessart was summoned to Parliament by virtue of her barony. He died on 27 November 1430 during a skirmish with the French at Conty near Amiens. A contemporary Burgundian writer relates that Sir Lewis, saying a Knight of the Garter could not retreat, was killed. Elizabeth was buried with him in 1433.

A photo of the monument can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

See also the entry for Sir Humphrey Bourchier who was a later kinsman.

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