STEER-L Archives

Archiver > STEER > 2001-08 > 0999173096


From: "Michael Steer" <>
Subject: [STEER] Fw: ESTUR family, Isle of Wight.
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 22:17:37 +1000



----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Steer
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 8:40 PM
Subject: ESTUR family, Isle of Wight.


In the late 1970's I found a British tourism magazine article on the wooden knight effigy in Gatcombe Church, Isle of Wight. I cut it out and preserved it, stupidly not retaining the reference. The magazine clip has a photograph of the effigy, which is in typical Crusader pose, helmeted head on a pillow supported by what looks like a rather cheeky doll-like wooden angel. The tag to the photo reads: Below: Lucy Lightfoot's knight- the oaken effigy in Gatcombe Church..

The article reads: If you like your blood to run cool and a little quickly, do visit the quiet church of St Olave in Gatcombe, for here they say, there have been some mysterious goings-on.
To the left of the altar in the delightful old church lies a life-size effigy. It's that of a Crusader and it's carved in solid oak. There's a perky angel at his head, at his feet his dog Flacon-Caprice, who is said to come to life and dance about on moonlit nights. One afternoon in 1831, Lucy Lightfoot, a farmer's daughter, was seen tying up her horse at the church gates. She often went into the church alone, for she'd fallen in love with the carving of the crusading knight.
That afternoon, one of the most violent storms the Island has ever known blew up and, at the same time, there was a total eclipse of the sun. Lucy's frightened horse was found after the storm had blown itself out, but Lucy was never seen again.
Years later a Methodist minister, doing some research on the Crusades, came across an ancient document. It told how Edward Estur and Lucy Lightfoot, a young couple from the Island, set out for the Crusades together. They planned to marry on their return home. She was persuaded to wait in Cyprus. While fighting, he was wounded badly in the head and lost his memory, and he was taken back to the Isle of Wight. Poor Lucy waited on in Cyprus for him for three years. She married a local fisherman in 1368 and never met her first love again. Was there some sort of "time slip" during the terrible storm so that, hundreds of years later, Edward came back for her? Something of the lind is suggested by the Rev. James Evans, the former rector of gatcombe, in a pamphlet "The Mystery of Lucy Lightfoot". At any rate, it makes good holiday interest to visit the spot and soak up the atmosphere.

I wrote to the Rector of Gatcombe, who passed the letter to Rev. Evans and he replied to me on 22-11-1978.

Rev Evans replied:

My successsor at Gatcombe (the Reverend Dennis Milligan) has forwarded your letter to me. In my history guide I wrote that the church of St Olave was built as a private chapel to the Estur family who came to the Island in the 13th century. They came from Normandy, and because they must have had strong links with Norway they named the church after the patron saint of Norway, namely St Olave.

Master Baldwin de Insula was the first of the parish priests at gatcombe in 1294, followed by Master John de Popetone in 1301.

The wooden life-sized effigy of a Crusader to the left of the altar I named him in a story I wrote as Edward Estur whom I considered to have gone to the 1st Crusade as the figure had his legs crossed over indicative of those who went to the Holy Land and arrived at Jerusalem.

Near Gatcombe House (originally the Manor House of the Estur family) stands Sheat Manor which has been identified with areas entered under "Essuete" and "Soete" in the Domesday Book. In a document of 1346 it appears as a possession of the Cistercian Abbey of Quarr, in Binstead, Isle of Wight, whence may have arisen the local belief that the House occupies the site of a monestary, and had a secret passage underground. After the Dissolution it passed to the overlords of Gatcombe and was sold in the sixteenth century to the Urry family, and in 1871 to Charles Seeley Esq., with Gatcombe House.

Gatcombe House was held under Edward the Confessor by three brothers in equal shares. At the Domesday survey it was the property of William son of Stur, and subsequently passed by marriage from the Sturs to the L'isles. and was further conveted by co-heiresses to the Dudleys and pakenhams. The two moieties were re-united by their purchase in 1566 and 1578 respectively. by John Worsely Esq., of Appuldurcombe, Warden of the Island.

Today Sir Robert Horbart is the present owner of Gatcombe House; his ancestor Lord Hobart, then Great Britain's Secretary for the Colonies under Queen Victoria, gave the capital of Tasmania its name in 1804.

Some of these facts may be of interest to you. It seems possible that the monks of Quarr Abbey, Binstead, may be able to give you some further information of the early priests at Gatcombe seeing that they came from the continent and probably may have written some information of the family that appointed them as private chaplains to the family of the Esturs.

There is a local branch of the Genealogical Society on the Island; probably one of the members may be able to give you further information of the Estur family: their Secretary is:

Mr Seiles,
Eaglesfield.
Heathfields,
Bembridge, I.W. TN Bembridge: 3647.

Of course the Secretary of the Genealogical Society, London may also give you some more facts about that ancient family on our island.

The Secretary
Genealogical Society
37 Harrington Gardens
London SW 7 4JX

With all good wishes,

Yours sincerely,

(signature) James Evans.

If anyone would like a photocopy of the oaken knight's effigy and article and the letter I'll be happy to mail them, Mike.



This thread: