Monument to Caroline Scott, St Peter’s, Tandridge

On 24 February 1872 Sir George Gilbert Scott’s wife, Caroline, died, ‘snatched away from us during sleep!’ Caroline was buried on 29 February 1872 in the churchyard of the parish church, St. Peter’s, about one mile from Rooks Nest but visible from the house. Seven members of the office attended the funeral: Charles Baker King, the two Bignalls, Arthur Baker, Medland, Micklethwaite and Scott’s private secretary, George Wood. Clayton, Bell, Philip and Brindley also attended. Scott wrote on 12 March that:

I have designed what I trust will be a beautiful monument to my ever dearest Carry. It is to be a low altar tomb partly of polished white marble and in part of Polished Granite. The upper stone which is of marble will have a richly floriated cross the foliage being partly conventional & partly natural the latter carrying out her intense love of flowers and of botany.

Around the sides of the tomb are seven medallions containing figures symbolizing Caroline’s special virtues: faith, hope, charity, counsel, mercy, purity of heart and the fear of God. At the foot of the tomb is a heraldic lozenge containing the three Catherine Wheels of the Scott’s of Kent. The whole of the white marble tomb chest is covered with intricate carving and stands on a polished granite base. It is completely different to the plain and rather dignified ledger stones that Scott designed for other members of his family. In these special circumstances Scott forsook Gothic for a design that has an early Italian Renaissance appearance. He was clearly trying to reflect Caroline’s character and there is nothing to suggest that she ever had any interest in the Gothic style. As he had shown before, Scott could produce an excellent design without recourse to his favourite style. The proliferation of delicate foliage gives it an unmistakably feminine character yet with a sound geometric basis.

Scott’s Recollections, III 62, 143-5, 150.
Scott’s Sketchbook, I, book plate (RIBA).
Cole, D., The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott (The Architectural Press, London, 1980), p. 156.
Royal Commission for Historic Monuments (South), letter to Irvine, 25 February 1872.

St Peter’s, Tandridge

Sir George Gilbert Scott returned to Tandridge in 1874 to enlarge the church by adding a north aisle and a new vestry and restoring the south aisle, for the Rev. A. H. Borrodaile. Again the gentleness of his touch is not what one usually associates with Scott but perhaps he wanted to keep the old church as close as possible to way that Caroline, his wife, would have remembered it. He had designed a monument to ‘Mrs Scott’, a richly sculpted marble tomb chest, in 1872 and also designed the reredos, the gift of Mrs Bonsor.

Cole, D., The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott (The Architectural Press, London, 1980), p. 165.