John Symonds (15xx - 1609) and Olive Symonds (15xx-16xx)

john symonds memorial

John Symonds & his wife Olive lived on Queen Street. John was a merchant taylor and a Freeman of the City of Norwich and attained the rank of Sheriff in 1603.

Their monument in St George Tombland has an inscription recording that by his ‘last Tastament’ John left two shillings a week to provide bread for the poor of the parish for ever. This dole was still being handed out so late as 1891, but the money is now part of the Norwich Consolidated Charities.

The loaves were placed on the stone structure below the monument (pictured), which is called the Bread Table: it is unclear whether this was erected as part of the monument, or if it is earlier.




The Monument

john symonds memorialThe monument shows John and Olive in standard seventeenth-century pose, facing each other across prayer-desks. This design was very popular on smaller monuments for married couples at the end of the early 16th and early 17th century.

He is wearing his alderman’s scarlet gown, while she is wearing a black dress: does this indicate that she died after him? (Her burial is not recorded in the parish register.) It is no longer complete: the architectural surround is missing (compare with the Anguish monument). It is not known when this happened. There are no children on the monument behind either John or Olive which suggests that they died childless.

The current colouring, though accurate, is modern, and very crude.

Click here for a readable view of the inscription