Latch Memorial at St John the Baptist Church, Churchill

There has recently been a most interesting email exchange with some of our members and Kirsten Uszkalo, a university lecturer from Edmonton, Alberta, concerning the Latch memorial!

Many of you will be familair with the memorial in the church which depicts a gentleman, supposedly Sir John Latch, gazing horror struck at the partially shrouded face of his wife, Sara, who has allegedly just died in child birth delivering her twelth child. The children are also represented in the memorial including the shrouded figure of the recently deceased last child. To help refresh your memories there is a photo of the memorial which is dated 1644 in the Gallery section.

The Latch family had a long association with Over Langford Manor, much of which is documented in Chris Lee’s excellent chapter on the house in “More Stories From Langford”.

The initials on the memorial appear to be JL and SL, and we have hitherto believed this to be Sir John and Sara Latch. However, Wallace Butler’s extremely erudite publication “Churchill People and Places” has a different take on the memorial. He believes the male figure represents Thomas Latch, Sir John’s son. Moreover there is a family tree of the Latches which would appear to identify all the children of the marriage between Thomas and Sara.

Wallace believes that it was Collinson’s guide to Somerset dated 1791 that started the myth that Sara’s husband was called John, and that he died of heartbreak on seeing the body of his wife.

We would be delighted to hear of your views on whether you think the gentleman in the memorial is Thomas or John Latch, and to see if we can find any compelling evidence that might throw some additional light on the subject! You can get in touch with us via the “Contact Us” page.