The sun that we use as the logo of the Chaldon History Group comes from a stone memorial in Chaldon Church, dated 1562, and referred to in some Church Guidebooks as the Early Renaissance Tablet. It is thought to be commemorating the Richardson family, although it does not say so, but just has three separate letters on it – R I E – thought to be R for the surname Richardson, and I for the husband John (J and I being interchangeable in this period / setting) and E for the wife, Ellen, both of whom lived in Chaldon. Ellen died in 1580 and John in 1584. It is thought that they may have established a charity for the poor of London.
The sun was chosen as the logo because it is a significant piece of Chaldon history in so many ways. It is on a memorial which is an important heritage feature of the village. It is made in the local / village stone, produced by a village family, and is in the village church, which is the most significant historical building in the village and is open to the public every day (except Good Friday to Easter Sunday).
The sun is a symbol that transcends religion, and can be seen as shining a light or shedding light on something, which fits well with historical research and the aims of the History Group. In addition, the memorial does not tell all of its story on its surface, but needs research.
The sun is not the only feature of the memorial. It has an inscription on it, beautifully carved into the stone, in a distinctive style, and giving a message from the past to the future. (See below for a transcription.)
The Victoria County History (1912) describes the memorial as “a very singular wall tablet in firestone of elaborate design” and in a note says that it is “of an altogether unusual type and architectural quality, being in fact quite one of the best bits of early Elizabethan work in Surrey”. It suggests that it is to commemorate a J. Tomkins, but this may be an error. The detailed and enthusiastic description of the memorial and also the wording of the inscription is available in the Chaldon section of The Victoria County History here under Church.
The Chaldon History Group gives most of the proceeds of its events to the Friends of Chaldon Church to help support the preservation of the church building as a significant part of the history of our village.
(c) Madeline Hutchins 2017
Below is the wording as it appears on the tablet,
followed by a modernised version with suggested punctuation to help understand its meaning.
Good redar warne all men and woomen while they be here
to be ever good to the poore and nedy
the poore ever in thys worlde shall ye have
God grante vs svmwat in store for to save
the cry of the poore is extreme and very sore
God gravnte vs to be good ever more
in this worlde we rvn ovr rase
God gravnte vs to be with Christ in tyme and space.
Good reader warn all men and women while they be here
to be ever good to the poor and needy.
The poor ever in this world shall ye have,
God grant us somewhat in store for to save.
The cry of the poor is extreme and very sore,
God grant us to be good ever more.
In this world we run our race,
God grant us to be with Christ in time and space.