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Wickhamford: 1563 – Robert Vertue

Robert Vertue was Vicar of Wickhamford by 1563.  He was one of two sons of Robert William Vertue, who was responsible for many fine fan ceilings in churches and abbeys, and who worked almost continuously as an ordinary mason on the nave of Westminster Abby between 1475 and 1490.

Robert himself was a master mason who supervised the construction work of the Bell Tower in Evesham.  The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that Robert “held the post of master mason to Evesham Abbey at the time of its dissolution in 1539.  He can probably be credited with all or most of the splendid series of works undertaken there by Abbot Clement Lichfield (1514–39). Those still extant are the detached bell-tower and the chantry chapels in the adjacent parish churches of St Lawrence and All Saints, the latter built before 1514 while Lichfield was prior.”  Evesham’s Bell Tower has been described as “perhaps the last building in England to be built by a monk/architect”.

Robert Vertue was stipendiary priest of All Saints, Evesham in 1540.  At one time, he had been Sacrist at Evesham Abbey (information from Evesham Abbey Bell Tower by George Demidowicz and Toni Demidowicz).  It is not known for how long Robert Vertue was Vicar of Wickhamford.