The Effigy of Thomas Chafe of Dodscott
Thomas Chaffe (abt 1585 -1648) of Dodscott was the third son of Thomas Chaffe of Exeter (?-1604) and Dorothy Shorte (? -1612). His sister, Pascoe Chafe, was the wife of Tristram Risdon of Winscott (abt 1580-1640), author of The Chorographical Description or Survey of the County of Devon. Thomas married Margaret Burgoyne (? - 1655). In his will dated September 24, 1648 he appoints his "hopeful godson and young nephew" Thomas Chafe (1611-1662) executor and directs him to inter his body "as neere as he can by my sister Risedon, and I doe ordain appointe and require £30 rather more than lesse to be bestowed in a monument of my Effigies by my Esecutor, of whose ove herin I am no diffident, who have reaped so many gratuities formely from mee, and now in present burthening his conscience for effecting it as he shall answer coram Deo. I desire him to inscript in my monument some memory of his good Aunt Risedon, and of the family deceased there interred, also of my wife and her two children, noe great onus to an ingenious, generous, and gratefull minde." Thomas Chafe was buried at St Giles in the Wood on 29 Nov 1648.
The dates of Margaret Burgoyne's death and burial were never inscribed on the monument. Her burial on 30 Mar 1655 is recorded in the St Giles in the Wood parish register.
The effigy is described in detail in Charles Worthy's Devonshire Wills, published in 1896:
The inscription is interesting in that it describes Chafe as having died in the year of his grand climacteric (63). The inscription also contains a chronogram. The Roman numerals in the line "eXVVIas sVas eXVIt MeDICVs" add up to 1648, the year of Chafe's death.
When the church was rebuilt in 1862 the effigy was removed from its original position and placed against the south wall of the tower. Worthy writes, "The two female figures then disappeared; and I understand that 'they fell to pieces, and could not be put together again.'" In 1987 the effigy was carefully restored, and placed in the newly created Mary Withecombe Chapel.