Description: Arched rectangular shape with canted top corners; astragal-and-fillet and cavetto moulded strip on each side, angled at top; raised central square panel bearing main inscription in sans-serif characters justified to left (2s formed like Zs); irregular arrangement of small ‘serrated’ square stamps repeated 29 times in two vertical groups of 12 on each side of the inscription panel (6 on the outside, side to side, 6 on the inside, roughly corner to corner); 2 squares, side to side, below each side of the arch, above the inscription panel; 1 square at top of arch between non-matching initials.
Notes: The inscription is the same as on the iron plate above the grave of Richard Gray in Withyham church; another fireback, said to have the same inscription, was formerly at Wolvesey Palace, Winchester, and later in Winchester Museum, but is now missing; the moulding strips are likely to have been derived from furniture. Frances Ashbie and Richard Graye's godson, Richard, the son of William Ashbie, were among the beneficiaries of Richard Graye's will and the initials, IA, on the fireback may relate to another member of that family. The fireback was noted at Sompting, near Lancing, West Sussex, in the 1820s.
Inscription: I A / ANNO·DOMINI·1582 / THE·27·DAY·OF·· / FEBRVARYE·DYED· / RICHARDE·GRAYE / PARSON·OF· · / WYTHIHAM·
Current location: St Michael's church, Withyham, East Sussex, England.