E is for Anthony Ettricke

This is my contribution to Round Twelve of ABC Wednesday and again I am focusing on people, some famous, some infamous and some half-forgotten.
The Man in the Wall

The Man in the Wall

This post is as much about a place as a person and the letter E takes me to Wimborne Minster in Dorset and the rather eccentric Anthony Ettricke.

Ettricke was a 17th century barrister who was called to the bar in 1652 and from 1662 to 1682 served as the Recorder and Magistrate of Poole and Wimborne.

His sole claim to fame in law was to send the Duke of Monmouth for trial and execution following the Monmouth Rebellion and the attempted overthrow of James II.

But royal power politics aside, Ettricke is better known as The Man in the Wall.

As a prominent member of the community, he did a great deal of good works for the town of Poole and for the church, but for some unrecorded reason he fell out with the church authorities. Petulantly, he swore that he would not be buried inside the minister or in its graveyard, neither above nor below ground.

The Man in the WallEttricke relented and made his peace with the church, but felt he could not go back on his word – lawyers did that sort of thing back then – and so he came up with a novel solution.

He arranged for his tomb to be installed in the wall of the church so that it was half inside and half outside and half above ground and half below it.

Ettricke wasn’t very good at foretelling the future though. He had prophesied that he would expire in 1693 and was so confident that he had the year inscribed on his tomb.

In the event he lived ten years longer than he expected to and if you enlarge the photo above right you’ll see that the date had to be changed to read 1703.

Ethelred of WessexWimborne Minster is also the resting place for another E in King Ethelred (not the Unready one), the fourth son of Ethelwulf who succeeded his brother Ethelbert as King of Wessex and Kent in 865.

He died in 871 fighting the Danes and was succeeded by his more memorable brother, Alfred the Great, but you can read more about Ethelred here.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Roger Green 13th February 2013

    sounds like an interesting dude

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

    Reply
  • Gemma Wiseman 13th February 2013

    Now that’s a character with a unique attitude! Interesting post!

    Reply
  • Melanie 14th February 2013

    Inscribing the year you died before you do and getting it wrong… Wow! That’s not something you read about every day.

    Reply

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