The tomb cover of Nicholas de Flore is in the vestry of St Luke's Church, Duston. Soon after the the Rev. Royan was appointed as the vicar of Duston in 1953, he noticed that the large slab on the stone floor of St Luke's Church was getting very damaged, and the lettering obliterated.
After cleaning the face of the stone, he found that all the lettering was in Latin. The slab stone had been there since the demolition of St. James Abbey in the sixteenth century, and had puzzled historians for centuries. Rev Royan thought that it must be of religious and historic interest, and so began a thorough cleaning of the monument, making an effort to decipher the lettering.
After hours of work, the vicar finally succeeded in deciphering the damaged Latin letters on the slab. It reads:
'HIC JACET IN PETRA SCULPTA DE MARMORE TETRA N. FLOS DE FLORE, GREGIS ISTIUS ACTUS HONORE. PASTOR SUBLATUS FRUIT HlC ET MORIGERATUS. SIT (CHRISTI) NATUS ANIMA (MQUE) DEUS MISER (ATUS)'
'Here lies in a dank coffin fashioned out of marble Nicholas the flower of Flore, shepherd of yonder flock now forced from his office. Exhausted was he and considerate. May he prove a son of Christ and may God have mercy on his soul.'
He then went to great lengths to discover its origin and significance. It was found that the monumental slab once covered the tomb of Abbot Nicholas de Flore who died on August 13th 1334. He ruled the Abbey for 36 years and was the twelfth Abbot. After the time of the dissolution of the Abbey by Henry VIII in the 16th century, the tomb cover was moved to St. Luke’s Church.
The tomb cover was originally mounted off the floor of St Luke's, in the old vestry (with glass partition, just visible in the photograph). It is now cemented in the floor of the vestry, sealed with matting. It is one of the few artefacts remaining of the huge St. James Abbey that stood for some 400 years, of which the Duston church was a part.
Many church members helped in the work of restoring the tomb cover, including J S S Allaway, John Bandy and Sid Mundy. Also, the British Timken apprentices, who made the intricate inlaid brass work.
Related TopicsTour of St Luke's Church
St James Abbey