The Mausolea & Monuments Trust

Wynn Ellis Mausoleum

This massive stone mausoleum takes the form of a squat stepped pyramid on a battered base of cyclopean rockwork. A flight of steps leads down to the pylon shaped entrance with the words ‘JANUA VITAE’ inscribed on the lintel. The oak doors are pierced with bronze grilles incorporating a monogram of Ellis’s initials, and the monument is surrounded by ornate cast-iron railings with stone footings. Inside the building is lined with red and yellow brick and the loculi have modest stone plaques bearing inscriptions.

Architect

Charles Barry Junior

Listing

Grade II (England and Wales)

Year Built

1872

History

At the age of twenty two Wynn Ellis (1790-1875) set himself up as a haberdasher, hosier and mercer, going on to create the largest silk business in London. He subsequently became a Liberal MP, and as such pressed for the repeal of the Corn Laws, free trade and the reform of bankcruptcy. But he is more likely to be remembered today for the important collection of paintings he left to the National Gallery.

On his retirement Ellis went to live at Tankerton Tower near Whitstable where, in 1871, the architect Charles Barry Junior was already engaged in rebuilding the church. When Ellis’s wife, Mary, died a year later, he asked Barry to build the mausoleum in the churchyard. Later Ellis himself and several other relatives were also buried there. The building was taken into guardianship by the MMT in 1997.

Condition

Good. The stone structure is sound and the MMT has replaced the oak doors in replica incorporating the original bronze grilles. The surrounding area has been cleared of brambles, and a planting scheme to improve the setting is under consideration (2006).

Sources

MMT News 2 (Sept 2000);

Dictionary of National Biography.

PDF

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Location

Churchyard of All Saints,
Church Street,
Whitstable,
Kent.

CT5 1PG

Related Articles/Publications

2000 MMT News Sept
Burial chambers; progress at the Wynn Ellis mausoleum ... more

Evicted from Eternity
Country Life article by Michael Hall ... more

Roger Bowdler's article for Churchscape
A paper discussing the significance of mausolea, introducing the work of the MMT ... more

Rural Charity of the Year
Country Life award to the MMT ... more

The Decay of Dyinjg
An article by Christopher Woodward for the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Newsletter No. 61 Summer 1997 ... more

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