Cobham Brasses and Helms
Most visitors come to see the magnificent collection of brasses, fifteen of which are grouped in a massive 'pavement' in the Chancel, and some of which are more than 600 years old. By reputation they are the finest collection of Mediaeval brasses in the world. They are available for rubbing (by appointment only please) and a leaflet outlining each of them in more detail is available in the Church. Their survival is astonishing. Most churches lost theirs, along with all sculpture and painting, in the hundred years between 1560 and 1660. In the eighteenth century a traveller through the village records that they were bundled up in an ancient chest, and Hasted says that he found workmen who were repairing the roof were also purloining the brasses. The remains that we see today were pieced together and re-laid in 1837, and again more expertly in the 1860's by a Mr J G Waller at the expense of Mr F C Brooke a descendant from the mediaeval family.
Hanging in the Chancel are four Tilting Helmets of some rarity and great value. These are in fact copies of the originals which may be seen in the Royal Armouries, Leeds. It was customary at the time to have such helms hung in a church, after they had been carried at funerals of their owners. The types of helm and their agreed 1986 valuations are as follows:-
Jousting Helm c1380 £75,000
Jousting Helm c1380 altered for funerary use £60,000
Jousting Helm early sixteenth century £30,000
Armet with Saracen funerary crest £20,000