Fender Stone


Alias - Fender Stone

County - East Lothian

Parish - Tranent 

Graveyard - Tranent Kirkyard 

Year -  1690 / 1740

Stone - Red sandstone 

Motifs - winged spirit, putti standing on death, sexton tools, cross bones.

Insciption - West face : Here lyeth John Fender // who died … 1690 // and Elizabeth Henderson his spouse // who died November.

East face : Later inscription, perhaps to the above’s son or grandson. 

Description  - Commemorating at least one generation of stone masons, this heavily decorated stone makes use mostly of foliage, putti and personal emblems, displaying an unusual dearth of the expected momento mori imagery. The east face is headed by a winged spirit, who hovers over a volute, circular panel which presumably housed initials. On either side of this panel stand putti with their outside foot bent at the knee and standing on a skull - triumph over death. Below this emerges a naked figure from behind a cloth which it holds in both hands, and which drapes down the rest of the stone, providing an inscription panel. This drapes to the very bottom of the stone, where it artfully covers the top of a skull, peering from beneath the drapery. The side panels of the stone are floriated with small flowers such as the bluebell. 

The pediment of the west face contains the same imagery as that of the east, however it is higher relief and the central panel is of more ornate volute, housing a crest of three castles which Reid suggests is a local representation of the mason’s trade. The floriated side panels on this face also incorporate more common motifs such as crossed sextons’ tools, cross bones and hour glasses, which seem to hang on ribbons (see Pencaitland Harlaw stone, SMMELPC0)

Both Willsher and Reid have focussed on only one side of the stone each, and although neither have provided a full transcription, it does seem that one side is to John Fender who died 1690, and the other to William Fender who died 1740, also their wives Elizabeth Henderson and Margaret Robertson. An accomplished piece of masonry, befitting a master of that trade.