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Vertue, Robert

Vertue, Robert (fl. 1475–d. 1506). English master-mason. He was at Westminster Abbey in a junior capacity from 1475 to 1480, and in a more senior one from 1482. He was appointed King's Master-Mason (c.1487) and carried out works at Greenwich. With his brother William Vertue, he designed the Abbey Church at Bath, Som. (begun 1501), with its beautiful fan-vault.

Vertue was involved in several works, but among his most important activities was the design of the Lady Chapel, now King Henry VII's (reigned 1485–1509) Chapel, Westminster Abbey, the foundation-stone for which was laid in 1502/3. Furthermore, Vertue, Lebons, and Janyns were involved in the preparation of the sepulchre of the King. He was also engaged at St George's Chapel, Windsor, Berks., including the fan-vaults. In his will he gave directions that he should be buried in the Abbey Church of St Augustine, Canterbury, Kent, with which he seems to have had connections, probably as Master-Mason. He may have designed the new bell-tower there (1461–1516). His son, Robert Vertue jun. (fl. 1506–55), was Master of the Works at Evesham Abbey, Worcs., where he designed the splendid buildings for Abbot Clement Lichfield (1514–39), including the spectacular Perpendicular free-standing bell-tower. For Abbot Lichfield he also designed the Mortuary Chapel in the Church of All Saints, Evesham, shortly before 1513, with a fan-vault resembling the work at King Henry VII's Chapel, which suggests the younger Vertue either had a hand in the Westminster work, had his father's drawings, or knew the fabric well. Also in the Westminster style is the exquisite Chantry Chapel of St Clement in St Lawrence's Church, Evesham (c.1520), also built for Abbot Lichfield. Robert may also have designed Christ Church Gate, Canterbury (1502).

Bibliography

J. Harvey (1987);
Pe: , Buildings of England, Worcestershire (1968);
Jane Turner (1996);

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