The Mausolea and Monuments Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1106634
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Tel: 020 7608 1441
[email protected]
Wynn Ellis Mausoleum, Church of All Saints, Whitstable, Kent

Taken into the guardianship of the MMT in 1997.

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 major collection of paintings he left to the National Gallery. On his retirement he 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 relations were also buried there.

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.

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.

(Photograph reproduced by kind permission of Country Life.)