Off With His Head!
Sir Robert Holmes (1622-1692) fought under Prince Rupert and was governor of the Island of Wight from 1667-1692. Holmes has an unusual story to the statue that sits atop his grave where he is buried at the parish church in Yarmouth.
During one of England’s many wars with France, Holmes captured a ship on its way to France which contained an unfinished headless statue of King Louis XIV. The sculptor of the statue happened to be on board. Holmes liked the statue and commanded that the sculptor carve the head in Holmes likeness. In return for doing this the sculptor would be granted his freedom.
The sculptor had no choice but to comply. The statue was finished in Yarmouth and Holmes’ head was placed upon it. The head’s carving is not in proportion with the body and of an inferior quality.
When Holmes passed away he instructed that this statue was to be placed on his tomb at St. James Church.