St Faith's Church in the Herefordshire village of Bacton stands in an elevated position looking down over the River Dore in the Golden Valley.
This ancient church contains two very rare Tudor treasures, one of which is
the Blanche Parry Monument, which was commissioned by Blanche for herself 12 years before her death. For 56 years Blanche was the close
confidante of Queen Elizabeth 1, Chief Gentlewoman of the Queen's Most Honourable Privy Chamber and Keeper of Her Majesty's Jewels. The monument shows sculptured effigies of both herself and the Queen along with a 28 line inscription. It is dated to before November 1578
and is the earliest known depiction of the queen as Gloriana signalling the propagation of the queen's iconography and cult of virginity beyond the court. The inscription was designed to both demonstrate Blanche's closeness and
importance to the queen, and bolster the royal image. The wording concludes with the lines -
So that my time I thus did pass away
A maid in court and never no man's wife
Sworn of Queen Elizabeth head Chamber always
With maiden queen a maid did end my life
Blanche's epitaph appears to prove that Queen Elizabeth did live and die a maid (virgin). Having composed the inscription herself for her own church monument, Blanche would never ever have dared lied to God for fear of harming her chances of entering heaven.