The Project Gutenberg EBook of Curious Epitaphs, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Curious Epitaphs Author: Various Editor: William Andrews Release Date: April 25, 2012 [EBook #39532] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CURIOUS EPITAPHS *** Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive.)
Collected and Edited with Notes
By William Andrews
WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., 5, FARRINGDON AVENUE, E.C.
THIS BOOK IS
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF
CUTHBERT BEDE, B.A.,
Author of “Verdant Green,” etc.,
AS A TOKEN OF GRATITUDE FOR
LITERARY ASSISTANCE AND SYMPATHY
GIVEN IN YEARS AGONE,
BUT NOT FORGOTTEN.
This work first appeared in 1883 and quickly passed out of print. Some important additions are made in the present volume. It is hoped that in its new form the book may find favour with the public and the press.
The Hull Press,
May Day, 1899.
|Epitaphs on Tradesmen||1|
|Good and Faithful Servants||35|
|Epitaphs on Soldiers and Sailors||49|
|Epitaphs on Musicians and Actors||73|
|Epitaphs on Sportsmen||92|
|Epitaphs on Parish Clerks and Sextons||119|
|Epitaphs on Notable Persons||149|
Many interesting epitaphs have been placed to the memory of tradesmen. Often they are not of an elevating character, nor highly poetical, but they display the whims and oddities of men. We will first present a few relating to the watch and clock-making trade. The first specimen is from Lydford churchyard, on the borders of Dartmoor:—
Here lies, in horizontal position,
the outside case of
George Routleigh, Watchmaker;
Whose abilities in that line were an honour
to his profession.
Integrity was the Mainspring, and prudence the
of all the actions of his life.
Humane, generous, and liberal,
his Hand never stopped
till he had relieved distress.
[Pg 2]So nicely regulated were all his motions,
that he never went wrong,
except when set a-going
who did not know his Key;
even then he was easily
set right again.
He had the art of disposing his time so well,
that his hours glided away
in one continual round
of pleasure and delight,
until an unlucky minute put a period to
He departed this life
Nov. 14, 1802,
in hopes of being taken in hand
by his Maker;
and of being thoroughly cleaned, repaired,
and set a-going
in the world to come.
In the churchyard of Uttoxeter, a monument is placed to the memory of Joseph Slater, who died November 21st, 1822, aged 49 years:—
|Here lies one who strove to equal time,|
A task too hard, each power too sublime;
Time stopt his motion, o’erthrew his balance-wheel,
Wore off his pivots, tho’ made of hardened steel;
Broke all his springs, the verge of life decayed,
And now he is as though he’d ne’er been made.
Such frail machine till time’s no more shall rust,
[Pg 3]And the archangel wakes our sleeping dust;
Then in assembled worlds in glory join,
And sing—“The hand that made us is divine.”
Our next is from Berkeley, Gloucestershire:—
|Here lyeth Thomas Peirce, whom no man taught,|
Yet he in iron, brass, and silver wrought;
He jacks, and clocks, and watches (with art) made
And mended, too, when others’ work did fade.
Of Berkeley, five times Mayor this artist was,
And yet this Mayor, this artist, was but grass.
When his own watch was down on the last day,
He that made watches had not made a key
To wind it up; but useless it must lie,
Until he rise again no more to die.
Died February 25th, 1665, aged 77.
The following is from Bolsover churchyard, Derbyshire:—
lies, in a horizontal position, the outside
Clock and Watch-maker,
Who departed this life, wound up in hope of
being taken in hand by his Maker, and being
thoroughly cleaned, repaired, and set a-going
in the world to come,
On the 15th of August, 1836,
In the 19th year of his age.
Respecting the next example, Mr. Edward Walford, M.A., wrote to the Times as follows: Close to the south-western corner of the parish[Pg 4] churchyard of Hampstead there has long stood a square tomb, with a scarcely decipherable inscription, to the memory of a man of science of the last century, whose name is connected with the history of practical navigation. The tomb, having stood there for more than a century, had become somewhat dilapidated, and has lately undergone a careful restoration at the cost and under the supervision of the Company of Clock-makers, and the fact is recorded in large characters on the upper face. The tops of the upright iron railings which surround the tomb have been gilt, and the restored inscription runs as follows:—
In memory of Mr. John Harrison, late of Red Lion-square, London, inventor of the time-keeper for ascertaining the longitude at sea. He was born at Foulby, in the county of York, and was the son of a builder of that place, who brought him up to the same profession. Before he attained the age of 21, he, without any instruction, employed himself in cleaning and repairing clocks and watches, and made a few of the former, chiefly of wood. At the age of 25 he employed his whole time in chronometrical improvements. He was the inventor of the gridiron pendulum, and the method of preventing the effects of heat and cold upon time-keepers by two bars fixed together; he introduced the secondary spring, to keep them going while winding up, and was the inventor of most (or all) the improvements in clocks and watches during his time. In the year 1735 his first time keeper [Pg 5]was sent to Lisbon, and in 1764 his then much improved fourth time-keeper having been sent to Barbadoes, the Commissioners of Longitude certified that he had determined the longitude within one-third of half a degree of a great circle, having not erred more than forty seconds in time. After sixty years’ close application to the above pursuits, he departed this life on the 24th day of March, 1776, aged 83.
In an epitaph in High Wycombe churchyard, life is compared to the working of a clock. It runs thus:—
|Of no distemper,|
Of no blast he died,
Like Autumn’s fruit,
That mellows long,
Even wondered at
Because he dropt not sooner.
Providence seemed to wind him up
For fourscore years,
Yet ran he nine winters more;
Till, like a clock,
Worn out with repeating time,
The wheels of weary life
At last stood still.
In Memory of John Abdidge, Alderman.
We have some curious specimens of engineers’ epitaphs. A good example is copied from the churchyard of Bridgeford-on-the-Hill, Notts:—
[Pg 6]Sacred to the memory of John Walker, the only son of Benjamin and Ann Walker, Engineer and Pallisade Maker, died September 22nd, 1832, aged 36 years.
|Farewell, my wife and father dear;|
My glass is run, my work is done,
And now my head lies quiet here.
That many an engine I’ve set up,
And got great praise from men,
I made them work on British ground,
And on the roaring seas;
My engine’s stopp’d, my valves are bad,
And lie so deep within;
No engineer could there be found
To put me new ones in.
But Jesus Christ converted me
And took me up above,
I hope once more to meet once more,
And sing redeeming love.
Our next is on a railway engine-driver, who died in 1840, and was buried in Bromsgrove churchyard:—
|My engine now is cold and still,|
No water does my boiler fill;
My coke affords its flame no more;
My days of usefulness are o’er;
My wheels deny their noted speed,
No more my guiding hand they need;
My whistle, too, has lost its tone,
Its shrill and thrilling sounds are gone;
My valves are now thrown open wide;
My flanges all refuse to guide,
My clacks also, though once so strong,
[Pg 7]Refuse to aid the busy throng:
No more I feel each urging breath;
My steam is now condensed in death.
Life’s railway o’er, each station’s passed,
In death I’m stopped, and rest at last.
Farewell, dear friends, and cease to weep:
In Christ I’m safe; in Him I sleep.
In the Ludlow churchyard is a headstone to the memory of John Abingdon “who for forty years drove the Ludlow stage to London, a trusty servant, a careful driver, and an honest man.” He died in 1817, and his epitaph is as follows:—
|His labor done, no more to town,|
His onward course he bends;
His team’s unshut, his whip’s laid up,
And here his journey ends.
Death locked his wheels and gave him rest,
And never more to move,
Till Christ shall call him with the blest
To heavenly realms above.
The epitaph we next give is on the driver of the coach that ran between Aylesbury and London, by the Rev. H. Bullen, Vicar of Dunton, Bucks, in whose churchyard the man was buried:—
|Parker, farewell! thy journey now is ended,|
Death has the whip-hand, and with dust is blended;
Thy way-bill is examined, and I trust
Thy last account may prove exact and just.
When he who drives the chariot of the day,
Where life is light, whose Word’s the living way,
[Pg 8]Where travellers, like yourself, of every age,
And every clime, have taken their last stage,
The God of mercy, and the God of love,
Show you the road to Paradise above!
Lord Byron wrote on John Adams, carrier, of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, an epitaph as follows:—
|John Adams lies here, of the parish of Southwell,|
A carrier who carried his can to his mouth well;
He carried so much, and he carried so fast,
He could carry no more—so was carried at last;
For the liquor he drank, being too much for one,
He could not carry off—so he’s now carri-on.
On Hobson, the famous University carrier, the following lines were written:—
|Here lies old Hobson: death has broke his girt,|
And here! alas, has laid him in the dirt;
Or else the ways being foul, twenty to one
He’s here stuck in a slough and overthrown:
’Twas such a shifter, that, if truth were known,
Death was half glad when he had got him down;
For he had any time these ten years full,
Dodged with him betwixt Cambridge and the Bull;
And surely Death could never have prevailed,
Had not his weekly course of carriage failed.
But lately finding him so long at home,
And thinking now his journey’s end was come,
And that he had ta’en up his latest inn,
In the kind office of a chamberlain
Showed him the room where he must lodge that night,
Pulled off his boots and took away the light.
[Pg 9]If any ask for him it shall be said,
Hobson has supt and’s newly gone to bed.
In Trinity churchyard, Sheffield, formerly might be seen an epitaph on a bookseller, as follows:—
|In Memory of|
Richard Smith, who died
April 6th, 1757, aged 52.
|At thirteen years I went to sea;|
To try my fortune there,
But lost my friend, which put an end
To all my interest there.
To land I came as ’twere by chance,
At twenty then I taught to dance,
And yet unsettled in my mind,
To something else I was inclined;
At twenty-five laid dancing down,
To be a bookseller in this town,
Where I continued without strife,
Till death deprived me of my life.
Vain world, to thee I bid farewell,
To rest within this silent cell,
Till the great God shall summon all
To answer His majestic call,
Then, Lord, have mercy on us all.
The following epitaph was written on James Lackington, a celebrated bookseller, and eccentric character:—
|Good passenger, one moment stay,|
And contemplate this heap of clay;
’Tis Lackington that claims a pause,
[Pg 10]Who strove with death, but lost his cause:
A stranger genius ne’er need be
Than many a merry year was he.
Some faults he had, some virtues too
(the devil himself should have his due);
And as dame fortune’s wheel turn’d round,
Whether at top or bottom found,
He never once forgot his station,
Nor e’er disown’d a poor relation;
In poverty he found content,
Riches ne’er made him insolent.
When poor, he’d rather read than eat,
When rich books form’d his highest treat,
His first great wish to act, with care,
The sev’ral parts assigned him here;
And, as his heart to truth inclin’d,
He studied hard the truth to find.
Much pride he had,—’twas love of fame,
And slighted gold, to get a name;
But fame herself prov’d greatest gain,
For riches follow’d in her train.
Much had he read, and much had thought,
And yet, you see, he’s come to nought;
Or out of print, as he would say,
To be revised some future day:
Free from errata, with addition,
A new and a complete edition.
At Rugby, on Joseph Cave, Dr. Hawksworth wrote:—
Near this place lies the body of
Late of this parish;
Who departed this life Nov. 18, 1747,
Aged 79 years.
[Pg 11]He was placed by Providence in a humble station; but industry abundantly supplied the wants of nature, and temperance blest him with content and wealth. As he was an affectionate father, he was made happy in the decline of life by the deserved eminence of his eldest son,
who, without interest, fortune, or connection, by the native force of his own genius, assisted only by a classical education, which he received at the Grammar School of this town, planned, executed, and established a literary work called
The Gentleman’s Magazine,
whereby he acquired an ample fortune, the whole of which devolved to his family.
Here also lies
The body of William Cave,
second son of the said Joseph Cave, who died May 2, 1757, aged 62 years, and who, having survived his elder brother,
inherited from him a competent estate; and, in gratitude to his benefactor, ordered this monument to perpetuate his memory.
|He lived a patriarch in his numerous race,|
And shew’d in charity a Christian’s grace:
Whate’er a friend or parent feels he knew;
His hand was open, and his heart was true;
In what he gain’d and gave, he taught mankind
A grateful always is a generous mind.
Here rests his clay! his soul must ever rest,
Who bless’d when living, dying must be blest.
The well-known blacksmith’s epitaph, said to be written by the poet Hayley, may be found in many churchyards in this country. It formed the[Pg 12] subject of a sermon delivered on Sunday, the 27th day of August, 1837, by the then Vicar of Crich, Derbyshire, to a large assembly. We are told that the vicar appeared much excited, and read the prayers in a hurried manner. Without leaving the desk, he proceeded to address his flock for the last time; and the following is the substance thereof: “To-morrow, my friends, this living will be vacant, and if any one of you is desirous of becoming my successor he has now an opportunity. Let him use his influence, and who can tell but he may be honoured with the title of Vicar of Crich. As this is my last address, I shall only say, had I been a blacksmith, or a son of Vulcan, the following lines might not have been inappropriate:—
|My sledge and hammer lie reclined,|
My bellows, too, have lost their wind;
My fire’s extinct, my forge decayed,
And in the dust my vice is laid.
My coal is spent, my iron’s gone,
My nails are drove, my work is done;
My fire-dried corpse lies here at rest,
And, smoke-like, soars up to be bless’d.
If you expect anything more, you are deceived; for I shall only say, Friends, farewell, farewell!” The effect of this address was too visible to pass unnoticed. Some appeared as if awakened from a[Pg 13] fearful dream, and gazed at each other in silent astonishment; others for whom it was too powerful for their risible nerves to resist, burst into boisterous laughter, while one and all slowly retired from the scene, to exercise their future cogitations on the farewell discourse of their late pastor.
From Silkstone churchyard we have the following on a potter and his wife:—
In memory of John Taylor, of Silkstone, potter, who departed this life, July 14th, Anno Domini 1815, aged 72 years.
Also Hannah, his wife, who departed this life, August 13th. 1815, aged 68 years.
|Out of the clay they got their daily bread,|
Of clay were also made.
Returned to clay they now lie dead,
Where all that’s left must shortly go.
To live without him his wife she tried,
Found the task hard, fell sick, and died.
And now in peace their bodies lay,
Until the dead be called away,
And moulded into spiritual clay.
On a poor woman who kept an earthenware shop at Chester, the following epitaph was composed:—
|Beneath this stone lies Catherine Gray,|
Changed to a lifeless lump of clay;
By earth and clay she got her pelf,
And now she’s turned to earth herself.
[Pg 14]Ye weeping friends, let me advise,
Abate your tears and dry your eyes;
For what avails a flood of tears?
Who knows but in a course of years,
In some tall pitcher or brown pan,
She in her shop may be again.
Our next is from the churchyard of Aliscombe, Devonshire:—
Here lies the remains of James Pady, brickmaker, late of this parish, in hope that his clay will be re-moulded in a workmanlike manner, far superior to his former perishable materials.
|Keep death and judgment always in your eye,|
Or else the devil off with you will fly,
And in his kiln with brimstone ever fry:
If you neglect the narrow road to seek,
Christ will reject you, like a half-burnt brick!
In the old churchyard of Bullingham, on the gravestone of a builder, the following lines appear:—
|This humble stone is o’er a builder’s bed,|
Tho’ raised on high by fame, low lies his head.
His rule and compass are now locked up in store.
Others may build, but he will build no more.
His house of clay so frail, could hold no longer—
May he in heaven be tenant of a stronger!
In Colton churchyard, Staffordshire, is a mason’s tombstone decorated with carving of square and[Pg 15] compass, in relief, and bearing the following characteristic inscription:—
|Sacred to the memory of|
Who died May 4th, 1804, in the 55th
year of his age.
|The corner-stone I often times have dress’d;|
In Christ, the corner-stone, I now find rest.
Though by the Builder he rejected were,
He is my God, my Rock, I build on here.
In the churchyard of Longnor, the following quaint epitaph is placed over the remains of a carpenter:—
Memory of Samuel
Bagshaw late of Har-
ding-Booth who depar-
ted this life June the
5th 1787 aged 71 years.
|Beneath lie mouldering into Dust|
A Carpenter’s Remains.
A man laborious, honest, just: his Character sustains.
In seventy-one revolving Years
He sow’d no Seeds of Strife;
With Ax and Saw, Line, Rule and Square, employed his careful life.
But Death who view’d his peaceful Lot
His Tree of Life assail’d
His Grave was made upon this spot, and his last Branch he nail’d.
Here are some witty lines on a carpenter[Pg 16] named John Spong, who died 1739, and is buried in Ockham churchyard:—
|Who many a sturdy oak has laid along,|
Fell’d by Death’s surer hatchet, here lies John Spong.
Post oft he made, yet ne’er a place could get
And lived by railing, tho’ he was no wit.
Old saws he had, although no antiquarian;
And stiles corrected, yet was no grammarian.
Long lived he Ockham’s favourite architect,
And lasting as his fame a tomb t’ erect,
In vain we seek an artist such as he,
Whose pales and piles were for eternity.
Our next is from Hessle, near Hull, and is said to have been inscribed on a tombstone placed over the remains of George Prissick, plumber and glazier:—
|Adieu, my friend, my thread of life is spun;|
The diamond will not cut, the solder will not run;
My body’s turned to ashes, my grief and troubles past,
I’ve left no one to worldly care—and I shall rise at last.
On a dyer, from the church of St. Nicholas, Yarmouth, we have as follows:—
|Here lies a man who first did dye,|
When he was twenty-four,
And yet he lived to reach the age,
Of hoary hairs, fourscore.
But now he’s gone, and certain ’tis
He’ll not dye any more.
[Pg 17]In Sleaford churchyard, on Henry Fox, a weaver, the following lines are inscribed:—
|Of tender thread this mortal web is made,|
The woof and warp and colours early fade;
When power divine awakes the sleeping dust,
He gives immortal garments to the just.
Our next epitaph, from Weston, is placed over the remains of a useful member of society in his time:—
|Here lies entomb’d within this vault so dark,|
A tailor, cloth-drawer, soldier, and parish clerk;
Death snatch’d him hence, and also from him took
His needle, thimble, sword, and prayer-book.
He could not work, nor fight,—what then?
He left the world, and faintly cried, “Amen!”
On an Oxford bellows-maker, the following lines were written:—
|Here lyeth John Cruker, a maker of bellowes,|
His craftes-master and King of good fellowes;
Yet when he came to the hour of his death,
He that made bellowes, could not make breath.
The next epitaph, on Joseph Blakett, poet and shoemaker of Seaham, is said to be from Byron’s pen:—
|Stranger! behold interr’d together|
The souls of learning and of leather.
Poor Joe is gone, but left his awl—
You’ll find his relics in a stall.
[Pg 18]His work was neat, and often found
Well-stitched and with morocco bound.
Tread lightly—where the bard is laid
We cannot mend the shoe he made;
Yet he is happy in his hole,
With verse immortal as his sole.
But still to business he held fast,
And stuck to Phœbus to the last.
Then who shall say so good a fellow
Was only leather and prunella?
For character—he did not lack it,
And if he did—’twere shame to Black it!
The following lines are on a cobbler:—
|Death at a cobbler’s door oft made a stand,|
But always found him on the mending hand;
At length Death came, in very dirty weather,
And ripp’d the soul from off the upper leather:
The cobbler lost his awl,—Death gave his last,
And buried in oblivion all the past.
Respecting Robert Gray, a correspondent writes: He was a native of Taunton, and at an early age he lost his parents, and went to London to seek his fortune. Here, as an errand boy, he behaved so well, that his master took him apprentice, and afterwards set him up in business, by which he made a large fortune. In his old age he retired from trade and returned to Taunton, where he founded a hospital. On his monument is the following inscription:—
|Taunton bore him; London bred him;|
Piety train’d him; Virtue led him;
Earth enrich’d him; Heaven possess’d him;
Taunton bless’d him; London bless’d him:
This thankful town, that mindful city,
Share his piety and pity,
What he gave, and how he gave it,
Ask the poor, and you shall have it.
Gentle reader, may Heaven strike
Thy tender heart to do the like;
And now thy eyes have read his story,
Give him the praise, and God the glory.
He died at the age of 65 years, in 1635.
In Rotherham churchyard the following is inscribed on a miller:—
|In memory of|
who departed this life, June 16, 1781.
|Here lies a man which Farmers lov’d|
Who always to them constant proved;
Dealt with freedom, Just and Fair—
An honest miller all declare.
On a Bristol baker we have the following:—
Here lie Tho. Turar, and Mary, his wife. He was twice Master of the Company of Bakers, and twice Churchwarden of this parish. He died March 6, 1654. She died May 8th, 1643.
|Like to the baker’s oven is the grave,|
Wherein the bodyes of the faithful have
A setting in, and where they do remain
In hopes to rise, and to be drawn again;
[Pg 20]Blessed are they who in the Lord are dead,
Though set like dough, they shall be drawn like bread.
On the tomb of an auctioneer in the churchyard at Corby, in the county of Lincoln, is the following:—
|Beneath this stone, facetious wight|
Lies all that’s left of poor Joe Wright;
Few heads with knowledge more informed,
Few hearts with friendship better warmed;
With ready wit and humour broad,
He pleased the peasant, squire, and lord;
Until grim death, with visage queer,
Assumed Joe’s trade of Auctioneer,
Made him the Lot to practise on,
With “going, going,” and anon
He knocked him down to “Poor Joe’s gone!”
In Wimbledon churchyard is the grave of John Martin, a natural son of Don John Emanuel, King of Portugal. He was sent to this country about the year 1712, to be out of the way of his friends, and after several changes of circumstances, ultimately became a gardener. It will be seen from the following epitaph that he won the esteem of his employers:—
To the memory of John Martin, gardener, a native of Portugal, who cultivated here, with industry and success, the same ground under three masters, forty years.
|Though skilful and experienced,|
He was modest and unassuming;
[Pg 21]And tho’ faithful to his masters,
And with reason esteemed,
He was kind to his fellow-servants,
And was therefore beloved.
His family and neighbours lamented his death,
As he was a careful husband, a tender father, and an honest man.
This character of him is given to posterity by his last master, willingly because deservedly, as a lasting testimony of his great regard for so good a servant.
He died March 30th, 1760. Aged 66 years.
|For public service grateful nations raise|
Proud structures, which excite to deeds of praise;
While private services, in corners thrown,
Howe’er deserving, never gain a stone.
But are not lilies, which the valleys hide,
Perfect as cedars, tho’ the valley’s pride?
Let, then, the violets their fragrance breathe,
And pines their ever-verdant branches wreathe
Around his grave, who from their tender birth
Upreared both dwarf and giant sons of earth,
And tho’ himself exotic, lived to see
Trees of his raising droop as well as he.
Those were his care, while his own bending age,
His master propp’d and screened from winter’s rage,
Till down he gently fell, then with a tear
He bade his sorrowing sons transport him here.
But tho’ in weakness planted, as his fruit
Always bespoke the goodness of his root,
The spirit quickening, he in power shall rise
With leaf unfading under happier skies.
The next is on the Tradescants, famous [Pg 22]gardeners and botanists at Lambeth. In 1657 Mr. Tradescant, junr., presented to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, a remarkable cabinet of curiosities:—
|Know, stranger, ere thou pass, beneath this stone|
Lye John Tradescant, grandsire, father, son;
The last died in his spring; the other two
Liv’d till they had travell’d art and nature through;
As by their choice collections may appear,
Of what is rare, in land, in sea, in air;
Whilst they (as Homer’s Iliad in a nut)
A world of wonders in one closet shut;
These famous antiquarians, that had been
Both gard’ners to the ROSE AND LILY QUEEN,
Transplanted now themselves, sleep here; and when
Angels shall with trumpets waken men,
And fire shall purge the world, then hence shall rise,
And change this garden for a paradise.
We have here an epitaph on a grocer, culled from the Rev. C. W. Bardsley’s “Memorials of St. Anne’s Church,” Manchester. In a note about the name of Howard, the author says: “Poor John Howard’s friends gave him an unfortunate epitaph—one, too, that reflected unkindly upon his wife. It may still be seen in the churchyard.—Here lyeth the body of John Howard, who died Jan. 2, 1800, aged 84 years; fifty years a respectable grocer, and[Pg 23] an honest man. As it is further stated that his wife died in 1749, fifty years before, it would seem that her husband’s honesty dated from the day of her decease. Mrs. Malaprop herself, in her happiest moments, could not have beaten this inscription.”
The trade of printer is rich in technical terms available for the writer of epitaphs, as will be seen from the following examples.
Our first inscription is from St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, placed in remembrance of England’s benefactor, the first English printer:—
To the memory of
who first introduced into Great Britain
the Art of Printing;
And who, A.D. 1477 or earlier, exercised that art in the
Abbey of Westminster.
In remembrance of one to whom the literature of this
country is so largely indebted, was raised,
anno Domini MDCCCXX.,
by the Roxburghe Club,
Earl Spencer, K.G., President.
In St. Giles’ Cathedral Church, Edinburgh, is the Chepman aisle, founded by the man who introduced printing into North Britain. Dr. William Chambers, by whose munificence this stately church was restored, had placed in the[Pg 25] aisle, bearing Chepman’s name, a brass tablet having the following inscription:—
To the Memory of
designated the Scottish Caxton,
who under the auspices of James IV.
and his Queen, Margaret, introduced
the art of printing into Scotland
1507 founded this aisle in
honour of the King, Queen, and
their family, 1513. Died 1532.
This tablet is gratefully inscribed by
William Chambers, ll.d.
The next is in memory of one Edward Jones, ob. 1705, æt. 53. He was the “Gazette” Printer of the Savoy, and the following epitaph was appended to an elegy, entitled, “The Mercury Hawkers in Mourning,” and published on the occasion of his death:—
|Here lies a Printer, famous in his time,|
Whose life by lingering sickness did decline.
He lived in credit, and in peace he died,
And often had the chance of Fortune tried.
Whose smiles by various methods did promote
Him to the favour of the Senate’s vote;
And so became, by National consent,
The only Printer of the Parliament.
Thus, by degrees, so prosp’rous was his fate,
He left his heirs a very good estate.
[Pg 26]It has been truthfully said that the life of Benjamin Franklin is stranger than fiction. He was a self-made man, gaining distinction as a printer, journalist, author, electrician, natural philosopher, statesman, and diplomatist. The “Autobiography and Letters of Benjamin Franklin” has been extensively circulated, and must ever remain a popular book; young men and women cannot fail to peruse its pages without pleasure and profit.
In collections of epitaphs and books devoted to literary curiosities, a quaint epitaph said to have been written by Franklin frequently finds a place. He was not, however, the original composer of the epitaph, but imitated it for himself. Jacob Tonson, a famous bookseller, died in 1735, and a Latin epitaph was written on him by an Eton scholar. It is printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine, February, 1736, with a diffuse paraphrase in English verse. The following is at all events a conciser version:—
his life being finished
here is the end of
Weep authors and break your pens;
[Pg 27]Your Tonson effaced from the book,
is no more,
but print the last inscription on the title
page of death,
for fear that delivered to the press
of the grave
the Editor should want a title:
Here lies a bookseller,
The leaf of his life being finished,
Awaiting a new edition,
Augmented and corrected.
The following is Franklin’s epitaph for himself:
(Like the cover of an old book,
its contents torn out,
And stript of its lettering and gilding),
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work itself shall not be lost,
For it will, as he believed, appear once more,
In a new and more elegant edition,
Revised and corrected
But it is not at all certain that Franklin was not the earlier writer, for the epitaph was certainly a production of the first years of manhood—probably 1727. There are other epitaphs from[Pg 28] which he may have taken the idea; that, on the famous John Cotton at Boston, for instance, in which he is likened to a Bible:—
|A living, breathing Bible; tables where|
Both covenants at large engraven were;
Gospel and law in his heart had each its column,
His head an index to the sacred volume!
His very name a title-page; and, next,
His life a commentary on the text.
Oh, what a moment of glorious worth,
When in a new edition he comes forth!
Without errata, we may think ’twill be,
In leaves and covers of Eternity.
There is a similar conceit in the epitaph on John Foster, the Boston printer. Franklin would probably have seen both of these.
On the 17th April, 1790, at the age of eighty-four years, passed away the sturdy patriot and sagacious writer. His mortal remains rest with those of his wife in the burial-ground of Christ Church, Philadelphia. A plain flat stone covers the grave, bearing the following simple inscription:—
This is the inscription which he directed, in his will, to be placed on his tomb. We give a[Pg 29] picture of the quiet corner where the good man and his worthy wife are buried. English as well as American visitors to the city usually wend their way to the last resting-place of the famous man we delight to honour.
A printer’s sentiment inscribed to the memory of Franklin is worth reproducing:—
Benjamin Franklin, the * of his profession; the type of honesty; the ! of all; and although the ☞ of death put a . to his existence, each § of his life is without a ||.
Dr. Franklin’s parents were buried in one grave[Pg 30] in the old Grancey Cemetery, beside Park Street Church, Boston, Mass. He placed a marble monument to their memory, bearing the following inscription:—
Abiah, his wife,
Lie here interred.
They lived lovingly together, in wedlock,
And without an estate, or any gainful employment,
By constant labour and honest industry
(With God’s blessing),
Maintained a large family comfortably;
And brought up thirteen children and seven
From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.
He was a pious and prudent man,
She a discreet and virtuous woman.
Their youngest son,
In filial regard to their memory,
Places this stone.
J. F., Born 1655; Died 1744 ÆT 89.
A. F., Born 1667; Died 1752 ÆT 85.
It is satisfactory to learn that, when the stone became dilapidated, the citizens of Boston replaced it with a granite obelisk.
A notable epitaph was that of George Faulkner,[Pg 31] alderman and printer, of Dublin, who died in 1775:—
|Here sleeps George Faulkner, printer, once so dear|
To humorous Swift, and Chesterfield’s gay peer;
So dear to his wronged country and her laws;
So dauntless when imprisoned in her cause;
No alderman e’er graced a weighter board,
No wit e’er joked more freely with a lord.
None could with him in anecdotes confer;
A perfect annal-book, in Elzevir.
Whate’er of glory life’s first sheets presage,
Whate’er the splendour of the title-page,
Leaf after leaf, though learned lore ensues;
Close as thy types and various as thy news;
Yet, George, we see that one lot awaits them all,
Gigantic folios, or octavos small;
One universal finis claims his rank,
And every volume closes in a blank.
In the churchyard of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, is a good specimen of a typographical epitaph, placed in remembrance of a noted printer, who died in the year 1818. It reads as follows:—
Here lie the remains of L. Gedge, Printer.
Like a worn-out character, he has returned to the Founder,
Hoping that he will be re-cast in a better and
more perfect mould.
Our next example is profuse of puns, some of which are rather obscure to younger readers,[Pg 32] owing to the disuse of the old wooden press. It is the epitaph of a Scotch printer:—
Sacred to the memory of
Pressman-printer, in Edinburgh,
Who died Oct. 3, 1832,
Aged 72 years.
All my stays are loosed;
My cap is thrown off; my head is worn out;
My box is broken;
My spindle and bar have lost their power;
My till is laid aside;
Both legs of my crane are turned out of their path;
My platen can make no impression;
My winter hath no spring;
My rounce will neither roll out nor in;
Stone, coffin, and carriage have all failed;
The hinges of my tympan and frisket are immovable;
My long and short ribs are rusted;
My cheeks are much worm-eaten and mouldering
My press is totally down:
The volume of my life is finished,
Not without many errors;
Most of them have arisen from bad composition, and
are to be attributed more to the chase than the
There are also a great number of my own;
Misses, scuffs, blotches, blurs, and bad register;
But the true and faithful Superintendent has undertaken
to correct the whole.
When the machine is again set up
(incapable of decay),
[Pg 33]A new and perfect edition of my life will appear,
Elegantly bound for duration, and every way fitted
for the grand Library of the Great Author.
The next specimen is less satisfactory, because devoid of the hope that should encircle the death of the Christian. It is the epitaph which Baskerville, the celebrated Birmingham printer and type founder, directed to be placed upon a tomb of masonry in the shape of a cone, and erected over his remains:—
Beneath this cone, in unconsecrated ground,
A friend to the liberties of mankind
Directed his body to be inurned.
May the example contribute to emancipate thy mind
from the idle fears of superstition, and the
wicked arts of priestcraft.
It is recorded that “The tomb has long since been overturned, and even the remains of the man himself desecrated and dispersed till the final day of resurrection, when the atheism which in his later years he professed will receive assuredly so complete and overwhelming a refutation.”
In 1599 died Christopher Barker, one of the most celebrated of the sixteenth century typographers, printer to Queen Elizabeth—to whom, in fact, the present patent held by Eyre and Spottiswoode can be traced back in unbroken succession.
|Here Barker lies, once printer to the Crown,|
Whose works of art acquired a vast renown.
Time saw his worth, and spread around his fame,
That future printers might imprint the same.
But when his strength could work the press no more
And his last sheets were folded into store,
Pure faith, with hope (the greatest treasure given),
Opened their gates, and bade him pass to heaven.
We will bring to a close our examples of typographical epitaphs with the following, copied from the graveyard of St. Michael’s, Coventry, on a worthy printer who was engaged over sixty years as a compositor on the Coventry Mercury:—
the mortal remains
who, like an old, worn-out type,
battered by frequent use,
reposes in the grave.
But not without a hope that at some future time
he might be cast in the mould of righteousness,
And safely locked-up
in the chase of immortality.
He was distributed from the board of life
on the 9th day of Sept., 1827,
Regretted by his employers,
and respected by his fellow artists.
Our graveyards contain many tombstones inscribed to the memory of old servants. Frequently these memorials have been raised by their employers to show appreciation for faithful discharge of duty and good conduct of life. A few specimens of this class of epitaph can hardly fail to interest the reader.
Near to Chatsworth, Derbyshire, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, is the model village of Edensor, with its fine church, from the design of Sir Gilbert Scott, reared on the site of an old structure. The church and graveyard contain numerous touching memorials to the memory of noblemen and their servants. In remembrance of the latter the following are of interest. The first is engraved on a brass plate near the chancel arch:—
|Here lies ye Body of Mr. Iohn Phillips some-|
time Housekeeper of Chatsworth, who de-
parted this life on ye 28th of May 1735, in ye
73rd year of his age, and 60th of his service in
ye Most Noble family of His Grace the Duke
Pray let my Bones together lie
Until that sad and joyful Day,
When from above a Voice shall say,
Rise, all ye dead, lift up your Eyes,
Your great Creator bids you rise;
Then do I hope with all ye Just
To shake off my polluted dust,
And in new Robes of Glory Drest
To have access amongst ye Bless’d.
Which God in his infinite Mercy Grant
For the sake & through ye merits of my
Redeemer Jesus Christ ye Righteous.
A tombstone in the churchyard to the memory of James Brousard, who died in 1762, aged seventy-six years, states:—
|Ful forty years as Gardener to ye D. of Devonshire,|
to propigate ye earth with plants it was his ful desire;
but then thy bones, alas, brave man, earth did no rest afoard,
but now wee hope ye are at rest with Jesus Christ our Lord.
On a gravestone over the remains of William Mather, 1818, are the following lines:—
|When he that day with th’ Waggon went,|
He little thought his Glass was spent;
But had he kept his Plough in Hand,
He might have longer till’d the Land.
We obtain from a memorial stone at Disley Church a record of longevity:—
Here Lyeth Interred the
[Pg 37]Body of Joseph Watson, Bur-
ied June the third 1753,
Aged 104 years. He was
Park Keeper at Lyme more
than 64 years, and was ye First
that Perfected the art of Dri-
ving ye Stags. Here also Lyeth
the Body of Elizabeth his
wife, Aged 94 years, to whom
He had been married 73 years.
Reader take Notice, the Long-
est Life is Short.
On the authority of Mr. J. P. Earwaker, the historian of East Cheshire, it is recorded of the above that “in the 103rd year of his age he was at the hunting and killed a buck with the honourable George Warren, in his Park at Poynton, whose activity gave pleasure to all the spectators there present. Sir George was the fifth generation of the Warren family he had performed that diversion with in Poynton Park.”
We have from Petersham, Surrey, the next example:—
Near the tomb of
a Worthy Family
lies the Body of
who departed this life
The 3rd day of August 1795
Aged 83 Years.
[Pg 38]Having lived in the Service
of that Family
She was a good Christian
an Honest Woman
a faithful Servant.
At Great Marlow a stone states that Mary Whitty passed sixty-three years as a faithful servant in one family. She died in 1795 at the age of eighty-two years.
Our next example is from Burton-on-Trent:—
to the memory of
An Honest, Sober, Modest Man
(A Character how rarely found;)
Whose peaceful Life a circle ran
More hallow’d makes this hallow’d ground
In Service thirty years he spent
And Dying left his well got gains;
To feed and cloth, a Mother bent
By Age’s slow consuming pains:
A tender Master, Mistress kind,
And Friends, (for many a friend had he)
Lament the loss, but time will find
His gain through blest Eternity
He was near thirty Years
a Servant in the Cotton Family
and died in its attendance at Buxton
the 30th of September 1760 Aged 48.
[Pg 39]Also adjoining to him
was laid his Aged Parent
who died the 21st of February following.
From a gravestone at Sutton Coldfield we have a record of a long and industrious life:—
to the memory of
John Fisher, day labourer,
who died May 17th in the Year 1806
in the 91st Year of his Age,
having served two Masters at Moore Hall
in this Parish, upwards of fifty years,
Faithfully, Industriously, and Cheerfully.
He was in his Imployment
eight weeks before he died.
This Stone is inscribed to his Memory
by his last Master, as a pattern to Posterity.
Our next inscription is from Eltham, Kent:—
lie the Remains of
Mr. James Tappy
who departed this life on the 8th of
September 1818, Aged 84.
After a faithful Service of
60 years in one Family,
by each individual in which,
He lived respected,
And died lamented
by the sole Survivor.
At Besford, Worcestershire, is a gravestone to the memory of Nathaniel Bell and his wife, both[Pg 40] of whom lived over sixty years each in the Sebright family.
At Kempsey, Worcestershire, is a tombstone on which appears the remarkable record of seventy-seven years in the service of one family:—
To the Memory of
Mrs. Sarah Armison,
who died on the 27th of April
Aged 88 years.
77 of which she passed in the
Service of the Family
of Mrs. Bell
Justly and deservedly lamented
for integrity, rectitude
of Conduct, and Amiable
We have not noted a more extended period than the foregoing passed in domestic service.
At Tidmington, Worcestershire, is a gravestone to the memory of Sarah Lanchbury, who died at the age of seventy-seven years; she was the servant of one gentleman fifty-six years.
A stone in the old abbey church at Pershore, in the same county, bears an inscription as follows:—
[Pg 41]the Memory
Sarah Andrews: a faithful Domestic
Mr. Herbert Woodward
of this Place
In whose Service she died
on the 10th Feby, 1814
having filled the Duties of her humble
Station with unblemished Integrity
for the long Period
From Petworth, Sussex, we have the following:—
of Sarah Betts, widow,
who passed nearly 50 Years in one Service
and died January 2, 1792
|Farewell! dear Servant! since thy heavenly Lord|
Summons thy worth to its supreme reward.
Thine was a spirit that no toil could tire,
“When Service sweat for duty, not for hire.”
From him whose childhood cherished by thy care,
Weathered long years of sickness and despair,
Take what may haply touch the best above,
Truth’s tender praise! and tears of grateful love.
In the year 1807, died, at the age of eighty-five years, Mary Baily. She was buried at Epsom, and her gravestone says: “She passed sixty[Pg 42] years of her life in the faithful discharge of her duties in the service of one family, by whom she was honoured, respected, and beloved.”
A gravestone at Beckenham, Kent, bears testimony to long and faithful service:—
who departed this Life 29th of
December 1774 aged 75 years.
He was 61 years Servant
Mr. Francis Valentine,
Valentine, and Paul
from Father to Son,
Quitting their Service,
his Duty, or being
From the same graveyard the next inscription is copied:—
Sacred to the Memory of
of this Parish,
who died December the
Aged 77 years.
[Pg 43]Sixty years of his life were passed under the Burrell Family, three successive Generations of which he served with such Intelligence and fidelity, as to obtain from each the sincerest respect and Friendship, leaving behind him at his Death the Character of a truly Honest and good Man.
The poet Pope caused to be placed on the outside of Twickenham Church a tablet bearing the following inscription:—
To the Memory of
Who died Nov. 5th 1725,
whom she nursed in his infancy
and constantly attended for
38 years, in gratitude
to a faithful old
erected this Stone.
When George III. was king, Jenny Gaskoin taught a Dames’ School at Great Limber, a rural Lincolnshire village. From the stories respecting her which have come down to us it would appear that her qualifications for the position of teacher were somewhat limited. It is related that in the children’s reading lessons words often occurred which the good lady was unable to pronounce or explain. She was too politic, [Pg 44]however, to confess her ignorance on such occasions, and had resource to the artful evasion of saying, “Never mind it, bairns; it is a bad word; skip it.”
Dame Gaskoin had a son who obtained the situation of a “helper” in the royal stables. For a slight offence the youth was whipped by the Prince of Wales, when in a momentary fit of anger. It would appear that the Prince regretted his conduct, for he promoted the boy to give him redress for the dressing he had bestowed. Young Gaskoin had the good fortune to be able to introduce his sister Mary into the service of the princesses. By exemplary conduct she obtained the esteem of the royal family. The maiden on one occasion ventured to observe that the rye-bread of Lincolnshire, such as her mother made, was far superior to that which was used at court. This caused the request to be made, or rather a command given, that some of the aforesaid bread should be forwarded as a specimen. The order was complied with, and gave complete satisfaction. The good schoolmistress was afterwards desired to send periodically up to town bread for the royal table.
During a visit to the metropolis to see her daughter the old lady had the honour of an[Pg 45] interview with the princesses. She wore a mob cap of simple form, which took the fancy of the royal ladies to such a degree that it was introduced at court under the name of “Gaskoin Mob-Cap.”
We have little to add, save that the daughter remained in the royal service, attending especially upon the person of the Princess Amelia, and the labour and anxiety she underwent in ministering to the princess in her last illness, combined with sorrow for her death, caused her to follow her royal mistress to the grave after a short interval. In the cloisters of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, is a memorial creditable to the monarch who erected it, and the humble handmaid whom it commemorates:—
King George 3d
caused to be interred
near this place the body of
Servant to the late Pss Amelia
And this tablet to be erected
In testimony of
His grateful sense of
the faithful services
And attachment of
An amiable young woman
to his beloved Daughter
Whom she survived
[Pg 46]Only three Months
She died the 19th of February 1811
Aged 31 years.
Over the remains of freed slaves we have read several interesting inscriptions. A running footman was buried in the churchyard of Henbury, near Bristol. The poor fellow, a negro, as the tradition says, died of consumption incurred as a consequence of running from London!
Lieth the Body of
Negro Servant to ye Right
Honourable Charles William
Earl of Suffolk and Brandon
who died ye 21 December
1720, aged 18 years.”
On the footstone are these lines:—
|“I, who was born a Pagan and a Slave,|
Now sweetly sleep, a Christian in my grave.
What though my hue was dark, my Saviour’s sight
Shall change this darkness into radiant light.
Such grace to me my Lord on earth has given
To recommend me to my Lord in Heaven,
Whose glorious second coming here I wait
With saints and angels him to celebrate.”
Our next is from Hillingdon, near Uxbridge:—
An African Born.
He was early in life rescued from West Indian Slavery by [Pg 47]a Gentleman of this Parish which he ever gratefully remembered and whom he continued to serve as a Footman honestly and faithfully to the end of his Life. He died the 2d of May 1784 Aged about 45 years.
Many visitors to Morecambe pay a pilgrimage to Sambo’s grave. A correspondent kindly furnishes us with the following particulars of poor Sambo, who is buried far from his native land. Sunderland Point, he says, a village on the coast near Lancaster, was, before the advent of Liverpool, the port for Lancaster, and is credited with having received the first cargo of West India cotton which reached this country. Some rather large warehouses were built there about a century ago, now adapted to fishermen’s cottages for the few fisher folk who still linger about the little port. Near the ferry landing on the Morecambe side there is a strange looking tree, which tradition says was raised from a seed brought from the West Indies, and the natives call it the cotton tree, because every year it strews the ground with its white blossoms. Close to the shore, with only a low stone wall dividing it from the restless sea, is a solitary grave in the corner of a field, which is called “Sambo’s grave.” Poor Sambo came over to this country with a cotton cargo, fell ill at Sunderland Point, and died; and[Pg 48] there being no churchyard near, he was laid in mother earth in an adjoining field. The house is still pointed out in which the negro died, and some sixty years afterwards it occurred to Mr. James Watson that the fact of this dark-skinned brother dying so far from home among strangers was sufficiently pathetic to warrant a memorial. Accordingly he caused the following to be inscribed on a large stone laid flat on the grave, which indicates that he was a slave of probably an English master about a century before the days of negro emancipation in the colonies:—
A faithful negro, who
(Attending his master from the West Indies),
Died on his arrival at Sunderland.
|For sixty years the angry winter’s wave|
Has, thundering, dashed this bleak and barren shore,
Since Sambo’s head laid in this lonely grave,
Lies still, and ne’er will hear their turmoil more.
Full many a sand-bird chirps upon the sod,
And many a moonlight elfin round him trips,
Full many a summer sunbeam warms the clod,
And many a teeming cloud upon him drips.
But still he sleeps, till the awakening sounds
Of the archangel’s trump new life impart;
Then the Great Judge, His approbation founds
Not on man’s colour, but his worth of heart.
H. Bell, del. (1796.)
We give a few of the many curious epitaphs placed to the memory of soldiers and sea-faring men. Our initial epitaph is taken from Longnor churchyard, Staffordshire, and it tells the story of an extended and eventful life:—
In memory of William Billinge, who was Born in a Corn Field at Fawfield head, in this Parish, in the year 1679. At the age of 23 years he enlisted into His Majesty’s service under Sir George Rooke, and was at the taking of the Fortress of Gibralter in 1704. He afterwards served under the Duke of Marlborough at Ramillies, fought on the 23rd of May, 1706, where he was wounded by a musket-shot in his thigh. Afterwards returned to his native country, and with manly courage defended his sovereign’s rights in the Rebellion in 1715 and 1745. He died within the space of 150 yards of where he was born, and was interred here the 30th January, 1791, aged 112 years.
Billeted by death, I quartered here remain,
And when the trumpet sounds I’ll rise and march again.
On a Chelsea Hospital veteran we have the following interesting epitaph:—
Here lies William Hiseland,
A Veteran, if ever Soldier was,
[Pg 50]Who merited well a Pension,
If long service be a merit,
Having served upwards of the days of Man.
Ancient, but not superannuated;
Engaged in a Series of Wars,
Civil as well as Foreign,
Yet maimed or worn out by neither.
His complexion was Fresh and Florid;
His Health Hale and Hearty;
His memory Exact and Ready.
He exceeded the Military Size;
He surpassed the Prime of Youth;
What rendered his age still more Patriarchal,
When above a Hundred Years old
He took unto him a Wife!
Read! fellow Soldiers, and reflect
That there is a Spiritual Warfare,
As well as a Warfare Temporal.
Born the 1st August, 1620,
Died the 17th of February, 1732,
Aged One Hundred and Twelve.
At Bremhill, Wiltshire, the following lines are placed to the memory of a soldier who reached the advanced age of 92 years:—
|A poor old soldier shall not lie unknown,|
Without a verse and this recording stone.
’Twas his, in youth, o’er distant lands to stray,
Danger and death companions of his way.
Here, in his native village, stealing age
[Pg 51]Closed the lone evening of his pilgrimage.
Speak of the past—of names of high renown,
Or brave commanders long to dust gone down,
His look with instant animation glow’d,
Tho’ ninety winters on his head had snow’d.
His country, while he lived, a boon supplied,
And Faith her shield held o’er him when he died.
The following inscription is engraved on a piece of copper affixed to one of the pillars in Winchester Cathedral:—
|For the renowned Martialist Richard Boles of ye|
Right Worshypful family of the Boles, in
Linckhorne Sheire: Colonell of a Ridgment of Foot
of 1300, who for his Gratious King Charles ye First
did wounders at the Battell of Edge Hill; his last
Action, to omit all others was att Alton in the
County of Southampton, was surprised by five or
Six Thousand of the Rebells, who caught him there
Quartered to fly to the church, with near fourscore
of his men who there fought them six or seven
Houers, and then the Rebells breaking in upon them
he slew with his sword six or seven of them, and
then was slayne himself, with sixty of his men aboute
|His Gratious Sovereign hearing of his death, gave|
him his high comendation in ys pationate expression,
Bring me a moorning scarffe, i have lost
One of the best Commanders in this Kingdome.
Alton will tell you of his famous fight
Which ys man made and bade the world good night
[Pg 52]His verteous life feared not Mortality
His body must his vertues cannot Die.
Because his Bloud was there so nobly spent,
This is his Tomb, that church his monument.
|Ricardus Boles in Art. Mag.|
Composuit, Posuitque, Dolens,
An. Dm. 1689.
On one of the buttresses on the south side of St. Mary’s Church, at Beverley, is an oval tablet, to commemorate the fate of two Danish soldiers, who, during their voyage to Hull, to join the service of the Prince of Orange, in 1689, quarrelled, and having been marched with the troops to Beverley, during their short stay there sought a private meeting to settle their differences by the sword. Their melancholy end is recorded in a doggerel epitaph, of which we give an illustration.
In the parish registers the following entries occur:—
|1689,||December 16.—||Daniel Straker, a Danish trooper buried.|
|"||December 23.—||Johannes Frederick Bellow, a Danish|
trooper, beheaded for killing the other,
“The mode of execution was,” writes the Rev. Jno. Pickford, M.A., “it may be presumed, by a broad two-handed sword, such a one as Sir Walter Scott has particularly described in[Pg 53] ‘Anne of Geierstein,’ as used at the decapitation of Sir Archibald de Hagenbach, and which the executioner is described as wielding with such address and skill. The Danish culprit was, like the oppressive knight, probably bound and seated in a chair; but such swords as those depicted on the tablet could not well have been used for the purpose, for they are long, narrow in the blade, and perfectly straight.”
We have in the diary of Abraham de la Pryme, the Yorkshire antiquary, some very interesting[Pg 54] particulars respecting the Danes. Writing in 1689, the diarist tells us: “Towards the latter end of the aforegoing year, there landed at Hull about six or seven thousand Danes, all stout fine men, the best equip’d and disciplin’d of any that was ever seen. They were mighty godly and religious. You would seldom or never hear an oath or ugly word come out of their mouths. They had a great many ministers amongst them, whome they call’d pastours, and every Sunday almost, ith’ afternoon, they prayed and preach’d as soon as our prayers was done. They sung almost all their divine service, and every ministre had those that made up a quire whom the rest follow’d. Then there was a sermon of about half-an-houre’s length, all memoratim, and then the congregation broke up. When they administered the sacrament, the ministre goes into the church and caused notice to be given thereof, then all come before, and he examined them one by one whether they were worthy to receive or no. If they were he admitted them, if they were not he writ their names down in a book, and bid them prepare against the next Sunday. Instead of bread in the sacrament, I observed that they used wafers about the bigness and thickness of a sixpence. They held it no sin[Pg 55] to play at cards upon Sundays, and commonly did everywhere where they were suffered; for indeed in many places the people would not abide the same, but took the cards from them. Tho’ they loved strong drink, yet all the while I was amongst them, which was all this winter, I never saw above five or six of them drunk.”
The diarist tells us that the strangers liked this country. It appears they worked for the farmers, and sold tumblers, cups, spoons, etc., which they had imported, to the English. They acted in the courthouse a play in their own language, and realised a good sum of money by their performances. The design of the piece was “Herod’s Tyranny—The Birth of Christ—The Coming of the Wise Men.”
A correspondent states that in Battersea Church there is a handsome monument to Sir Edward Wynter, a captain in the East India Company’s service in the reign of Charles II., which records that in India, where he had passed many years of his life, he was
|A rare example, and unknown to most,|
Where wealth is gain’d, and conscience is not lost;
Nor less in martial honour was his name,
Witness his actions of immortal fame.
[Pg 56]Alone, unharm’d, a tiger he opprest,
And crush’d to death the monster of a beast.
Thrice twenty mounted Moors he overthrew,
Singly, on foot, some wounded, some he slew,
Dispersed the rest,—what more could Samson do?
True to his friends, a terror to his foes,
Here now in peace his honour’d bones repose.
Below, in bas-relief, he is represented struggling with the tiger, both the combatants appearing in the attitude of wrestlers. He is also depicted in the performance of the yet more wonderful achievement, the discomfiture of the “thrice twenty mounted Moors,” who are all flying before him.
In Yarmouth churchyard, a monumental inscription tells a painful story as follows:—
To the memory of George Griffiths, of the Shropshire Militia, who died Feb. 26th, 1807, in consequence of a blow received in a quarrel with his comrade.
|Time flies away as nature on its wing,|
I in a battle died (not for my King).
Words with my brother soldier did take place,
Which shameful is, and always brings disgrace.
Think not the worse of him who doth remain,
For he as well as I might have been slain.
We have also from Yarmouth the next example:—
To the memory of Isaac Smith, who died March 24th, 1808, and Samuel Bodger, who died April 2nd, 1808, both of the Cambridgeshire Militia.
|The tyrant Death did early us arrest,|
And all the magazines of life possest:
No more the blood its circling course did run,
But in the veins like icicles it hung;
No more the hearts, now void of quickening heat,
The tuneful march of vital motion beat;
Stiffness did into every sinew climb,
And a short death crept cold through every limb.
The next example is from Bury St. Edmunds:—
Late Serjeant-Major of the Grenadier Guards,
Died Nov. 13, 1834, aged 53 years.
|A husband, father, comrade, friend sincere,|
A British soldier brave lies buried here.
In Spain and Flushing, and at Waterloo,
He fought to guard our country from the foe;
His comrades, Britons, who survive him, say
He acted nobly on that glorious day.
Edward Parr died in 1811, at the age of 38 years, and was buried in North Scarle churchyard. His epitaph states:—
|A soldier once I was, as you may see,|
My King and Country claim no more from me.
In battle I receiv’d a dreadful ball
Severe the blow, and yet I did not fall.
When God commands, we all must die it’s true
Farewell, dear Wife, Relations all, adieu.
A tablet in Chester Cathedral reads as follows:—
|To the Memory of|
[Pg 58]John Moore Napier
Captain in Her Majesty’s 62nd Regiment
Who died of Asiatic Cholera
on the 7th of July, 1846
Aged 29 years.
|The tomb is no record of high lineage;|
His may be traced by his name;
His race was one of soldiers.
Among soldiers he lived; among them he died;
A soldier falling, where numbers fell with him,
In a barbarous land.
Yet there was none died more generous,
More daring, more gifted, or more religious.
On his early grave
Fell the tears of stern and hardy men,
As his had fallen on the graves of others.
A British soldier lies buried under the shadow of the fine old Minster of Beverley. He died in 1855, and his epitaph states:—
|A soldier lieth beneath the sod,|
Who many a field of battle trod:
When glory call’d, his breast he bar’d,
And toil and want, and danger shar’d.
Like him through all thy duties go;
Waste not thy strength in useless woe,
Heave thou no sigh and shed no tear,
A British soldier slumbers here.
[Pg 61]The stirring lives of many female soldiers have furnished facts for several important historical works, and rich materials for the writers of romance. We give an illustration of the stone erected by public subscription in Brighton churchyard over the remains of a notable female warrior, named Phœbe Hessel. The inscription tells the story of her long and eventful career. The closing years of her life were cheered by the liberality of George IV. During a visit to Brighton, when he was Prince Regent, he met old Phœbe, and was greatly interested in her history. He ascertained that she was supported by a few benevolent townsmen, and the kind-hearted Prince questioned her respecting the amount that would be required to enable her to pass the remainder of her days in comfort. “Half-a-guinea a week,” said Phœbe Hessel, “will make me as happy as a princess.” That amount by order of her royal benefactor was paid to her until the day of her death. She told capital stories, had an excellent memory, and was in every respect most agreeable company. Her faculties remained unimpaired to within a few hours of her death. On September 22nd, 1821, she was visited by a person of some literary taste, and the following particulars were obtained respecting her life. The writer states:—“I have seen to-day an extraordinary character in the person of Phœbe Hessel, a poor woman stated to[Pg 62] be 108 years of age. It appears that she was born in March, 1715, and at fifteen formed a strong attachment to Samuel Golding, a private in the regiment called Kirk’s Lambs, which was ordered to the West Indies. She determined to follow her lover, enlisted into the 5th regiment of foot, commanded by General Pearce, and embarked after him. She served there five years without discovering herself to anyone. At length they were ordered to Gibraltar. She was likewise at Montserrat, and would have been in action, but her regiment did not reach the place till the battle was decided. Her lover was wounded at Gibraltar and sent to Plymouth; she then waited on the General’s lady at Gibraltar, disclosed her sex, told her story, and was immediately sent home. On her arrival, Phœbe went to Samuel Golding in the hospital, nursed him there, and when he came out, married and lived with him for twenty years; he had a pension from Chelsea. After Golding’s death, she married Hessel, has had many children, and has been many years a widow. Her eldest son was a sailor with Admiral Norris; he afterwards went to the East Indies, and, if he is now alive, must be nearly seventy years of age. The rest of the family are dead. At an advanced[Pg 63] age she earned a scanty livelihood at Brighton by selling apples and gingerbread on the Marine Parade.
“I saw this woman to-day in her bed, to which she is confined from having lost the use of her limbs. She has even now, old and withered as she is, a characteristic countenance, and, I should judge from her present appearance, must have had a fine, though perhaps a masculine style of head when young. I have seen many a woman at the age of sixty or seventy look older than she does under the load of 108 years of human life. Her cheeks are round and seem firm, though ploughed with many a small wrinkle. Her eyes, though their sight is gone, are large and well formed. As soon as it was announced that somebody had come to see her, she broke the silence of her solitary thoughts and spoke. She began in a complaining tone, as if the remains of a strong and restless spirit were impatient of the prison of a decaying and weak body. ‘Other people die, and I cannot,’ she said. Upon exciting her recollection of former days, her energy seemed roused, and she spoke with emphasis. Her voice was strong for an old person; and I could easily believe her when, upon being asked if her sex was[Pg 64] not in danger of being detected by her voice, she replied that she always had a strong and manly voice. She appeared to take a pride in having kept her secret, declaring that she told it to no man, woman, or child, during the time she was in the army; ‘for you know, Sir, a drunken man and a child always tell the truth. But,’ said she, ‘I told my secret to the ground. I dug a hole that would hold a gallon, and whispered it there.’ While I was with her, the flies annoyed her extremely; she drove them away with a fan, and said they seemed to smell her out as one that was going to the grave. She showed me a wound she had received in her elbow by a bayonet. She lamented the error of her former ways, but excused it by saying, ‘When you are at Rome, you must do as Rome does.’ When she could not distinctly hear what was said, she raised herself in the bed and thrust her head forward with impatient energy. She said when the king saw her, he called her ‘a jolly old fellow.’ Though blind, she could discern a glimmering light, and I was told would frequently state the time of day by the effect of light.”
The next is copied from a time-worn stone in Weem churchyard, near Aberfeldy, Perthshire:—
[Pg 65]In memory of Captain James Carmichael, of Bockland’s Regiment.—Died 25th Nov. 1758:
|Where now, O Son of Mars, is Honour’s aim?|
What once thou wast or wished, no more’s thy claim.
Thy tomb, Carmichael, tells thy Honour’s Roll,
And man is born, as thee, to be forgot.
But virtue lives to glaze thy honours o’er,
And Heaven will smile when brittle stone’s no more.
The following is inscribed on a gravestone in Fort William Cemetery:—
To the Memory of
Captain Patrick Campbell,
Late of the 42nd Regiment,
Who died on the xiii of December,
Aged eighty-three years,
A True Highlander,
A Sincere Friend,
And the best deerstalker
Of his day.
A gravestone in Barwick-in-Elmet, Yorkshire, states:—
|Here lies, retired from busy scenes,|
A first lieutenant of Marines,
Who lately lived in gay content
On board the brave ship “Diligent.”
Now stripp’d of all his warlike show,
And laid in box of elm below,
Confined in earth in narrow borders,
He rises not till further orders.
[Pg 66]The next is from Dartmouth churchyard:—
Thomas Goldsmith, who died 1714.
He commanded the “Snap Dragon,” as Privateer belonging to this port, in the reign of Queen Anne, in which vessel he turned pirate, and amass’d much riches.
|Men that are virtuous serve the Lord;|
And the Devil’s by his friends ador’d;
And as they merit get a place
Amidst the bless’d or hellish race;
Pray then, ye learned clergy show
Where can this brute, Tom Goldsmith, go?
Whose life was one continued evil,
Striving to cheat God, Man, and Devil.
We find the following at Woodbridge on Joseph Spalding, master mariner, who departed this life Sept. 2nd, 1796, aged 55:—
|Embark’d in life’s tempestuous sea, we steer|
’Midst threatening billows, rocks and shoals;
But Christ by faith, dispels each wavering fear,
And safe secures the anchor of our souls.
In Selby churchyard, the following is on John Edmonds, master mariner, who died 5th Aug., 1767:—
|Tho’ Boreas, with his blustering blasts|
Has tost me to and fro,
Yet by the handiwork of God,
I’m here enclosed below.
And in this silent bay I lie
[Pg 67]With many of our fleet,
Until the day that I set sail
My Saviour Christ to meet.
Another, on the south side of Selby churchyard:—
|The boisterous main I’ve travers’d o’er,|
New seas and lands explored,
But now at last, I’m anchor’d fast,
In peace and silence moor’d.
In the churchyard, Selby, near the north porch, in memory of William Whittaker, mariner, who died 22nd Oct., 1797, we read—
|Oft time in danger have I been|
Upon the raging main,
But here in harbour safe at rest
Free from all human pain.
Southill Church, Bedfordshire, contains a plain monument to the memory of Admiral Byng, who was shot at Portsmouth:—
To the perpetual disgrace of public justice,
The Honourable John Byng, Vice-Admiral of the Blue,
fell a martyr to political persecution, March 14,
in the year 1757;
when bravery and loyalty were insufficient securities for
the life and honour of a naval officer.
The following epitaph, inscribed on a stone in Putney churchyard, is nearly obliterated:—
|Lieut. Alex. Davidson|
[Pg 68]Royal Navy has Caus’d this Stone
to be Erected to the Memory of
Harriot his dearly beloved Wife
who departed this Life Jan 24 1808
Aged 38 Years.
|I have crossed this Earth’s Equator Just sixteen times|
And in my Country’s cause have brav’d far distant climes
In Howe’s Trafalgar and several Victories more
Firm and unmov’d I heard the Fatal Cannons roar
Trampling in human blood I felt not any fear
Nor for my Slaughter’d gallant Messmates shed A tear
But of A dear Wife by Death unhappily beguil’d
Even the British Sailor must become A child
Yet when from this Earth God shall my soul unfetter
I hope we’ll meet in Another World and a better.
Some time ago a correspondent of the Spectator stated: “As you are not one to despise ‘unconsidered trifles’ when they have merit, perhaps you will find room for the following epitaph, on a Deal boatman, which I copied the other day from a tombstone in a churchyard in that town:—
In memory of George Phillpot,
Who died March 22nd, 1850, aged 74 years.
|Full many a life he saved|
With his undaunted crew;
He put his trust in Providence,
And cared not how it blew.
A hero; his heroic life and deeds, and the philosophy of religion, perfect both in theory and practice, which inspired them, all described in[Pg 69] four lines of graphic and spirited verse! Would not ‘rare Ben’ himself have acknowledged this a good specimen of ‘what verse can say in a little?’ Whoever wrote it was a poet ‘with the name.’
“There is another in the same churchyard which, though weak after the above, and indeed not uncommon, I fancy, in seaside towns, is at least sufficiently quaint:—
Memory of James Epps Buttress, who, in rendering assistance to the French Schooner, “Vesuvienne,” was drowned, December 27th, 1852, aged 39.
Though Boreas’ blast and Neptune’s wave
Did toss me to and fro,
In spite of both, by God’s decree,
I harbour here below;
And here I do at anchor ride
With many of our fleet,
Yet once again I must set sail,
Our Admiral, Christ, to meet.
Also two sons, who died in infancy, &c.
The ‘human race’ typified by ‘our fleet,’ excites vague reminiscences of Goethe and Carlyle, and ‘our Admiral Christ’ seems not remotely associated in sentiment with the ‘We fight that fight for our fair father Christ,’ and ‘The King will follow Christ and we the King,’ of our grand poet. So do the highest and the lowest meet. But the heartiness, the vitality, nay, almost vivacity, of[Pg 70] some of these underground tenantry is surprising. There is more life in some of our dead folk than in many a living crowd.”
The following five epitaphs are from Hessle Road Cemetery, Hull:—
Who was lost at sea,
In the fishing smack Martha,
In the gale of January, 1865.
Aged 30 years.
|When through the torn sail the wild tempest is streaming;|
When o’er the dark wave the red lightning is gleaming,
No hope lends a ray the poor fisher to cherish.
Oh hear, kind Jesus; save, Lord, or we perish!
|In affectionate remembrance of|
Humber Pilot, who was drowned off
The Lincolnshire Coast,
During the gale, October 19th, 1869.
Aged 24 years.
|How swift the torrent rolls|
That hastens to the sea;
How strong the tide that bears our souls
On to Eternity.
|In affectionate remembrance of|
Who was drowned in the “Spirit of the Age,”
Off Scarborough, Jan. 6th, 1864.
Aged 36 years.
|I cannot bend over his grave,|
He sleeps in the secret sea;
And not one gentle whisp’red wave
Can tell that place to me.
Although unseen by human eyes,
And mortal know’d it not;
Yet Christ knows where his body lies,
And angels guard the spot.
|Robert Pickering, who was|
Drowned from the smack “Satisfaction,”
On the Dutch coast, May 7, 1869.
Aged 18 years.
|The waters flowed on every side,|
No chance was there to save;
At last compelled, he bowed and died,
And found a watery grave.
|In affectionate remembrance of|
53 years Mariner of Hull,
Who died October 5th, 1864.
Aged 70 years.
|Long time I ploughed the ocean wide,|
A life of toil I spent;
But now in harbour safe arrived
From care and discontent.
My anchor’s cast, my sails are furled,
And now I am at rest.
Of all the parts throughout the world,
Sailors, this is the best.
Our next example is from a stone in Castle Street burial-ground, Hull, which is so fast[Pg 72] decaying that already some parts of the inscription are obliterated:—
to the memory
. . . . . r of the Sloop Janatt,
. . . . . . . who was unfortunately
drowned off Flamborough Head,
17th April, 1823.
Aged 41 years.
This stone was Erected by
his Countrymen in
remembrance of his Death.
|I have left the troubled ocean,|
And now laid down to sleep,
In hopes I shall set sail
Our Saviour Christ to meet.
A gravestone in Horncastle churchyard, Lincolnshire, has this epitaph:—
|My helm was gone,|
My sails were rent,
My mast went by the board,
My hull it struck upon a rock,
Receive my soul, O Lord!
On a sailor’s gravestone in the burial-ground at Hamilton, we are told:—
|The seas he ploughed for twenty years,|
Without the smallest dread or fears:
And all that time was never known
To strike upon a bank or stone.
A few epitaphs relating to music and the drama now claim our attention. Our first example is to be found in the cathedral at Norwich:—
|Here William Inglott, organist, doth rest,|
Whose art in musick this Cathedral blest;
For descant most, for voluntary all,
He past on organ, song, and virginall.
He left this life at age of sixty-seven,
And now ’mongst angels all sings St. in Heaven;
His fame flies far, his name shall never die,
See, art and age here crown his memorie.
Non digitis, Inglotte, tuis terrestria tangis,
Tangis nunc digitis organa celsa poli.
|Anno Dom. 1621.|
|Buried the last day This erected the 15th|
of December, 1621. day of June, 1622.
In Wakefield Parish Church a tablet bears an inscription as follows:—
|In memory of|
upwards of fifty years organist
of this church, who died
May 7, 1821, aged 68 years.
|Now, like an organ, robb’d of pipes and breath,|
[Pg 74]Its keys and stops are useless made by death,
Tho’ mute and motionless in ruins laid;
Yet when re-built, by more than mortal aid,
This instrument, new voiced, and tuned, shall raise,
To God, its builder, hymns of endless praise.
We copy the following from a monument in Holy Trinity Church, Hull:—
|In memory of|
late Organist of this Church,
which office he held upwards of 40 years,
performing its duties with ability
and assiduity rarely exceeded,
affording delight to the lovers
of Sacred Harmony,
This Tablet is erected
by his Musical and private Friends,
aided by the brothers of the Humber
and Minerva Lodges of Free Masons of this Town
(being a member of the latter Lodge),
That they might place on record
the high sense they entertained
of his personal and professional merit.
He died Feb. 19th, 1838, aged 70 years,
And his Remains were interred at the
Parish Church of St. John in Beverley.
|Tho’ like an Organ now in ruins laid,|
Its stops disorder’d, and its frame decay’d,
This instrument ere long new tun’d shall raise
To God, its Builder, notes of endless praise.
From a churchyard in Wales we obtain the following curious epitaph on an organ blower:[Pg 75]—
|Under this stone lies Meredith Morgan,|
Who blew the bellows of our church organ.
Tobacco he hated, to smoke most unwilling,
Yet never so pleased as when pipes he was filling.
No reflection on him for rude speech could be cast,
Though he gave our old organ many a blast!
No puffer was he, though a capital blower;
He could blow double G., and now lies a note lower.
Our next epitaph records the death of a fiddler, who appears to have been so much attached to his wife that upon the day of her death he, too, yielded to the grim tyrant. Of this pair, buried in Flixton churchyard, it may be truly said: “In life united, and in death not parted.” The inscription is as follows:—
To the Memory of John Booth, of Flixton, who died 16th March, 1778, aged 43 years; on the same day and within a few hours of the death of his wife Hannah, who was buried with him in the same grave, leaving seven children behind them.
|Reader, have patience, for a Moment Stay,|
Nor grudge the Tribute of a friendly tear,
For John, who once made all our Village gay,
Has taken up his Clay-cold Lodging here.
Suspended now his fiddle lies asleep,
That once with Musick us’d to charm the Ear.
Not for his Hannah long reserv’d to weep,
John yields to Fate with his companion dear.
So tenderly he loved his dearer part,
His Fondness could not bear a stay behind;
[Pg 76]And Death through Kindness seem’d to throw the dart
To ease his sorrow, as he knew his mind.
In cheerful Labours all their Time they spent,
Their happy Lives in Length of Days acquir’d;
But Hand in Hand to Nature’s God they went,
And just lay down to sleep when they were tir’d.
The Relicks of this faithful, honest Pair
One little Space of Mother Earth contains.
Let Earth protect them with a Mother’s Care,
And Constant Verdure grace her for her pains.
The Pledges of their tender love remain,
For seven fine children bless’d their nuptial State.
Behold them, neighbours! nor behold in vain,
But heal their Sorrows and their lost Estate.
In the Old Cemetery, Newport, Monmouthshire, on a Scotch piper, the following appears:—
To the memory of Mr. John Macbeth late piper to His Grace the Duke of Sutherland, and a native of the Highlands of Scotland:
Died April 24th, 1852, Aged 46 years.
|Far from his native land, beneath this stone,|
Lies John Macbeth, in prime of manhood gone;
A kinder husband never yet did breathe,
A firmer friend ne’er trod on Albyn’s heath;
His selfish aims were all in heart and hand,
To be an honour to his native land,
As real Scotchmen wish to fall or stand.
A handsome Gael he was, of splendid form,
Fit for a siege, or for the Northern Storm.
Sir Walter Scott remarked at Inverness,
“How well becomes Macbeth the Highland dress!”
[Pg 77]His mind was stored with ancient Highland lore;
Knew Ossian’s songs, and many bards of yore;
But music was his chief, and soul’s delight.
And oft he played, with Amphion’s skill and might,
His Highland pipe, before our Gracious Queen!
’Mong Ladies gay, and Princesses serene!
His magic chanter’s strains pour’d o’er their hearts,
With thrilling rapture soft as Cupid’s darts!
Like Shakespeare’s witches, scarce they drew the breath,
But wished, like them, to say, “All hail, Macbeth!”
The Queen, well pleased, gave him by high command,
A splendid present from her Royal hand;
But nothing aye could make him vain or proud,
He felt alike at Court or in a crowd;
With high and low his nature was to please,
Frank with the Peasant, with the Prince at ease.
Beloved by thousands till his race was run,
Macbeth had ne’er a foe beneath the sun;
And now he plays among the Heavenly bands,
A diamond chanter never made with hands.
In the church at Ashover, Derbyshire, a tablet contains this inscription:—
To the Memory of
whose superior performance on the
bassoon endeared him to an
extensive musical acquaintance.
His social life closed on the
4th Dec., 1796, in his 57th year.
The next is copied from a gravestone in Stoney Middleton churchyard:—
[Pg 78]In memory of George, the son of George and Margaret Swift, of Stoney Middleton, who departed this life August the 21st, 1759, in the 20th year of his age.
We the Quoir of Singers of this Church have erected this stone.
|He’s gone from us, in more seraphick lays|
In Heaven to chant the Great Jehovah’s praise;
Again to join him in those courts above,
Let’s here exalt God’s name with mutual love.
The following was written in memory of Madame Malibran, who died September 23rd, 1836:—
|“The beautiful is vanished, and returns not.”|
|’Twas but as yesterday, a mighty throng,|
Whose hearts, as one man’s heart, thy power could bow,
Amid loud shoutings hailed thee queen of song,
And twined sweet summer flowers around thy brow;
And those loud shouts have scarcely died away,
And those young flowers but half forgot thy bloom,
When thy fair crown is changed for one of clay—
Thy boundless empire for a narrow tomb!
Sweet minstrel of the heart, we list in vain
For music now; THY melody is o’er;
Fidelio hath ceased o’er hearts to reign,
Somnambula hath slept to wake no more!
Farewell! thy sun of life too soon hath set,
But memory shall reflect its brightness yet.
Garrick’s epitaph, in Westminster Abbey, reads:—
|To paint fair Nature by divine command,|
[Pg 79]Her magic pencil in his glowing hand,
A Shakespeare rose; then, to expand his fame
Wide o’er the breathing world, a Garrick came:
Tho’ sunk in death, the forms the poet drew
The actor’s genius bade them breathe anew;
Tho’, like the bard himself, in night they lay,
Immortal Garrick call’d them back to day;
And till eternity, with power sublime,
Shall mark the mortal hour of hoary time,
Shakespeare and Garrick, like twin stars shall shine,
And earth irradiate with beams divine.
A monument placed in Westminster to the memory of Mrs. Pritchard states:—
This Tablet is here placed by a voluntary subscription of those who admired and esteemed her. She retired from the stage, of which she had long been the ornament, in the month of April, 1768; and died at Bath in the month of August following, in the 57th year of her age.
|Her comic vein had every charm to please,|
’Twas nature’s dictates breath’d with nature’s ease;
Ev’n when her powers sustain’d the tragic load,
Full, clear, and just, the harmonious accents flow’d,
And the big passions of her feeling heart
Burst freely forth, and show’d the mimic art.
Oft, on the scene, with colours not her own,
She painted vice, and taught us what to shun;
One virtuous track her real life pursu’d,
That nobler part was uniformly good;
Each duty there to such perfection wrought,
That, if the precepts fail’d, the example taught.
On a comedian named John Hippisley, interred in the churchyard of Clifton, Gloucestershire, we have the following:—
|When the Stage heard that death had struck her John,|
Gay Comedy her Sables first put on;
Laughter lamented that her Fav’rite died,
And Mirth herself, (’tis strange) laid down and cry’d.
Wit droop’d his head, e’en Humour seem’d to mourn,
And solemnly sat pensive o’er his urn.
Garrick’s epitaph to the memory of James Quin, at Bath, is very fine:—
|That tongue, which set the table in a roar,|
And charm’d the public ear, is heard no more;
Closed are those eyes, the harbingers of wit,
Which spoke, before the tongue, what Shakespeare writ;
Cold are those hands, which, living, were stretch’d forth,
At friendship’s call, to succour modest worth.
Here is James Quin! Deign, reader, to be taught,
Whate’er thy strength of body, force of thought,
In Nature’s happiest mould however cast,
“To this complexion thou must come at last.”
Several actors are buried in the churchyard of St. Peter of Mancroft, Norwich. On Henrietta Maria Bray, who died in 1737, aged sixty years, is the following epitaph:—
|Here, Reader, you may plainly see,|
That Wit nor Humour here could be
A Proof against Mortality.
Anne Roberts died in 1743, aged thirty, and on her gravestone is a couplet as follows:—
|The World’s a Stage, at Birth our Plays begun,|
And all find Exits when their Parts are done.
[Pg 81]The Norwich actors, says Mr. James Hooper, were celebrated in their day, and their services were in great request. They used to play annually at the great Stourbridge Fair, at Cambridge, so vividly described by De Foe in his “Tour through the whole Island of Great Britain” (1722). The University Dons mustered in force to see the Norwich mummers, and part of the pit, known as “The Critics’ Row,” was reserved for Dr. Farmer of Emanuel, and his friends, George Stevens, Malone, and others, who never thought it infra dig. to applaud rapturously—a circumstance which shows Puritan Emanuel in a new light.
In St. Mary’s Church, Beverley, a tablet is placed in remembrance of a notable Yorkshire actor:—
In Memory of
A poor player that struts and
frets his hour upon the stage, and
then is heard no more.
Obt. June 15th, 1812.
Butler’s gifted son, Samuel William, was buried in Ardwick Cemetery, Manchester. A gravestone[Pg 82] placed to his memory bears the following eloquent inscription by Charles Swain:—
|Here rest the|
mortal remains of
Samuel William Butler,
In him the stage lost a highly-gifted and accomplished actor,
one by whose tongue the noblest creations
of the poet found truthful utterance.
After long and severe suffering he departed
this life the 17th day of July, in the year of
our Lord 1845. Aged 41 years.
|Whence this ambition, whence this proud desire,|
This love of fame, this longing to aspire?
To gather laurels in their greenest bloom,
To honour life and sanctify the tomb?
’Tis the Divinity that never dies,
Which prompts the soul of genius still to rise.
Though fades the Laurel, leaf by leaf away,
The soul hath prescience of a fadeless day;
And God’s eternal promise, like a star,
From faded hopes still points to hopes afar;
Where weary hearts for consolation trust,
And bliss immortal quickens from the dust.
On this great hope, the painter, actor, bard,
And all who ever strove for Fame’s reward,
Must rest at last: and all that earth have trod
Still need the grace of a forgiving God!
An interesting sketch of the life of Butler, from the pen of John Evans, is given in the[Pg 83] “Papers of the Manchester Literary Club,” vol. iii., published 1877.
In the Necropolis, Glasgow, is a monument representing the stage and proscenium of a theatre, placed to the memory of John Henry Alexander, of the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. He was a native of Dunse, Berwickshire, and was born July 31st, 1796. At an early age, says Dr. Rogers, his parents removed to Glasgow, where, in his thirteenth year, he was apprenticed to a hosier. With a remarkable taste for mimicry he practised private theatricals; and having attracted the notice of the managers of Queen Street Theatre, he obtained an opportunity of publicly exhibiting his gifts. In his sixteenth year he adopted the histrionic profession. For some seasons he was employed in a theatre at Newcastle; he subsequently performed at Carlisle, and afterwards in the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. At Edinburgh his successful impersonations of Dandie Dinmont and other characters of the Waverley novels gained him the friendship of Sir Walter Scott. After some changes he accepted the managership of the Dunlop Street Theatre, Glasgow, of which he became proprietor in 1829. He rebuilt the structure in 1840; it[Pg 84] was partially destroyed by fire on the 17th February, 1849, when sixty-five persons unhappily perished. The shock which he experienced on this occasion seriously affected his health, and in 1851 he found it expedient to retire from his profession. He died on the 15th December, 1851, aged fifty-five. On his tombstone are inscribed these lines from the pen of Mr. James Hedderwick, the editor of the Glasgow Citizen:—
|Fallen is the curtain, the last scene is o’er,|
The favourite actor treads life’s stage no more.
Oft lavish plaudits from the crowd he drew,
And laughing eyes confessed his humour true;
Here fond affection rears this sculptured stone,
For virtues not enacted, but his own.
A constancy unshaken unto death,
A truth unswerving, and a Christian’s faith;
Who knew him best have cause to mourn him most.
Oh, weep the man, more than the actor lost!
Unnumbered parts he play’d yet to the end,
His best were those of husband, father, friend.
In many collections of epitaphs the following is stated to be inscribed on a gravestone at Gillingham, but we are informed by the Vicar that no such epitaph is to be found, nor is there any trace of it having been placed there at any time:—
To the memory of
Thomas Jackson, Comedian,
[Pg 85]Who was engaged 21st of December, 1741, to play a comic cast of characters, in this great theatre—the world; for many of which he was prompted by nature to excel.
The season being ended, his benefit over, the charges all paid, and his account closed, he made his exit in the tragedy of Death, on the 17th of March, 1798, in full assurance of being called once more to rehearsal; where he hopes to find his forfeits all cleared, his cast of parts bettered, and his situation made agreeable, by Him who paid the great stock-debt, for the love He bore to performers in general.
The next epitaph was written by Swift on Dicky Pearce, who died 1728, aged 63 years. He was a famous fool, and his name carries us back to the time when kings and noblemen employed jesters for the delectation of themselves and their friends. It is from Beckley, and reads as follows:—
|Here lies the Earl of Suffolk’s Fool,|
Men call him Dicky Pearce;
His folly serv’d to make men laugh,
When wit and mirth were scarce.
Poor Dick, alas! is dead and gone,
What signifies to cry?
Dicky’s enough are still behind
To laugh at by and by.
In our “Historic Romance,” published 1883, by Hamilton, Adams, and Co., London, will be found an account of “Fools and Jesters of the[Pg 86] English Sovereigns,” and we therein state that the last recorded instance of a fool being kept by an English family is that of John Hilton’s fool, retained at Hilton Castle, Durham, who died in 1746.
The following epitaph is inscribed on a tombstone in the churchyard of St. Mary Friars, Shrewsbury, on Cadman, a famous “flyer” on the rope, immortalised by Hogarth, and who broke his neck descending from a steeple in Shrewsbury, in 1740.
|Let this small monument record the name|
Of Cadman, and to future times proclaim
How, by an attempt to fly from this high spire,
Across the Sabrine stream, he did acquire
His fatal end. ’Twas not for want of skill,
Or courage to perform the task, he fell;
No, no,—a faulty cord being drawn too tight
Hurried his soul on high to take her flight,
Which bid the body here beneath, good-night.
Joe Miller, of facetious memory, next claims our attention. We find it stated in Chambers’s “Book of Days” (issued 1869) as follows: Miller was interred in the burial-ground of the parish of St. Clement Danes, in Portugal Street, where a tombstone was erected to his memory. About ten years ago that burial-ground, by the removal[Pg 87] of the mortuary remains, and the demolition of the monuments, was converted into a site for King’s College Hospital. Whilst this not unnecessary, yet undesirable, desecration was in progress, the writer saw Joe’s tombstone lying on the ground; and being told that it would be broken up and used as materials for the new building, he took an exact copy of the inscription, which was as follows:—
|Here lye the Remains of|
Honest Jo: Miller,
a tender Husband,
a sincere Friend,
a facetious Companion,
and an excellent Comedian.
He departed this Life the 15th day of
August 1738, aged 54 years.
|If humour, wit, and honesty could save|
The humourous, witty, honest, from the grave,
The grave had not so soon this tenant found,
Whom honesty, and wit, and humour, crowned;
Could but esteem, and love preserve our breath,
And guard us longer from the stroke of Death,
The stroke of Death on him had later fell,
Whom all mankind esteemed and loved so well.
|From respect to social worth,|
mirthful qualities, and histrionic excellence,
commemorated by poetic talent in humble life.
The above inscription, which Time|
had nearly obliterated, has been preserved
and transferred to this Stone, by order of
Mr. Jarvis Buck, Churchwarden,
An interesting sketch of the life of Joe Miller will be found in the “Book of Days,” vol. ii., page 216, and in the same informing and entertaining work, the following notes are given respecting the writer of the foregoing epitaph: “The ‘S. Duck,’ whose name figures as author of the verses on Miller’s tombstone, and who is alluded to on the same tablet, by Mr. Churchwarden Buck, as an instance of ‘poetic talent in humble life,’ deserves a short notice. He was a thresher in the service of a farmer near Kew, in Surrey. Imbued with an eager desire for learning, he, under most adverse circumstances, managed to obtain a few books, and educate himself to a limited degree. Becoming known as a rustic rhymer, he attracted the attention of Caroline, queen of George II., who, with her accustomed liberality, settled on him a pension of £30 per annum; she made him a Yeoman of the Guard, and installed him as keeper of a kind of museum she had in Richmond Park, called Merlin’s Cave. Not content with these promotions,[Pg 89] the generous, but perhaps inconsiderate, queen caused Duck to be admitted to holy orders, and preferred to the living of Byfleet, in Surrey, where he became a popular preacher among the lower classes, chiefly through the novelty of being the ‘Thresher Parson.’ This gave Swift occasion to write the following quibbling epigram:—
|The thresher Duck could o’er the queen prevail;|
[Pg 90]The proverb says,—“No fence against a flail.”
From threshing corn, he turns to thresh his brains,
For which her Majesty allows him grains;
Though ’tis confest, that those who ever saw
His poems, think ’em all not worth a straw.
Thrice happy Duck! employed in threshing stubble!
Thy toil is lessened, and thy profits double.
“One would suppose the poor thresher to have been beneath Swift’s notice, but the provocation was great, and the chastisement, such as it was, merited. For though few men had ever less pretensions to poetical genius than Duck, yet the Court party actually set him up as a rival—nay, as superior—to Pope. And the saddest part of the affair was that Duck, in his utter simplicity and ignorance of what really constituted poetry, was led to fancy himself the greatest poet of the age. Consequently, considering that his genius was neglected, and that he was not rewarded according to his poetical deserts by being made the clergyman of an obscure village, he fell into a state of melancholy, which ended in suicide; affording another to the numerous instances of the very great difficulty of doing good. If the well-meaning queen had elevated Duck to the position of farm-bailiff, he might have led a long and happy life, amongst the scenes and the classes of society in which his youth had passed,[Pg 91] and thus been spared the pangs of disappointed vanity and misdirected ambition.”
Says a thoughtful writer, if truth, perspicuity, wit, gravity, and every property pertaining to the ancient or modern epitaph, were ever united in one of terse brevity, it was that made for Burbage, the tragedian, in the days of Shakespeare:—
Jerrold, perhaps, with that brevity which is the soul of wit, trumped the above by his anticipatory epitaph on that excellent man and distinguished historian, Charles Knight:—
The stirring lives of sportsmen have suggested spirited lines for their tombstones, as will be seen from the examples we bring under the notice of our readers.
The first epitaph is from Morville churchyard, near Bridgnorth, on John Charlton, Esq., who was for many years Master of the Wheatland Foxhounds, and died January 20th, 1843, aged 63 years; regretted by all who knew him:—
|Of this world’s pleasure I have had my share,|
A few of the sorrows I was doomed to bear.
How oft have I enjoy’d the noble chase
Of hounds and foxes striving for the race!
But hark! the knell of death calls me away,
So sportsmen, all, farewell! I must obey.
Our next is written on Mills, the huntsman:—
|Here lies John Mills, who over the hills|
Pursued the hounds with hallo:
The leap though high, from earth to sky,
The huntsman we must follow.
A short, rough, but pregnant epitaph is placed over the remains of Robert Hackett, a keeper of[Pg 93] Hardwick Park, who died in 1703, and was buried in Ault Hucknall churchyard:—
|Long had he chased|
The Red and Fallow Deer,
But Death’s cold dart
At last has fix’d him here.
George Dixon, a noted fox-hunter, is buried in Luton churchyard, and on his gravestone the following appears:—
|Stop, passenger, and thy attention fix on,|
That true-born, honest, fox-hunter, George Dixon,
Who, after eighty years’ unwearied chase,
Now rests his bones within this hallow’d place.
A gentle tribute of applause bestow,
And give him, as you pass, one tally-ho!
Early to cover, brisk he rode each morn,
In hopes the brush his temple might adorn;
The view is now no more, the chase is past,
And to an earth, poor George is run at last.
On a stone in the graveyard of Mottram the following inscription appears:—
|In the memory of George Newton,|
who died August 7th, 1871,
in the 94th year of his age.
|Though he liv’d long, the old man has gone at last,|
No more he’ll hear the huntsman’s stirring blast;
Though fleet as Reynard in his youthful prime,
At last he’s yielded to the hand of Time.
Blithe as a lark, dress’d in his coat of green,
With hounds and horn the old man was seen.
But ah! Death came, worn out and full of years,
He died in peace, mourn’d by his offsprings’ tears.
“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
In the churchyard of Ecclesfield, may be read the following epitaph:—
|In memory of Thomas Ridge,|
the Ecclesfield huntsman,
who died 13th day of January, 1871,
Aged 77 years.
|Though fond of sport, devoted of the chase,|
And with his fellow-hunters first in place,
He always kept the Lord’s appointed day,
Never from church or Sunday-school away.
And now his body rests beneath the sod,
His soul relying in the love of God.
Of the many epitaphs on sportsmen to be seen in Nottinghamshire, we cull a few of the choicest. Our first is a literal copy from a weather-worn stone in Eakring churchyard, placed to the memory of Henry Cartwright, senior keeper to his Grace the Duke of Kingston for fifty-five years, who died February 13th, 1773, aged eighty years, ten months, and three weeks:—
|My gun discharged, my ball is gone|
My powder’s spent, my work is done,
those panting deer I have left behind,
[Pg 95]May now have time to Gain their wind,
Who I have oft times Chass’d them ore
the burial Plains, but now no more.
We next present particulars of a celebrated deer-stealer. According to a notice furnished in the “Nottingham Date Book,” the deeds of Tom Booth were for many years after his death a never-failing subject of conversational interest in Nottingham. It is stated that no modern deer-stealer was anything like so popular. Thorsby relates one exploit as follows:—“In Nottingham Park, at one time, was a favourite fine deer, a chief ranger, on which Tom and his wily companions had often cast their eyes; but how to deceive the keeper while they killed it was a task of difficulty. The night, however, in which they accomplished their purpose—whether by any settled plan or not is not known—they found the keeper at watch, as usual, in a certain place in the park. One of them, therefore, went in an opposite direction in the park, and fired his gun to make the keeper believe he had shot a deer; upon which away goes the keeper, in haste, to the spot, which was at a very considerable distance from the place where the favourite deer was, and near which Tom Booth was skulking. Tom, waiting a proper time, when he thought the[Pg 96] keeper at a sufficient distance for accomplishing his purpose, fired and killed the deer, and dragged it through the river Leen undiscovered.” Booth was a stout man, and by trade a whitesmith. The stone marking the place of his interment is still in good preservation, and stands in St. Nicholas’ burial-ground, against the southern wall of the church. It bears the following inscription:
|Here lies a marksman, who with art and skill,|
When young and strong, fat bucks and does did kill.
Now conquered by grim Death (go, reader, tell it!)
He’s now took leave of powder, gun, and pellet.
A fatal dart, which in the dark did fly,
Has laid him down, among the dead to lie.
If any want to know the poor slave’s name,
’Tis old Tom Booth,—ne’er ask from whence he came.
Old Tom was so highly pleased with the epitaph, which was written before his death, that he had it engraved on the stone some months before its services were required. In addition to the epitaph itself, the head-stone was made to include Booth’s name, etc., and also that of his wife, blank places being left in each case for the age and time of death. Booth’s compartment of the stone was in due course properly filled up; but the widow, disliking the exhibition of her name on a tombstone while living, resolved that[Pg 97] such stone should never indicate her resting-place when dead; she accordingly left an injunction that her body be interred elsewhere, and the inscription is incomplete to this day.
Some time before Amos Street, a celebrated Yorkshire huntsman, died, a stone was obtained, and on it engraved the following lines:—
|This is to the memory of Old Amos,|
Who was when alive for hunting famous;
But now his chases are all o’er
And here he’s earth’d, of years four score.
Upon this tomb he’s often sat
And tried to read his epitaph;
And thou who dost so at this moment
Shall ere long like him be dormant.
Poor “Old Amos” passed away on October 3rd, 1777, and was buried in Birstal churchyard. The foregoing inscription may still be read.
The Rev. R. H. Whitworth tells us: “There is an old monument in the south aisle of Blidworth Church, to the memory of Thomas Leake, Esq., who was killed at Blidworth Rocking, in A.D. 1598. He may be regarded as the last of the race who sat in Robin Hood’s seat, if those restless Forest Chiefs, typified under that name, can be supposed ever to have sat at all. Leake held office under the Crown, but was as wild a freebooter as ever[Pg 98] drew bow. His character is portrayed in his epitaph:—
|Here rests T. Leake, whose vertues weere so knowne|
In all these parts that this engraved stone
Needs navght relate bvt his vntimely end
Which was in single fight: wylst youth did lend
His ayde to valor, hee wth ease orepast
Many slyght dangers, greater then this last
Bvt willfvlle fate in these things governs all
Hee towld ovt threescore years before his fall
Most of wch tyme he wasted in this wood
Mvch of his wealth and last of all his blood.
The border of this monument is rudely panelled, each panel having some forest hunting subject in relief. There are hounds getting scent, and a hound pursuing an antlered stag; a hunting horn, ribboned; plunging and flaying knives, a crossbow, a forest-bow, two arrows, and two hunters’ belts with arrows inserted. This is his register—
Thomas Leake, esquire, buried the
4th February, 1598.
There is a captivating bit of romance connected with Leake’s death, which occurred at Archer’s Water. Although somewhat ‘provectus in ætate,’ he had won the affections of the landlady’s daughter, much to the annoyance of the mother. Archer’s Water was on the old driftroad[Pg 99] by Blidworth, from Edinburgh to London, that by which Jeanie Deans travelled, and over which Dick Turpin rode. Hundreds of thousands of Scotch cattle went by this way to town, and there was a difficulty connected with a few of them in which Leake was concerned, and a price being set upon his head, his mother-in-law, that was to be, betrayed him to two young soldiers anxious to secure the reward, one of whom was, in the mother’s eyes, the more favoured lover. Tom was always attended by two magnificent dogs, and went well armed. Thrown off his guard he left his dogs in an outhouse, and entering the inn laid aside his weapons, when he was set upon and overpowered, and, like many better men before him, slain. The name of a Captain Salmond of the now extinct parish or manor of Salterford is connected with this transaction. The date of the combat is 2nd February, being the festival of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, with which the highly interesting and historical observance of Blidworth Rocking is connected. Within the memory of living men, a baby decked with such flowers as the season afforded was placed in a cradle and carried about from house to house by an old man, who received a present on the[Pg 100] occasion. As the church is dedicated to St. Mary in connection with the Purification, the 2nd of February being the Feast Day, this is probably an interesting reminiscence of some old species of Miracle Play, or observance connected with the foundation. Anciently people from all neighbouring counties used to attend this season. Forest games were played, and amid the attendant licence and confusion, Leake came to his last grief. Not only in this church does this Ranger of the Blidworth Wood, for this was his office, possess a memorial. A large cross was erected, now standing at Fountain Dale, thus inscribed:—
Hoc crucis fragmen
Traditum a sylvicolis monumentum
Loci ubi in singulari certamine
Gladiator ille insignis
Ab antiqua sede remotum
H. P. C.
Prid. Non Sext. MDCCCXXXVI.
What became of the daughter tradition sayeth not. Doubtless she died, as Tom Leake’s intended bride ought, of grief, and was buried under some grand old oak in Blidworth Forest.”
[Pg 101]Let us direct attention to another class of sportsmen. At Bunney, a monument is erected to Sir Thomas Parkyns, the well-known wrestler. It bears four lines in Latin, which have been translated thus:—
|At length he falls, the long contest’s o’er,|
And Time has thrown whom none e’er threw before;
Yet boast not (Time) thy victory, for he
At last shall rise again and conquer thee.
The next is copied from a stone in St. Michael’s churchyard, Coventry, on a famous fencing master:—
To the memory of Mr. John Parkes,
A native of this City
He was a man of mild disposition,
A Gladiator by profession;
Who after having fought 350 battles,
In the principal parts of Europe,
With honour and applause,
At length quitted the stage, sheathed his sword,
And with Christian resignation,
Submitted to the Grand Victor
In the 52nd year of his age
Anno Domini 1733.
An old stone bearing the foregoing inscription was replaced by a new one some years ago at the expense of the late S. Carter, Esq., formerly Member of Parliament for Coventry. In the[Pg 102] pages of the Spectator honourable mention is made of John Parkes.
In the churchyard of Hanslope is buried Sandy M’Kay, the Scottish giant, who was killed in a prize fight with Simon Byrne. A headstone bears the following inscription:—
|Sacred to the memory of|
(Late of Glasgow),
Who died 3rd June, 1834,
Aged 26 years.
|Strong and athletic was my frame;|
Far from my native home I came,
And manly fought with Simon Byrne;
Alas! but lived not to return.
Reader, take warning of my fate,
Lest you should rue your case too late;
If you ever have fought before,
Determine now to fight no more.
We are informed that Byrne was killed shortly afterwards, whilst engaged in fighting.
From the prize-ring let us turn to the more satisfactory amusement of cricket. In Highgate Cemetery, Lillywhite, the celebrated cricketer, is buried, and over his remains is placed a monument with the significant emblem of a wicket being upset with a ball.
The following lines are said to be copied from a tombstone in a cemetery near Salisbury:—
|I bowl’d, I struck, I caught, I stopp’d,|
Sure life’s a game of cricket,
I blocked with care, with caution popp’d,
Yet Death has hit my wicket.
The tennis ball is introduced in an epitaph placed in St. Michael’s Church, Coventry. It reads thus:—
Here lyes the Body of Captain Gervase Scrope, of the Family of Scropes, of Bolton, in the County of York, who departed this life the 26th day of August, Anno Domini, 1705.
An Epitaph Written by Himself in the Agony and
Dolorous Paines of the Gout, and dyed soon
|Here lies an Old Toss’d Tennis Ball,|
Was Racketted from Spring to Fall
With so much heat, and so much hast,
Time’s arm (for shame) grew tyr’d at last,
Four Kings in Camps he truly seru’d,
And from his Loyalty ne’r sweru’d.
Father ruin’d, the Son slighted,
And from the Crown ne’r requited,
Loss of Estate, Relations, Blood,
Was too well Known, but did no good,
With long Campaigns and paines of th’ Govt,
He cou’d no longer hold it out:
Always a restless life he led,
Never at quiet till quite dead,
He marry’d in his latter dayes,
One who exceeds the com’on praise,
But wanting breath still to make Known
Her true Affection and his Own,
[Pg 104]Death kindly came, all wants supply’d
By giuing Rest which life deny’d.
We conclude this class of epitaphs with a couple of piscatorial examples. The first is from the churchyard of Hythe:—
|His net old fisher George long drew,|
Shoals upon shoals he caught,
’Till Death came hauling for his due,
And made poor George his draught.
Death fishes on through various shapes,
In vain it is to fret;
Nor fish nor fisherman escapes
Death’s all-enclosing net.
In the churchyard of Great Yarmouth, under date of 1769, an epitaph runs thus:—
|Here lies doomed,|
In this vault so dark,
A soldier weaver, angler, and clerk;
Death snatched him hence, and from him took
His gun, his shuttle, fish-rod, and hook,
He could not weave, nor fish, nor fight, so then
He left the world, and faintly cried—Amen.
Some singular epitaphs are to be found over the remains of men who either manufactured, dispensed, or loved the social glass. In the churchyard of Newhaven, Sussex, the following may be seen on the grave of a brewer:—
|To the memory of|
Thomas Tipper who
departed this life May the 14th
1785 Aged 54 Years.
|Reader, with kind regard this Grave survey|
Nor heedless pass where Tipper’s ashes lay,
Honest he was, ingenuous, blunt, and kind;
And dared do, what few dare do, speak his mind,
Philosophy and History well he knew,
Was versed in Physick and in Surgery too,
The best old Stingo he both brewed and sold,
Nor did one knavish act to get his Gold.
He played through Life a varied comic part,
And knew immortal Hudibras by heart.
Reader, in real truth, such was the Man,
Be better, wiser, laugh more if you can.
The next, on John Scott, a Liverpool brewer, is rather rich in puns:—
|Poor John Scott lies buried here;|
[Pg 106]Although he was both hale and stout
Death stretched him on the bitter bier.
In another world he hops about.
On a butler in Ollerton churchyard is the following curious epitaph:—
|Beneath the droppings of this spout,|
Here lies the body once so stout,
Of Francis Thompson.
A soul this carcase once possess’d,
Which of its virtues was caress’d,
By all who knew the owner best.
The Ruffords records can declare,
His action who, for seventy year,
Both drew and drank its potent beer;
Fame mentions not in all that time,
In this great Butler the least crime,
To stain his reputation.
To envy’s self we now appeal,
If aught of fault she can reveal,
To make her declaration.
Here rest good shade, nor hell nor vermin fear,
Thy virtues guard thy soul, thy body good strong beer.
He died July 6th, 1739.
We will next give a few epitaphs on publicans. Our first is from Pannal churchyard; it is on Joseph Thackerey, who died on the 26th of November, 1791:—
|In the year of our Lord 1740|
I came to the Crown;
In 1791 they laid me down.
The following is from the graveyard of [Pg 107]Upton-on-Severn, and placed to the memory of a publican. The lines, it will be seen, are a dexterous weaving of the spiritual with the temporal:—
|Beneath this stone, in hope of Zion,|
Doth lie the landlord of the “Lion,”
His son keeps on the business still,
Resign’d unto the Heavenly will.
In 1789 passed away the landlady of the “Pig and Whistle,” Greenwich, and the following lines were inscribed to her memory:—
|Assign’d by Providence to rule a tap,|
My days pass’d glibly, till an awkward rap,
Some way, like bankruptcy, impell’d me down.
But up I got again and shook my gown
In gamesome gambols, quite as brisk as ever,
Blithe as the lark and gay as sunny weather;
Composed with creditors, at five in pound,
And frolick’d on till laid beneath this ground.
The debt of nature must, you know, be paid,
No trust from her—God grant extent in aid.
On an innkeeper in Stockbridge, the next may be seen:—
|In memory of|
Many year’s landlord of the King’s
Head Inn, in this Borough,
Who departed this life Nov. 2, 1802.
Aged 67 years.
And is, alas! poor Buckett gone?|
Farewell, convivial, honest John.
Oft at the well, by fatal stroke,
Buckets, like pitchers, must be broke.
In this same motley shifting scene,
How various have thy fortunes been!
Now lifted high—now sinking low.
To-day thy brim would overflow,
Thy bounty then would all supply,
To fill and drink, and leave thee dry;
To-morrow sunk as in a well,
Content, unseen, with truth to dwell:
But high or low, or wet or dry,
No rotten stave could malice spy.
Then rise, immortal Buckett, rise,
And claim thy station in the skies;
’Twixt Amphora and Pisces shine,
Still guarding Stockbridge with thy sign.
From the “Sportive Wit; the Muses’ Merriment,” issued in 1656, we extract the following lines on John Taylor, “the Water Poet,” who was a native of Gloucester, and died in Phœnix Alley, London, in the 75th year of his age. You may find him, if the worms have not devoured him, in Covent Garden churchyard:—
|Here lies John Taylor, without rime or reason,|
For death struck his muse in so cold a season,
That Jack lost the use of his scullers to row:
The chill pate rascal would not let his boat go.
[Pg 109]Alas, poor Jack Taylor! this ’tis to drink ale
With nutmegs and ginger, with a taste though stale,
It drencht thee in rimes. Hadst thou been of the pack
With Draiton and Jonson to quaff off thy sack,
They’d infus’d thee a genius should ne’er expire,
And have thaw’d thy muse with elemental fire.
Yet still, for the honour of thy sprightly wit,
Since some of thy fancies so handsomely hit.
The nymphs of the rivers for thy relation
Sirnamed thee the water-poet of the nation.
Who can write more of thee let him do’t for me.
A —— take all rimers, Jack Taylor, but thee.
Weep not, reader, if thou canst chuse,
Over the stone of so merry a muse.
Robert Burns wrote the following epitaph on John Dove, innkeeper, Mauchline:—
|Here lies Johnny Pigeon:|
What was his religion?
Whae’er desires to ken,
To some other warl’
Maun follow the carl,
For here Johnny had none!
Strong ale was ablution—
Small beer persecution,
A dram was memento mori;
But a full flowing bowl
Was the saving of his soul,
And port was celestial glory.
We extract, from a collection of epitaphs, the following on a publican:—
|A jolly landlord once was I,|
[Pg 110]And kept the Old King’s Head hard by,
Sold mead and gin, cider and beer,
And eke all other kinds of cheer,
Till Death my license took away,
And put me in this house of clay:
A house at which you all must call,
Sooner or later, great or small.
It is stated in Mr. J. Potter Briscoe’s entertaining volume, “Nottinghamshire Facts and Fictions,” that in the churchyard of Edwalton is a gravestone to the memory of Mrs. Freland, a considerable landowner, who died in 1741; but who, it would appear from the inscription, was a very free liver, for her memorial says:—
|She drank good ale, strong punch and wine,|
And lived to the age of ninety-nine.
A gravestone in Darenth churchyard, near Dartford, bears the following epitaph:—
|Oh, the liquor he did love, but never will no more|
For what he lov’d did turn his foe;
For on the 28th of January 1741, that fatal day,
The Debt he owed he then did pay.
At Chatham, on a drunkard, good advice is given:—
|Weep not for him, the warmest tear that’s shed|
Falls unavailing o’er the unconscious dead;
Take the advice these friendly lines would give,
Live not to drink, but only drink to live.
[Pg 111]From Tonbridge churchyard we glean the following:—
This stone marks the spot
Where a notorious sot
Whether at rest or not
It matters not
To you or I.
Oft to the “Lion” he went to fill his horn,
Now to the “Grave” he’s gone to get it warm.
Beered by public subscription by his hale and stout companions, who deeply lament his absence.
From St. Peter’s Mancroft, Norwich, are the following lines on Sarah Byfield, who died in 1719, comparing life to a market:—
|Death is a market where all must meet,|
It’s found in every city, town, and street.
If we our lives like merchandise could buy,
The rich would ever live, the poor alone must die.
On a gravestone in the churchyard of Eton, placed to the memory of an innkeeper, it is stated:—
|Life’s an inn; my house will shew it:|
I thought so once, but now I know it.
Man’s life is but a winter’s day;
Some only breakfast and away;
Others to dinner stop, and are full fed;
The oldest man but sups and then to bed:
Large is his debt who lingers out the day;
He who goes soonest has the least to pay.
[Pg 112]Similar epitaphs to the foregoing may be found in many graveyards in this country. In Micklehurst churchyard, an inscription runs thus:—
|Life is an Inn, where all men bait,|
The waiter, Time, the landlord, Fate;
Death is the score by all men due,
I’ve paid my shot—and so must you.
In the old burial-ground in Castle Street, Hull, on the gravestone of a boy, a slightly different version of the rhyme appears:—
|In memory of|
John, the son of John and
Ann Bywater, died 25th January,
1815, aged 14 years.
|Life’s like an Inn, where Travellers stay,|
Some only breakfast and away;
Others to dinner stay and are full fed;
The oldest only sup and go to bed;
Long is the bill who lingers out the day,
Who goes the soonest has the least to pay.
The churchyard of Melton Mowbray furnishes another rendering of the lines:—
|This world’s an Inn, and I her guest:|
I’ve eat and drank and took my rest
With her awhile, and now I pay
Her lavish bill and go my way.
The foregoing inscriptions, comparing life to a house, remind us of a curious inscription in Folkestone churchyard:—
|In memory of|
who died Aug. 22, 1688,
Aged 44 years.
|A house she hath, it’s made of such good fashion,|
A tenant ne’er shall pay for reparation,
Nor will her landlord ever raise the rent,
Or turn her out of doors for non-payment;
From chimney money, too, this call is free,
To such a house, who would not tenant be.
In “Chronicles of the Tombs,” by Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, published in 1857, it is stated respecting the foregoing epitaph: “Smoke money or chimney money is now collected at Battle, in Sussex, each householder paying one penny to the Lord of the Manor. It is also levied upon the inhabitants of the New Forest, in Hants, for the right of cutting peat and turf for fuel. And from ‘Audley’s Companion to the Almanac,’ page 76, we learn that ‘anciently, even in England, Whitsun farthings, or smoke farthings, were a composition for offerings made in the Whitsun week, by every man who occupied a house with a chimney, to the cathedral of the diocese in which he lived.’ The late Mr. E. B. Price has observed, in Notes and Queries (Vol. ii., p. 379), that there is a church at Northampton, upon which is an inscription recording that the[Pg 114] expense of repairing it was defrayed by a grant of chimney money for, I believe, seven years, temp. Charles II.”
In bygone times the “Boar’s Head” was a common tavern sign, and this is not surprising for the animal figures in English history, poetry, romance and popular pastimes. The most famous inn bearing the title of the “Boar’s Head” was[Pg 115] that in Eastcheap, London. The earliest mention of this tavern occurs in the testament of William Warden in the days of Richard II., who gave “all that tenement called the Boar’s Head in Eastcheap to a college of priests, or chaplain, founded by Sir William Walworth, the Lord Mayor, in the adjoining church of St. Michael, Crooked Lane.” It was here that Prince Hal and “honest Jack Falstaff” played their pranks. At the door of the house until the Great Fire were carved figures of the two worthies. In the works of Goldsmith will be found a charming chapter called “Reflections in the Boar’s Head Tavern, Eastcheap”; anyone interested in this old place should not fail to read it. In his pleasant day-dreams he forgets the important fact that the original house perished in the Great Fire. In the Guildhall Library is preserved the stone sign from the old house, which was pulled down in 1831 to make way for the streets leading to the new London Bridge. We give a picture of this old-time sign on the opposite page.
A famous waiter of this tavern was buried in the graveyard of St. Michael’s Church, hard by, and a monument of Purbeck stone was placed to his memory bearing an interesting inscription. We[Pg 116] give a picture of the gravestone, which has been removed to the yard of St. Magnus the Martyr.
The next example from Abesford, on an exciseman, is entitled to a place among Bacchanalian epitaphs:—
|No supervisor’s check he fears—|
[Pg 117]Now no commissioner obeys;
He’s free from cares, entreaties, tears,
And all the heavenly oil surveys.
In the churchyard of North Wingfield, Derbyshire, a gravestone bears the following inscription:
In memory of Thomas, son of John and Mary Clay, who departed this life December 16th, 1724, in the 40th year of his age.
|What though no mournful kindred stand|
Around the solemn bier,
No parents wring the trembling hand,
Or drop the silent tear.
No costly oak adorned with art
My weary limbs inclose;
No friends impart a winding sheet
To deck my last repose.
The cause of the foregoing curious epitaph is thus explained. Thomas Clay was a man of intemperate habits, and at the time of his death was indebted to the village innkeeper, named Adlington, to the amount of twenty pounds. The publican resolved to seize the body; but the parents of the deceased carefully kept the door locked until the day appointed for the funeral. As soon as the door was opened, Adlington rushed into the house, seized the corpse, and placed it on a form in the open street in front of the residence of the parents of the departed. Clay’s friends refused to discharge the publican’s[Pg 118] account. After the body had been exposed for several days, Adlington committed it to the ground in a bacon chest.
We conclude this class of epitaphs with the following from Winchester Cathedral yard:—
|In memory of|
a Grenadier in the North Regiment of Hants Militia,
who died of a violent fever contracted by drinking small
beer when hot
the 12th of May, 1764, aged 26 years.
In grateful remembrance of whose universal goodwill
towards his comrades this stone is placed here at their expense, as
a small testimony of their regard and concern.
|Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier,|
Who caught his death by drinking cold small beer;
Soldiers, be wise from his untimely fall,
And when ye’re hot drink strong, or none at all.
This memorial, being decayed, was restored by the officers of the garrison, A.D. 1781:—
|An honest soldier never is forgot,|
Whether he die by musket or by pot.
This stone was placed by the North Hants Militia, when disembodied at Winchester, on 26th April, 1802, in consequence of the original stone being destroyed.
From a Photo by F. A. Grant.
Not a few of our old parish clerks and sextons were eccentric characters, and it is not therefore surprising that their epitaphs are amongst the most curious of the many strange examples to be found in the quiet resting-places of the departed.
In the churchyard of Crayford is a gravestone bearing the following inscription:—
Here lieth the body
Thirty years clerk of this Parish.
He lived respected as a pious and mirthful man, and died on his
way to church to assist at a wedding,
On the 31st day of March, 1811,
Aged 70 years.
The inhabitants of Crayford have raised this stone to his cheerful memory, and as a tribute to his long and faithful services.
|The life of this clerk, just three score and ten,|
Nearly half of which time he had sung out “Amen;”
In youth he was married, like other young men,
But his wife died one day, so he chanted “Amen.”
A second he took, she departed—what then?
He married and buried a third with “Amen.”
Thus his joys and his sorrows were treble, but then
[Pg 120]His voice was deep bass, as he sung out “Amen.”
On the horn he could blow as well as most men;
So his horn was exalted to blowing “Amen.”
But he lost all his wind after three score and ten,
And here, with three wives, he awaits till again
The trumpet shall rouse him to sing out “Amen.”
In addition to being parish clerk, Frank Raw, of Selby, Yorkshire, was a gravestone cutter, for we are told:—
|Here lies the body of poor Frank Raw,|
Parish clerk and gravestone cutter,
And this is writ to let you know
What Frank for others used to do,
Is now for Frank done by another.
The next epitaph, placed to the memory of a parish clerk and bellows-maker, was formerly in the old church of All Saints’, Newcastle-on-Tyne:—
|Here lies Robert Wallas,|
The King of Good Fellows,
Clerk of All-Hallows,
And maker of bellows.
On a slate headstone, near the south porch of Bingham Church, Nottinghamshire, is inscribed:—
|Beneath this stone lies Thomas Hart,|
Years fifty-eight he took the part
Of Parish Clerk: few did excel.
[Pg 121]Correct he read and sung so well;
His words distinct, his voice so clear,
Till eighteen hundred and fiftieth year.
Death cut the brittle thread, and then
A period put to his Amen.
At eighty-two his breath resigned,
To meet the fate of all mankind;
The third of May his soul took flight
To mansions of eternal light.
The bell for him with awful tone
His body summoned to the tomb.
Oh! may his sins be all forgiv’n
And Christ receive him into heav’n.
From the churchyard of Ratcliffe-on-Soar, we have a curious epitaph to the memory of Robert Smith, who died in 1782, aged 82 years:—
|Fifty-five years it was, and something more,|
Clerk of this parish he the office bore,
And in that space, ’tis awful to declare,
Two generations buried by him were!
In a note by Mr. Llewellyn Jewitt, F.S.A., we are told that with the clerkship of Bakewell Church, the “vocal powers” of its holders appear to have been to some extent hereditary, if we may judge by the inscriptions recording the deaths and the abilities of two members of the family of Roe, which are found on gravestones in the churchyard there. The first of these, recording the death of Samuel Roe, is as under:—
The memory of
Of the Parish Church of Bakewell,
He filled thirty-five years
With credit to himself
And satisfaction to the Inhabitants.
His natural powers of voice,
In clearness, strength, and sweetness
Were altogether unequalled.
He died October 31st, 1792,
Aged 70 years.
|Sarah his third wife||1811||77|
|Charles their son||1810||52|
He had three wives, Millicent, who died in 1745, aged 22; Dorothy, who died 1754, aged 28; and Sarah, who survived him and died in 1811, at the age of 77. A gravestone records the death of his first two wives as follows, and the third is commemorated in the above inscription.
Wife of Saml Roe,
She died Sepr 16th, 1745, aged 22.
Wife of Saml Roe,
She died Novr 13th, 1754, aged 28.
Respecting the above-mentioned Samuel Roe,[Pg 123] a contributor to the Gentleman’s Magazine wrote, on February 13th, 1794:—
“It was with much concern that I read the epitaph upon Mr. Roe, in your last volume, p. 1192. Upon a little tour which I made in Derbyshire, in 1789, I met with that worthy and very intelligent man at Bakewell, and, in the course of my antiquarian researches there, derived no inconsiderable assistance from his zeal and civility. If he did not possess the learning of his namesake, your old and valuable correspondent, I will venture to declare that he was not less influenced by a love and veneration for antiquity, many proofs of which he had given by his care and attention to the monuments in the church, which were committed to his charge; for he united the characters of sexton, clerk, singing-master, will-maker, and school-master. Finding that I was quite alone, he requested permission to wait upon me at the inn in the evening, urging, as a reason for this request, that he must be exceedingly gratified by the conversation of a gentleman who could read the characters upon the monument of Vernon, the founder of Haddon House, a treat he had not met with for many[Pg 124] years. After a very pleasant gossip we parted, but not till my honest friend had, after some apparent struggle, begged of me to indulge him with my name.”
To his careful attention is to be attributed the preservation of the curious Vernon and other monuments in the church, over which, in some instances, he placed wooden framework to keep off the rough hands and rougher knives of the boys and young men of the congregation. He also watched with special care over the Wendesley tomb, and even took careful rubbings of the inscriptions.
While speaking of this Mr. Roe, it may be well to put the readers of this work in possession of an interesting fact in connection with the name of Roe, or Row. The writer above, in his letter to Mr. Urban, says, “If he did not possess the learning of his namesake, your old and valued correspondent,” etc. By this he means “T. Row,” whose contributions to the Gent.’s Mag. were very numerous and interesting. The writer under this signature was the Rev. Samuel Pegge, rector of Whittington, and the letters forming this pseudonym were the initials of the words, T[he] R[ector] O[f] W[hittington].
[Pg 125]Philip Roe, who succeeded his father (Samuel Roe) as parish clerk of Bakewell, was his son by his third wife. He was born in 1763, and succeeded his father in full parochial honours in 1792, having, we believe, for some time previously acted as his deputy. He died in 1815, aged 52 years, and was buried with the other members of the family. The following curious inscription appears on his gravestone:—
In remembrance of
who died 12th September, 1815
Aged 52 years.
|The vocal Powers here let us mark|
Of Philip our late Parish Clerk
In Church none ever heard a Layman
With a clearer Voice say “Amen!”
Who now with Hallelujahs Sound
Like him can make the roofs rebound?
The Choir lament his Choral Tones
The Town—so soon Here lie his Bones.
“Sleep undisturb’d within thy peaceful shrine
Till Angels wake thee with such notes as thine.”
|Also of Sarah his wife|
who departed this life on the
24th of January 1817
aged 51 years.
Cuthbert Bede, B.A., says, “As a boy I often [Pg 126] attended the service at Belbroughton Church, Worcestershire, where the parish clerk was Mr. Osborne, tailor. His family had there been parish clerks and tailors since the time of Henry the Eighth, and were lineally descended from William FitzOsborne, who, in the twelfth century, had been deprived by Ralph FitzHerbert of his right to the manor of Bellem, in the parish of Belbroughton. Often have I stood in the picturesque churchyard of Wolverley, Worcestershire, by the grave of its old parish clerk, whom I well remember, old Thomas Worrall, the inscription on whose monument is as follows:—
|Sacred to the Memory of|
Parish Clerk of Wolverley for a period of forty-seven years.
Died A.D. 1854, February 23rd.
Aged 76 years.
|He served with faithfulness in humble sphere,|
As one who could his talent well employ.
Hope that when Christ his Lord shall re-appear,
He may be bidden to His Master’s joy.
This tombstone was erected to the memory of the deceased by a few of the parishioners in testimony of his worth.
April, 1855. Charles R. Somers Cocks, vicar.
It may be noted of this worthy parish clerk that, with the exception of a week or two before[Pg 127] his death, he was never once absent from his Sunday and week-day duties in the forty-seven years during which he held office. He succeeded his father, James Worrall, who died in 1806, aged seventy-nine, after being parish clerk of Wolverley for thirty years. His tombstone, near to that of his son, was erected ‘to record his worth both in his public and private character, and as a mark of personal esteem—h.l.F.H.& W.C.p.c.’ I am told that these initials stand for F. Hurtle and the Rev. William Callow, and that the latter was the author of the following lines inscribed on the monument, which are well worth quoting:—
|If courtly bards adorn each statesman’s bust,|
And strew their laurels o’er each warrior’s dust
Alike immortalise, as good and great,
Him who enslaved as him who saved the state,
Surely the muse (a rustic minstrel) may
Drop one wild flower upon a poor man’s clay;
This artless tribute to his mem’ry give
Whose life was such as heroes seldom live.
In worldly knowledge, poor indeed his store—
He knew the village and he scarce knew more.
The worth of heavenly truth he justly knew—
In faith a Christian, and in practice too.
Yes, here lies one, excel him ye who can;
Go! imitate the virtues of that man!”
A memorial record on the church of Holy Trinity, Hull, is as follows:—
In memory of John Stone
Parish Clerk 41 years
Excellent in his way
Buried here 26 May 1727
First amongst notable sextons is the name of Old Scarlett, who died July 2, 1591, at the good old age of ninety-eight, and occupied for a long time the position of sexton of Peterborough Cathedral. He buried two generations of his fellow-creatures. A portrait of him, placed at the west end of that noble church, has perpetuated his fame, and caused him to be introduced in effigy in various publications. Says a writer in the “Book of Days”: “And what a lively effigy—short, stout, hardy, and self-complacent, perfectly satisfied, and perhaps even proud, of his profession, and content to be exhibited with all its insignia about him! Two queens had passed through his hands into that bed which gives a lasting rest to queens and to peasants alike. An officer of Death, who had so long defied his principal, could not but have made some impression on the minds of bishop, dean, prebends, and other magnates of the Cathedral, and hence, as we may suppose, the erection of this lively portraiture of the old man, which is believed to have been only[Pg 129] once renewed since it was first put up. Dr. Dibdin, who last copied it, tells us that ‘Old Scarlett’s jacket and trunkhose are of a brownish red, his stockings blue, his shoes black, tied with blue ribbons, and the soles of his feet red. The cap upon his head is red, and so also is the ground of the coat armour.’”
[Pg 130]The following lines below his portrait are characteristic of his age:—
|You see Old Scarlett’s picture stand on hie;|
But at your feet here doth his body lye.
His gravestone doth his age and death-time shew,
His office by heis token[s] you may know.
Second to none for strength and sturdy lymm,
A scare-babe mighty voice, with visage grim;
He had inter’d two queenes within this place,
And this townes householders in his life’s space
Twice over; but at length his own time came
What he for others did, for him the same
Was done: no doubt his soule doth live for aye,
In heaven, though his body clad in clay.
The first of the queens interred by Scarlett was Catherine, the divorced wife of Henry VIII., who died in 1535, at Kimbolton Castle, in Huntingdonshire. The second was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was beheaded at Fotheringay in 1587, and first interred here, though subsequently transported to Westminster Abbey.
Our next example is from Bingley, Yorkshire:—
In memory of Hezekiah Briggs, who died August 5th, 1844, in
the 80th year of his age. He was sexton at this church
43 years, and interred upwards of 7000 corpses.
[Here the names of his wife and several children are given.]
|Here lies an old ringer, beneath the cold clay,|
[Pg 131]Who has rung many peals both for serious and gay;
Through Grandsire and Trebles with ease he could range,
Till death called a Bob, which brought round the last change.
For all the village came to him
When they had need to call;
His counsel free to all was given,
For he was kind to all.
Ring on, ring on, sweet Sabbath bell,
Still kind to me thy matins swell,
And when from earthly things I part,
Sigh o’er my grave, and lull my heart.
An upright stone in the burial-ground at Hartwith Chapel, in Nidderdale, Yorkshire, bears the following inscription:—
|In memory of William Darnbrough, who for the last forty|
years of his life was sexton of this chapel. He died
October 3rd, 1846, in the one hundredth year
of his age.
“Thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried
in a good old age.”—Genesis XV., 15.
|The graves around for many a year|
Were dug by him who slumbers here,—
Till worn with age, he dropped his spade,
And in the dust his bones were laid.
As he now, mouldering, shares the doom
Of those he buried in the tomb;
So shall he, too, with them arise,
To share the judgment of the skies.
An examination of Pateley Bridge Church registers proves that Darnbrough was one hundred and two years of age.
[Pg 132]An epitaph from Saddleworth, Yorkshire, tells us:—
Here was interred the body of John Broadbent, Sexton, who departed this life, August 3rd, 1769, in the 73rd year of his age.
|Forty-eight years, strange to tell,|
He bore the bier and toll’d the bell,
And faithfully discharged his trust,
In “earth to earth” and “dust to dust.”
Cease to lament,
His life is spent,
The grave is still his element;
His old friend Death knew ’twas his sphere,
So kindly laid the sexton here.
At Rothwell, near Leeds, an old sexton is buried in the church porch. A monumental inscription runs thus:—
In memory of Thomas Flockton, Sexton 59 years, buried
23rd day of February, 1783, aged 78 years.
|Here lies within this porch so calm,|
Old Thomas. Pray sound his knell,
Who thought no song was like a psalm—
No music like a bell.
At Darlington, there is a Latin epitaph over the remains of Richard Preston, which has been freely translated as follows:—
|Under this marble are depos’d|
Poor Preston’s sad remains.
Alas! too true for light-rob’d jest
To sing in playful strains.
Ye dread possessors of the grave,
Who feed on others’ woe,
Abstain from Richard’s small remains,
And grateful pity shew;
For many a weighty corpse he gave
To you with liberal hand;
Then sure his little body may
Some small respect command.
The gravestone bears the date of 1765.
Further examples might be included, but we have given sufficient to show the varied and curious epitaphs placed to the memory of parish clerks and sextons.
Puns in epitaphs have been very common, and may be found in Greek and Latin, and still more plentifully in our English compositions. In the French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and other languages, examples occur. Empedocles wrote an epitaph containing the paronomasia, or pun, on a physician named Pausanias, and it has by Merivale been happily translated:—
|Pausanias—not so nam’d without a cause,|
As one who oft has giv’n to pain a pause,
Blest son of Æsculapius, good and wise,
Here, in his native Gela, buried lies;
Who many a wretch once rescu’d by his charms
From dark Persephone’s constraining arms.
In Holy Trinity Church, Hull, is an example of a punning epitaph. It is on a slab in the floor of the north aisle of the nave, to the memory of “The Worshipful Joseph Field, twice Mayor of this town, and Merchant Adventurer.” He died in 1627, aged 63 years:—
|Here is a Field sown, that at length must sprout,|
[Pg 135]And ’gainst the ripening harvest’s time break out,
When to that Husband it a crop shall yield
Who first did dress and till this new-sown Field;
Yet ere this Field you see this crop can give,
The seed first dies, that it again may live.
Sit Deus amicus,
Sanctis, vel in Sepulchris spes est.
On Bishop Theophilus Field, in Hereford Cathedral, ob. 1636, is another specimen:—
|The Sun that light unto three churches gave|
Is set; this Field is buried in a grave.
This Sun shall rise, this Field renew his flowers,
This sweetness breathe for ages, not for hours.
He was successively Bishop of Llandaff, St. Davids, and Hereford.
The following rather singular epitaph, with a play upon the name, occurs in the chancel of Checkley Church, Staffordshire:—
To the Memory of the Reverend James Whitehall, Rector of this place twenty and five years, who departed this life the second daie of March, 1644.
|White was his name, and whiter than this stone.|
In hope of joyfole resurrection
Here lies that orthodox, that grave divine,
In wisdom trve, vertve did soe clearly shine;
One that could live and die as he hath done
Suffer’d not death but a translation.
Bvt ovt of charitie I’ll speake no more,
Lest his friends pine with sighs, with teares the poor.
From Hornsea Church we have the epitaph of[Pg 136] Will Day, gentleman; he lived thirty-four years, died May 22nd, 1616:—
|If that man’s life be likened to a day,|
One here interr’d in youth did lose a day,
By death, and yet no loss to him at all,
For he a threefold day gain’d by his fall;
One day of rest is bliss celestial.
Two days on earth by gifts terrestryall—
Three pounds at Christmas, three at Easter Day,
Given to the poure until the world’s last day,
This was no cause to heaven; but, consequent,
Who thither will, must tread the steps he went.
For why? Faith, Hope, and Christian Charity,
Perfect the house framed for eternity.
On the east wall of the chancel of Kettlethorpe Church, co. Lincoln, is a tablet to the memory of “Johannes Becke, quondam Rector istius ecclesiæ,” who died 1597, with the following lines in old English characters:—
|I am a Becke, or river as you know,|
And wat’rd here ye church, ye schole, ye pore,
While God did make my springes here for to flow:
But now my fountain stopt, it runs no more;
From Church and schole mi life ys now bereft,
But no ye pore four poundes I yearly left.
We may add that the stream of his charity still flows, and is yearly distributed amongst the poor of Kettlethorpe.
Bishop Sanderson, in his “Survey of Lincoln[Pg 137] Cathedral,” gives the following epitaph on Dr. William Cole, Dean of Lincoln, who died in 1600. The upper part of the stone, with Dr. Cole’s arms, is, or was lately, in the Cathedral, but the epitaph has been lost:—
|Reader, behold the pious pattern here|
Of true devotion and of holy fear.
He sought God’s glory and the churches good.
Idle idol worship he withstood.
Yet dyed in peace, whose body here doth lie
In expectation of eternity.
And when the latter trump of heaven shall blow,
Cole, now rak’d up in ashes, then shall glow.
Here is another from Lincoln Cathedral, on Dr. Otwell Hill:—
|’Tis Otwell Hill, a holy Hill,|
And truly, sooth to say,
Upon this HILL be praised still
The Lord both night and day.
Upon this Hill, this Hill did cry
Aloud the scripture letter,
And strove your wicked villains by
Good conduct to make better.
And now this Hill, tho’ under stones,
Has the Lord’s Hill to lie on;
For Lincoln Hill has got his bones,
His soul the Hill of Zion.
The Guardian, for 3rd Dec., 1873, gives the following epitaph as being in Lillington Church,[Pg 138] Dorset, on the grave of a man named Cole, who died in 1669:—
|Reader, you have within this grave|
A Cole rak’d up in dust.
His courteous Fate saw it was Late,
And that to Bed he must.
Soe all was swept up to be Kept
Alive until the day
The Trump shall blow it up and shew
The Cole but sleeping lay.
Then do not doubt the Coles not out
Though it in ashes lyes,
That little sparke now in the Darke
Will like the Phœnyx rise.
Our next example was inscribed in Peterborough Cathedral, to the memory of Sir Richard Worme, ob. 1589:—
|Does Worm eat Worme? Knight Worme this truth confirms,|
For here, with worms, lies Worme, a dish for worms.
Does worm eat Worme? sure Worme will this deny,
For Worme with worms, a dish for worms don’t lie.
’Tis so, and ’tis not so, for free from worms
’Tis certain Worme is blest without his worms.
On a person named Cave, at Barrow-on-Soar, Leicestershire, we have the following epitaph:—
|Here, in this Grave, there lies a Cave.|
We call a Cave a Grave:
If Cave be Grave, and Grave be Cave,
[Pg 139]Then, reader, judge, I crave.
Whether doth Cave here lie in Grave,
Or Grave here lie in Cave;
If Grave in Cave here buried lie,
Then Grave, where is thy victory?
Go reader, and report, here lies a Cave,
Who conquers Death, and buries his own Grave.
In Bletchley, ob. 1615, on Mrs. Rose Sparke:—
|Sixty-eight years a fragrant Rose she lasted,|
Noe vile reproach her virtues ever blasted;
Her autumn past expects a glorious springe,
A second better life more flourishing.
Hearken unto me, ye holy children, and bud forth as a Rose.—Eccles. xxxix., 13.
From several punning epitaphs on the name of Rose we give one more specimen. It is from Tawton Church, ob. 1652, on Rose Dart:—
|A Rose springing Branch no sooner bloom’d,|
By Death’s impartial Dart lyes here entombed.
Tho’ wither’d be the Bud, the stock relyes
On Christ, both sure by Faith and Hope to rise.
In Barnstaple Church, ob. 1627, on Grace Medford, is an epitaph as follows:—
|Scarce seven years old this Grace in glory ends,|
Nature condemns, but Grace the change commends;
For Gracious children, tho’ they die at seven,
Are heirs-apparent to the Court of Heaven.
Then grudge not nature at so short a Race;
Tho’ short, yet sweet, for surely ’twas God’s Grace.
[Pg 140]On a punster the following was written:—
|Beneath the gravel and these stones,|
Lies poor Jack Tiffey’s skin and bones;
His flesh I oft have heard him say,
He hoped in time would make good hay;
Quoth I, “How can that come to pass?”
And he replied, “All flesh is grass!”
Several of the churchyards in the Isle of Man contain monuments of more than local interest, and will repay a careful inspection. The ancient graveyard of Kirk Braddan, surrounded with beautiful trees, and situated in a secluded spot not far distant from the busy town of Douglas, is the most celebrated. It not only contains numerous modern tombstones of unusual interest, but some Runic monuments of importance which have given rise to some strange stories, and suggested a theme for the poet and a study for the antiquary.
An old time-worn stone near the chief door of the church attracts much attention. It states:—
Here underlyeth ye body of ye Reverend Mr. Patrick Thompson, minister of God’s word forty years, at present Vicar of Kirk Braddan. Aged 67 anno 1678. Deceased ye 24th of April 1689.
It will be seen from the foregoing that the stone was prepared eleven years prior to the death of the vicar.
Some of the gravestones bear records of[Pg 142] longevity, the most important being the following:—
In memory of Patrick M’Carrey of Douglas, who departed this life the 9th December 1851, aged 102 years; also in memory of Jane M’Carrey, alias Leech, wife of the above-named Patrick M’Carrey, who departed this life the 19th December 1851, aged 100 years. They lived together upwards of 70 years.
It will be noticed that although the pair had lived together as man and wife for three score years and ten, the widow only lived ten days after the death of her husband. On many of the tombstones the maiden name of the wife is given, and preceding it is the word alias.
Major Wilks, on his retirement from the Governorship of St. Helena, where he had the charge of the Emperor Napoleon, settled in the Isle of Man. He brought with him a black servant, who died a few years after leaving his native country. He was buried in this graveyard, and over his remains Major Wilks erected a stone bearing an inscription as follows:—
An African, and native of St. Helena,
Died 28th May 1822, aged 18 years,
Born a slave, and exposed
In early life to the corrupt influence
[Pg 143]Of that unhappy state, he became
A model of Truth and Probity, for
The more fortunate of any country
This stone is erected by a grateful
Master to the memory of a faithful
Servant, who repaid the boon of
Liberty with unbounded attachment.
Governor Wilks was a gentleman of high character, personable and courtier-like manners. He was a writer of some ability, and was the author of a “History of the Mahratta War,” which Napoleon read and admired. The ex-Emperor greatly esteemed the Governor, and his departure from St. Helena, where it is said that he made many wise and lasting improvements, was much regretted. Shortly prior to leaving the island, Governor Wilks introduced his daughter to Napoleon, who, it is reported, looked at her with a pleasing smile and said, “I have long heard from various quarters of the superior elegance and beauty of Miss Wilks; but now I am convinced from my own eyes that report has scarcely done her sufficient justice,” and concluded by most politely bowing to Miss Wilks. In course of conversation he said, “You will be very glad to leave this island.” She replied “Oh no, sire; I am very sorry to go away.” “Oh![Pg 144] Mademoiselle, I wish I could change places with you.” He presented her with a bracelet in memory of her visit. She subsequently became Lady Buchan, and died in May, 1888, at the advanced age of ninety-one years; and at the time of her death it was stated that “she was one of the last surviving persons who had a distinct recollection of the first Napoleon.”
There is a curious bit of lore connected with the estate of Governor Wilks in the Isle of Man; it is situated not far from Kirk Braddan, and called Kirby, a name corrupted from two Manx words, “Cur Bee,” meaning “Give food.” In the olden days the owner of the estate had to provide bed and board to the Bishop on his journey to and from England, and from this circumstance is derived its name.
In the churchyard rest the mortal remains of the brother of Mrs. William Wordsworth, Captain Henry Hutchinson. The poet Wordsworth wrote the epitaph which appears on his tombstone. The inscription can only be read with great difficulty, and in a few years will be effaced by the effects of the weather on the tender stone. The following is a literal copy of the epitaph, and perhaps the only one which has been printed:—
[Pg 145]In memory of
born at Penrith, Cumberland,
14th June 1769.
At an early age he entered
upon a Seafaring life in the
course of which, being of a
thoughtful mind, he attained
great skill, and knowledge
of his Profession, and endured
in all climates severe
hardships with exemplary
courage & fortitude. The
latter part of his life, was
passed with a beloved Sister
upon this Island. He died at
Douglas the 23rd of May 1839,
much lamented by his Kindred
& Friends who have erected
this stone to testify their
sense of his mild virtues
& humble piety.
Hutchinson wrote poetry of much merit, and one of his sonnets is included in the works of Wordsworth. It is autobiographical in its character, and is as follows:—
|From early youth I ploughed the restless Main,|
My mind as restless and as apt to change;
Through every clime and ocean did I range,
In hope at length a competence to gain;
[Pg 146]For poor to Sea I went, and poor I still remain.
Year after year I strove, but strove in vain,
And hardships manifold did I endure,
For Fortune on me never deigned to smile;
Yet I at last a resting place have found,
With just enough life’s comforts to procure,
In a snug Cove on this our favoured Isle,
A peaceful spot where Nature’s gifts abound;
Then sure I have no reason to complain,
Though poor to Sea I went, and poor I still remain.
Inside the church there is another monument of some literary interest, placed to the memory of the Rev. John Kelly, LL.D., J.P., etc., Rector of Copford, near Colchester. He was the compiler of a polyglot dictionary in the Manx, Gaelic, and Erse languages. The work has quite a romantic history. We are told, “whilst conveying the manuscript, on which he had spent much time and care, to England, he was wrecked between Ramsey and Whitehaven, but, with great fortitude, he supported himself on the sea, and held the manuscript at arm’s-length above the waters for the space of five hours.” Several other interesting tablets are inside the church.
There is a striking monument in the churchyard to the memory of Lord Henry Murray, fifth son of the Duke of Atholl. The inscription states—“This sincere testimonial of affection and deep regret for their commander and their friend is[Pg 147] erected by the officers of the regiment.” He was the Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the Royal Manx Fencibles, and died in 1805, at the age of thirty-eight years.
In the Kirk Braddan Cemetery, situated not far from the old churchyard, is buried John Martin, the celebrated artist, and brother of the notorious Jonathan Martin, who set fire to York Minster, and the eccentric William Martin, the anti-Newtonian philosopher. Martin painted some remarkable pictures, and was a man of genius. He was one of the most popular artists of his day, although he was never a member of the Royal Academy. According to the local guide-books, “his latest productions,—‘The Great Day of His Wrath,’ ‘The Day of Judgment,’ and ‘The Plains of Heaven,’—owe much of their atmospheric grandeur and scenery to the residence of the painter on this island.” A marble slab on a large square vault bears the following inscription:—
In memory of John Martin, historical painter, born at Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, 19th July 1789, died at Douglas, Isle of Man, 17th February 1854.
Martin was a man greatly esteemed, and did much to promote intercourse between men and women devoted to literature, science, and art.[Pg 148] Mr. Samuel Carter Hall, in his pleasant “Memoirs of Great Men,” supplies a genial sketch of this artist. “Martin, like so many other artists,” says Mr. Hall, “had a terrible wrestle with adversity on his way to fame. I remember his telling me that once he ‘owned’ a shilling; it was needful to hoard it, but, being very hungry, he entered a baker’s shop to buy a penny loaf. To his shame and dismay, he found the shilling was a bad one. ‘So long afterwards,’ added the painter, then at the realisation of his hopes and aims, ‘when I had a shilling, I took care to get it changed into penny-pieces.’”
A gravestone in the churchyard of Santon Parish Church contains the following curious inscription:—
|Here, friend, is little Daniel’s tomb—|
To Joseph’s age he did arrive.
Sloth killing thousands in their bloom,
While labour kept poor Dan alive.
How strange, yet true, full seventy years
Was his wife happy in her tears!
Daniel Tear died 9th December 1707, aged 110 years.
We have under this heading some curious graveyard gleanings on remarkable men and women. Our first is from a tombstone erected in the churchyard of Spofforth, at the cost of Lord Dundas, telling the remarkable career of John Metcalf, better known as “Blind Jack of Knaresborough”:—
|Here lies John Metcalf, one whose infant sight|
Felt the dark pressure of an endless night;
Yet such the fervour of his dauntless mind,
His limbs full strung, his spirits unconfined,
That, long ere yet life’s bolder years began,
The sightless efforts mark’d th’ aspiring man;
Nor mark’d in vain—high deeds his manhood dared,
And commerce, travel, both his ardour shared.
’Twas his a guide’s unerring aid to lend—
O’er trackless wastes to bid new roads extend;
And, when rebellion reared her giant size,
’Twas his to burn with patriot enterprise;
For parting wife and babes, a pang to feel,
Then welcome danger for his country’s weal.
Reader, like him, exert thy utmost talent given!
Reader, like him, adore the bounteous hand of Heaven.
He died on the 26th of April, 1801, in the 93rd year of his age.
[Pg 150]A few jottings respecting Metcalf will probably be read with interest. At the age of six years he lost his sight by an attack of small-pox. Three years later he joined the boys in their bird-nesting exploits, and climbed trees to share the plunder. When he had reached thirteen summers he was taught music, and soon became a proficient performer; he also learned to ride and swim, and was passionately fond of field-sports. At the age of manhood it is said his mind possessed a self-dependence rarely enjoyed by those who have the perfect use of their faculties; his body was well in harmony with his mind, for when twenty-one years of age he was six feet one and a half inches in height, strong and robust in proportion. At the age of twenty-five, he was engaged as a musician at Harrogate. About this time he was frequently employed during the dark nights as a guide over the moors and wilds, then abundant in the neighbourhood of Knaresborough. He was a lover of horse-racing, and often rode his own animals. His horses he so tamed that when he called them by their respective names they came to him, thus enabling him to find his own amongst any number and without trouble. Particulars of the marriage of this individual read like a romance.[Pg 151] A Miss Benson, the daughter of an innkeeper, reciprocated the affections of our hero; however, the suitor did not please the parents of the “fair lady,” and they selected a Mr. Dickinson as her future husband. Metcalf, hearing that the object of his affection was to be married the following day to the young man selected by her father, hastened to free her by inducing the damsel to elope with him. Next day they were made man and wife, to the great surprise of all who knew them, and to the disappointment of the intended son-in-law. To all it was a matter of wonder how a handsome woman as any in the country, the pride of the place, could link her future with “Blind Jack,” and, for his sake, reject the many good offers made her. But the bride set the matter at rest by declaring: “His actions are so singular, and his spirit so manly and enterprising, that I could not help it.”
It is worthy of note that he was the first to set up, for the public accommodation of visitors to Harrogate, a four-wheeled chaise and a one-horse chair; these he kept for two seasons. He next bought horses and went to the coast for fish, which he conveyed to Leeds and Manchester. In 1745, when the rebellion broke out in [Pg 152]Scotland, he joined a regiment of volunteers raised by Colonel Thornton, a patriotic gentleman, for the defence of the House of Hanover. Metcalf shared with his comrades all the dangers of the campaign. He was defeated at Falkirk, and victorious at Culloden. He was the first to set up (in 1754) a stage-waggon between York and Knaresborough, which he conducted himself twice a week in summer, and once a week in winter. This employment he followed until he commenced contracting for road-making. His first contract was for making three miles of road between Minskip and Ferrensby. He afterwards erected bridges and houses, and made hundreds of miles of roads in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, and Derbyshire. He was a dealer in timber and hay, of which he measured and calculated the solid contents by a peculiar method of his own. The hay he always measured with his arms, and, having learned the height, he could tell the number of square yards in the stack. When he went out, he always carried with him a stout staff some inches taller than himself, which was of great service both in his travels and measurements. In 1778 he lost his wife, after thirty-nine years of conjugal felicity, in the sixty-first year of her age.[Pg 153] She was interred at Stockport. Four years later he left Lancashire, and settled at the pleasant rural village of Spofforth, not far distant from the town of his nativity. With a daughter, he resided on a small farm until he died, in 1801. At the time of his decease, his descendants were four children, twenty grandchildren, and ninety great-grandchildren.
In “Yorkshire Longevity,” compiled by Mr. William Grainge, of Harrogate, a most painstaking writer on local history, will be found an interesting account of Henry Jenkins, a celebrated Yorkshireman. It is stated: “In the year 1743, a monument was erected, by subscription, in Bolton churchyard, to the memory of Jenkins: it consists of a square base of freestone, four feet four inches on each side, by four feet six inches in height, surmounted by a pyramid eleven feet high. On the east side is inscribed:—
This monument was
erected by contribution,
in ye year 1743, to ye memory
of Henry Jenkins.
On the west side:—
[Pg 154]In the church on a mural tablet of black marble, is inscribed the following epitaph, composed by Dr. Thomas Chapman, Master of Magdalen College, Cambridge:—
Blush not, marble,
to rescue from oblivion
the memory of
a person obscure in birth,
but of a life truly memorable;
he was enriched
with the goods of nature,
if not of fortune,
in the duration,
if not variety,
of his enjoyments;
tho’ the partial world
despised and disregarded
his low and humble state,
the equal eye of Providence
beheld, and blessed it
with a patriarch’s health and length of days;
to teach mistaken man,
these blessings were entailed on temperance,
or, a life of labour and a mind at ease.
He lived to the amazing age of 169;
was interred here, Dec. 6, (or 9,) 1670,
and had this justice done to his memory 1743.
[Pg 155]This inscription is a proof that learned men, and masters of colleges, are not always exempt from the infirmity of writing nonsense. Passing over the modest request to the black marble not to blush, because, it may feel itself degraded by bearing the name of the plebeian Jenkins, when it ought only to have been appropriated to kings and nobles, we find but questionable philosophy in this inappropriate composition.
The multitude of great events which took place during the lifetime of this man are truly wonderful and astonishing. He lived under the rule of nine sovereigns of England—Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, Elizabeth, James I., Charles I., Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II. He was born when the Roman Catholic religion was established by law. He saw the dissolution of the monasteries, and the faith of the nation changed; Popery established a second time by Queen Mary; Protestantism restored by Elizabeth; the Civil War between Charles and the Parliament begun and ended; Monarchy abolished; the young Republic of England, arbiter of the destinies of Europe; and the restoration of Monarchy under the libertine Charles II. During his time, England was invaded by the Scotch; a Scottish[Pg 156] King was slain, and a Scottish Queen beheaded in England; a King of Spain and a King of Scotland were Kings in England; three Queens and one King were beheaded in England in his days; and fire and plague alike desolated London. His lifetime time appears like that of a nation, more than an individual, so long was it extended and so crowded was it with such great events.
The foregoing many incidents remind us of the well-known Scottish epitaph on Margery Scott, who died February 26th, 1728, at Dunkeld, at the extreme age of one hundred years. According to Chambers’s “Domestic Annals of Scotland,” the following epitaph was composed for her by Alexander Pennecuik, but never inscribed, and it has been preserved by the reverend statist of the parish, as a whimsical statement of historical facts comprehended within the life of an individual:—
|Stop, passenger, until my life you read,|
The living may get knowledge from the dead.
Five times five years I led a virgin life,
Five times five years I was a virtuous wife;
Ten times five years I lived a widow chaste,
Now tired of this mortal life I rest.
Betwixt my cradle and my grave hath been
Eight mighty kings of Scotland and a queen.
Full twice five years the Commonwealth I saw,
[Pg 157]Ten times the subjects rise against the law;
And, which is worse than any civil war,
A king arraigned before the subject’s bar.
Swarms of sectarians, hot with hellish rage,
Cut off his royal head upon the stage.
Twice did I see old prelacy pulled down,
And twice the cloak did sink beneath the gown.
I saw the Stuart race thrust out; nay, more,
I saw our country sold for English ore;
Our numerous nobles, who have famous been,
Sunk to the lowly number of sixteen.
Such desolation in my days have been,
I have an end of all perfection seen!
A footnote states: “The minister’s version is here corrected from one of the Gentleman’s Magazines for January, 1733; but both are incorrect, there having been during 1728 and the one hundred preceding years no more than six kings of Scotland.”
Rowland Deakin died in 1791, aged 95, and was buried in Astley churchyard, near Shrewsbury. His epitaph is as follows:—
|Many years I’ve seen, and|
Many things I have known,
Five Kings, two Queens,
And a Usurper on the throne;
But now lie sleeping in the dust
As you, dear reader, shortly must.
In Scott’s “Tales of a Grandfather,” there is an account of the Battle of Lillyard’s Edge,[Pg 158] which was fought in 1545. The spot on which the battle occurred is so called from an Amazonian Scottish woman, who is reported, by tradition, to have distinguished herself in the fight. An inscription which was placed on her tombstone was legible within the present century, and is said to have run thus:—
|Fair Maiden Lillyard lies under this stane,|
Little was her stature, but great was her fame;
Upon the English louns she laid mony thumps,
And when her legs were cutted off, she fought upon her stumps.
The tradition says that a beautiful young lady, called Lillyard, followed her lover from the little village of Maxton, and when she saw him fall in battle, rushed herself into the heat of the fight, and was killed, after slaying several of the English.
In Bolton churchyard, Lancashire, is a gravestone of considerable historical interest. It has been incorrectly printed in several books and magazines, but we are able to give a literal copy drawn from a carefully compiled “History of Bolton,” by John D. Briscoe:—
The servant of God, was borne in London, 1608, came into this toune in 1629, married Mary, daughter of James Crompton, of Breightmet, 1635, with whom he lived [Pg 159]comfortably 20 yeares, & begot 4 sons and 6 daughters. Since then he lived sole till the da of his death. In his time were many great changes, & terrible alterations—18 yeares Civil Wars in England, besides many dreadful sea fights—the crown or command of England changed 8 times, Episcopacy laid aside 14 yeares; London burnt by Papists, and more stately built againe; Germany wasted 300 miles; 200,000 protestants murdered in Ireland, by the Papists; this toune thrice stormed—once taken, & plundered. He went throw many troubles and divers conditions, found rest, joy, & happines only in holines—the faith, feare, and loue of God in Jesus Christ. He died the 29 of Ap and lieth here buried, 1684. Come Lord Jesus, o come quickly. Holiness is man’s happines.
[THE ARMS OF OKEY.]
We gather from Mr. Briscoe’s history that Okey was a woolcomber, and came from London to superintend some works at Bolton, where he married the niece of the proprietor, and died in affluence.
Bradley, the “Yorkshire Giant,” was buried in the Market Weighton Church, and on a marble monument the following inscription appears:—
In memory of
(Of Market Weighton,)
Who died May 30th, 1820,
Aged 33 years.
[Pg 160]Seven feet nine inches in Height,
On exhibiting himself at Hull Fair, in 1815, he issued a hand-bill, and the following is a copy of it:—
To be seen during the fair, at the house, No. 10, Queen Street, Mr. Bradley, the most wonderful and surprising Yorkshire Giant, 7 feet 9 inches high, weighs 27 stones; who has had the honour of being introduced to their Majesties & Royal Family at Windsor, where he was most graciously received. A more surprising instance of gigantic stature has never been beheld, or exhibited in any other kingdom; being proportionate in all respects, the sight of him never fails to give universal gratification, & will fill the beholder’s eyes with wonder & astonishment. He is allowed by the greatest judges to surpass all men ever yet seen. Admittance one shilling.
In “Celebrities of the Yorkshire Wolds,” by Frederick Ross, an interesting sketch of Bradley is given. Mr. Ross states that he was a man of temperate habits, and never drank anything stronger than water, milk, or tea, and was a very moderate eater.
In Hampsthwaite churchyard was interred a “Yorkshire Dwarf.” Her gravestone states:—
In memory of Jane Ridsdale, daughter of George and Isabella Ridsdale, of Hampsthwaite, who died at Swinton Hall, in the parish of Masham, on the 2nd day of[Pg 161] January, 1828, in the 59th year of her age. Being in stature only 31½ inches high.
|Blest be the hand divine which gently laid|
My head at rest beneath the humble shade;
Then be the ties of friendship dear;
Let no rude hand disturb my body here.
In the burial-ground of St. Martin’s, Stamford, is a gravestone to Lambert, a man of surprising corpulency:—
In remembrance of that prodigy in nature,
a native of Leicester,
who was possessed of an excellent and convivial mind, and
in personal greatness had no competitor.
He measured three feet one inch round the leg, nine feet four
inches round the body, and weighed 52 stones 11 lbs.
(14 lb. to the stone).
He departed this life on the 21st of June, 1809, aged 39 years.
As a testimony of respect, this stone was erected by his
friends in Leicester.
Respecting the burial of Lambert we gather from a sketch of his life the following particulars: “His coffin, in which there was a great difficulty to place him, was six feet four inches long, four feet four inches wide, and two feet four inches deep; the immense substance of his legs made it necessarily a square case. This coffin, which consisted of 112 superficial feet of elm, was built on two axle-trees, and four cog-wheels. Upon[Pg 162] these his remains were rolled into his grave, which was in the new burial-ground at the back of St. Martin’s Church. A regular descent was made by sloping it for some distance. It was found necessary to take down the window and wall of the room in which he lay to allow of his being taken away.”
In St. Peter’s churchyard, Isle of Thanet, a gravestone bears the following inscription:—
|In memory of Mr. Richard Joy called the|
Died May 18th 1742 aged 67
|Hercules Hero Famed for Strength|
At last Lies here his Breadth and Length
See how the mighty man is fallen
To Death ye strong and weak are all one
And the same Judgment doth Befall
Goliath Great or David small.
Joy was invited to Court to exhibit his remarkable feats of strength. In 1699 his portrait was published, and appended to it was an account of his prodigious physical power.
The next epitaph is from St. James’s Cemetery, Liverpool:—
Reader pause. Deposited beneath are the remains of
who was born without arms or hands, at Quantox Head, County of Somerset, 25th of October, 1784, died at [Pg 163]Liverpool, 2nd October, 1850. Few have passed through the vale of life so much the child of hapless fortune as the deceased: and yet possessor of mental endowments of no ordinary kind. Gifted with singular talents as an Artist, thousands have been gratified with the able productions of her pencil! whilst versatile conversation and agreeable manners elicited the admiration of all. This tribute to one so universally admired is paid by those who were best acquainted with the character it so briefly portrays. Do any inquire otherwise—the answer is supplied in the solemn admonition of the Apostle—
|Now no longer the subject of tears,|
Her conflict and trials are o’er
In the presence of God she appears
Our correspondent, Mrs. Charlotte Jobling, from whom we received the above, says: “The remainder is buried. It stands against the wall, and does not appear to now mark the grave of Miss Biffin.” Mr. Henry Morley, in his “Memoirs of Bartholomew Fair,” writing about the fair of 1799, mentions Miss Biffin. “She was found,” says Mr. Morley, “in the Fair, and assisted by the Earl of Morton, who sat for his likeness to her, always taking the unfinished picture away with him when he left, that he might prove it to be all the work of her own shoulder. When it was done he laid it before George III., in the year 1808; he obtained the[Pg 164] King’s favour for Miss Biffin; and caused her to receive, at his own expense, further instruction in her art from Mr. Craig. For the last twelve years of his life he maintained a correspondence with her; and, after having enjoyed favour from two King Georges, she received from William IV. a small pension, with which, at the Earl’s request, she retired from a life among caravans. But fourteen years later, having been married in the interval, she found it necessary to resume, as Mrs. Wright, late Miss Biffin, her business as a skilful miniature painter, in one or two of our chief provincial towns.”
The following on Butler, the author of “Hudibras,” merits a place in our pages. The first inscription is from St. Paul’s, Covent Garden:—
Butler, the celebrated author of “Hudibras,” was buried in this church. Some of the inhabitants, understanding that so famous a man was there buried, and regretting that neither stone nor inscription recorded the event, raised a subscription for the purpose of erecting something to his memory. Accordingly, an elegant tablet has been put up in the portico of the church, bearing a medallion of that great man, which was taken from his monument in Westminster Abbey.
The following lines were contributed by Mr.[Pg 165] O’Brien, and are engraved beneath the medallion:—
|A few plain men, to pomp and pride unknown,|
O’er a poor bard have rais’d this humble stone,
Whose wants alone his genius could surpass,
Victim of zeal! the matchless “Hudibras.”
What, tho’ fair freedom suffer’d in his page,
Reader, forgive the author—for the age.
How few, alas! disdain to cringe and cant,
When ’tis the mode to play the sycophant,
But oh! let all be taught, from Butler’s fate,
Who hope to make their fortunes by the great;
That wit and pride are always dangerous things,
And little faith is due to courts or kings.
The erection of the above monument was the occasion of this very good epigram by Mr. S. Wesley:—
|Whilst Butler (needy wretch!) was yet alive,|
No gen’rous patron would a dinner give;
See him, when starv’d to death, and turn’d to dust,
Presented with a monumental bust!
The poet’s fate is here in emblem shown,
He ask’d for bread, and he received a stone.
It is worth remarking that the poet was starving, while his prince, Charles II., always carried a “Hudibras” in his pocket.
The inscription on his monument in Westminster Abbey is as follows:—
Sacred to the Memory of
Who was born at Strensham, in Worcestershire, 1612, and died at London, 1680; a man of uncommon learning, wit, and probity: as admirable for the product of his genius, as unhappy in the rewards of them. His satire, exposing the hypocrisy and wickedness of the rebels, is such an inimitable piece, that, as he was the first, he may be said to be the last writer in his peculiar manner. That he, who, when living, wanted almost everything, might not, after death, any longer want so much as a tomb, John Barber, citizen of London, erected this monument 1721.
Here are a few particulars respecting an oddity, furnished by a correspondent: “Died, at High Wycombe, Bucks, on the 24th May, 1837, Mr. John Guy, aged 64. His remains were interred in Hughenden churchyard, near Wycombe. On a marble slab, on the lid of his coffin, is the following inscription:—
|Here, without nail or shroud, doth lie|
Or covered by a pall, John Guy.
Born May 17th, 1773.
Died —— 24th, 1837.
On his gravestone these lines are inscribed:—
|In coffin made without a nail,|
Without a shroud his limbs to hide;
For what can pomp or show avail,
Or velvet pall, to swell the pride.
Here lies John Guy beneath this sod,
Who lov’d his friends, and fear’d his God.
[Pg 167]This eccentric gentleman was possessed of considerable property, and was a native of Gloucestershire. His grave and coffin were made under his directions more than a twelvemonth before his death; the inscription on the tablet on his coffin, and the lines placed upon his gravestone, were his own composition. He gave all necessary orders for the conducting of his funeral, and five shillings were wrapped in separate pieces of paper for each of the bearers. The coffin was of singular beauty and neatness in workmanship, and looked more like a piece of tasteful cabinet-work intended for a drawing-room, than a receptacle for the dead.”
Near the great door of the Abbey of St. Peter, Gloucester, says Mr. Henry Calvert Appleby, at the bottom of the body of the building, is a marble monument to John Jones, dressed in the robes of an alderman, painted in different colours. Underneath the effigy, on a tablet of black marble, are the following words:—
John Jones, alderman, thrice mayor of the city, burgess of the Parliament at the time of the gunpowder treason; registrar to eight several Bishops of this diocese.
He died in the sixth year of the reign of King Charles I., on the first of June, 1630. He gave orders for his monument to be raised in his lifetime.[Pg 168] When the workmen had fixed it up, he found fault with it, remarking that the nose was too red. While they were altering it, he walked up and down the body of the church. He then said that he had himself almost finished, so he paid off the men, and died the next morning.
The next epitaph from Newark, Nottinghamshire, furnishes a chapter of local history:—
Sacred to the memory
Of Hercules Clay, Alderman of Newark,
Who died in the year of his Mayoralty,
Jan. 1, 1644.
On the 5th of March, 1643,
He and his family were preserved
By the Divine Providence
From the thunderbolt of a terrible cannon
Which had been levelled against his house
By the Besiegers,
And entirely destroyed the same.
Out of gratitude for this deliverance,
He has taken care
To perpetuate the remembrance thereof
By an alms to the poor and a sermon;
By this means
Raising to himself a Monument
More durable than Brass.
|The thund’ring Cannon sent forth from its mouth the devouring Flames|
Against my Household Gods, and yours, O Newark.
The Ball, thus thrown, Involved the House in Ruin;
But by a Divine Admonition from Heaven I was saved,
[Pg 169]Being thus delivered by a strength Greater than that of Hercules,
And having been drawn out of the deep Clay,
I now inhabit the stars on high.
Now, Rebel, direct thy unavailing Fires at Heaven,
Art thou afraid to fight against God—thou
Who hast been a Murderer of His People?
Thou durst not, Coward, scatter thy Flames
Whilst Charles is lord of earth and skies.
Also of his beloved wife
Mary (by the gift of God)
Partaker of the same felicity.
|Wee too made one by his decree|
That is but one in Trinity,
Did live as one till death came in
And made us two of one agen;
Death was much blamed for our divorce,
But striving how he might doe worse
By killing th’ one as well as th’ other,
He fairely brought us both togeather,
Our soules together where death dare not come,
Our bodyes lye interred beneath this tomb,
Wayting the resurrection of the just,
O knowe thyself (O man), thou art but dust.
It is stated that Charles II., in a gay moment, asked Rochester to write his epitaph. Rochester immediately wrote:—
|Here lies our mutton-eating king,|
Whose word no man relied on;
Who never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one.
[Pg 170]On which the King wrote the following comment:—
|If death could speak, the king would say,|
In justice to his crown,
His acts they were the ministers’s,
His words they were his own.
Mr. Thomas Broadbent Trowsdale tells us: “In the fine old church of Chepstow, Monmouthshire, nearly opposite the reading-desk, is a memorial stone with the following curious acrostic inscription, in capital letters:—
|Here Sept. 9th, 1680,|
A True Born Englishman,
|Who, in Berkshire, was well known|
To love his country’s freedom ’bove his own:
But being immured full twenty years
Had time to write, as doth appears—
|H ere or elsewhere (all’s one to you or me)|
E arth, Air, or Water gripes my ghostly dust,
N one knows how soon to be by fire set free;
R eader, if you an old try’d rule will trust,
Y ou’ll gladly do and suffer what you must.
M y time was spent in serving you and you,
A nd death’s my pay, it seems, and welcome too;
R evenge destroying but itself, while I
T o birds of prey leave my old cage and fly;
E xamples preach to the eye—care then (mine says),
N ot how you end, but how you spend your days.
[Pg 171]“This singular epitaph points out the last resting-place of Henry Marten, one of the judges who condemned King Charles I. to the scaffold. On the Restoration, Marten was sentenced to perpetual imprisonment, Chepstow Castle being selected as the place of his incarceration. There he died in 1680, in the twenty-eighth year of his captivity, and seventy-eighth of his age. He was originally interred in the chancel of the church; but a subsequent vicar of Chepstow, Chest by name, who carried his petty party animosities even beyond the grave, had the dead man’s dust removed, averring that he would not allow the body of a regicide to lie so near the altar. And so it was that Marten’s memorial came to occupy its present position in the passage leading from the nave to the north aisle. We are told that one Mr. Downton, a son-in-law of this pusillanimous parson, touched to the quick by his relative’s harsh treatment of poor Marten’s inanimate remains, retorted by writing this satirical epitaph for the Rev. Mr. Chest’s tombstone:—
|Here lies at rest, I do protest,|
One Chest within another!
The chest of wood was very good,—
Who says so of the other?
[Pg 172]“Some doubt has been thrown on the probability of a man of Marten’s culture having written, as is implied in the inscription, the epitaph which has a place on his memorial.
“The regicide was a son of Sir Henry Marten, a favourite of the first James, and by him appointed Principal Judge of the Admiralty and Dean of Arches. Young Henry was himself a prominent person during the period of the disastrous Civil War, and was elected Member of Parliament for Berkshire in 1640. He was, in politics, a decided Republican, and threw in his lot with the Roundhead followers of sturdy Oliver. When the tide of popular favour turned in Charles II.’s direction, and Royalty was reinstated, Marten and the rest of the regicides were brought to judgment for signing the death warrant of their monarch. The consequence, in Marten’s case, was life-long imprisonment, as we have seen, in Chepstow Castle.”
Next is a copy of an acrostic epitaph from Tewkesbury Abbey.
Here lyeth the body of Thomas Merrett, of Tewkesbury, Barber-chirurgeon, who departed this life the 22nd day of October, 1699.
|T hough only Stone Salutes the reader’s eye,|
[Pg 173]H ere (in deep silence) precious dust doth lye,
O bscurely Sleeping in Death’s mighty store,
M ingled with common earth till time’s no more,
A gainst Death’s Stubborne laws, who dares repine,
S ince So much Merrett did his life resigne.
M urmurs and Teares are useless in the grave,
E lse hee whole Vollies at his Tomb might have.
R est in Peace; who like a faithful steward,
R epair’d the Church, the Poore and needy cur’d;
E ternall mansions do attend the Just,
T o clothe with Immortality their dust,
T ainted (whilst under ground) with wormes and rust.
In the churchyard of Irongray a table stone, reared by Sir Walter Scott, commemorates Helen Walker, the prototype of Jeanie Deans, whose integrity and tenderness are, in his “Heart of Midlothian,” so admirably portrayed by that great novelist. The following is the inscription:—
This stone was erected
by the author of Waverley
to the memory of
who died in the year of God 1791.
This humble individual practised in real
life the virtues
with which fiction has invested
the imaginary character of
refusing the slightest departure
[Pg 174]even to save the life of a sister,
she nevertheless showed her
kindness and fortitude,
in rescuing her from the severity of the
law at the expense of personal
exertions which the time
rendered as difficult as the motive was
Respect the grave of poverty
when combined with love of truth
and dear affection.
Erected October 1831.
Robert Paterson, better known as “Old Mortality,” rests in the churchyard of Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire. We learn from Dr. Charles Rogers’s “Monuments and Monumental Inscriptions in Scotland” (1871) that Paterson was born in 1715, and was the youngest son of Walter Paterson and Margaret Scott, who rented the farm of Haggista, parish of Hawick. He some time served an elder brother who had a farm in Comcockle-muir, near Lochmaben. He married Elizabeth Gray, who, having been cook in the family of Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, of Closeburn, procured for him an advantageous lease of a freestone quarry at Morton. Here he resided many years, labouring with exemplary diligence. From his youth attached to the sect of the[Pg 175] Cameronians, he evinced a deep interest in the memory of those who had suffered in the cause of Presbytery. Occasionally he restored their tombstones. At length his zeal in the restoration of these stony memorials acquired the force of a passion. In 1758 he began to travel from parish to parish, ever working with hammer and chisel in renewing the epitaphs of the martyrs. His self-imposed task no entreaties of wife or children could induce him to abandon. Though reduced to the verge of poverty, he persisted in his labours till the last day of his existence. He died at Banpend village, near Lockerbie, on the 29th January, 1801, aged eighty-six. At his death he was found possessed of twenty-seven shillings and sixpence, which were applied to the expenses of his funeral. Sir Walter Scott, who has made “Old Mortality” the subject of a novel, intended to rear a tombstone to his memory, but was unable to discover his place of sepulture. Since the discovery has been made, Messrs. Black, of Edinburgh, who possess the copyright of the Waverley novels, have reared at the grave of the old enthusiast a suitable memorial stone. It is thus inscribed:—
|Erected to the memory of Robert Paterson,|
[Pg 176]the “Old Mortality” of Sir Walter Scott,
who was buried here February, 1801.
|“Why seeks he with unwearied toil|
Through death’s dim walk to urge his way
Reclaim his long asserted spoil,
And lead oblivion into day.”
Here is a picture of the stone placed over the grave of William Shakespeare, at Stratford-on-Avon, with its well-known and frequently quoted inscription:—
At Loddon, in Norfolk, is buried one who, like the bard of Avon, had a great horror of his bones being removed. The epitaph is as follows:—
|When on this spot affection’s downcast eye,|
The lucid tribute shall no more bestow;
When friendship’s breast no more shall heave a sigh,
In kind remembrance of the dust below;
Should the rude sexton digging near this tomb,
A place of rest for others to prepare,
The vault beneath to violate presume;
[Pg 177]May some opposing Christian cry “Forbear”—
Forbear! rash mortal, as thou hop’st to rest
When death shall lodge thee in thy destined bed,
With ruthless spade, unkindly to molest
The peaceful slumbers of the kindred dead.
In Tideswell churchyard, among several other singular gravestone inscriptions, the following occurs, and is worth reprinting:—
|In memory of|
Brian, son of John and Martha Haigh,
who died 22nd December, 1795,
Aged 17 years.
|Come, honest sexton, with thy spade,|
And let my grave be quickly made;
Make my cold bed secure and deep,
That, undisturbed, my bones may sleep.
Until that great tremendous day,
When from above a voice shall say,—
“Awake, ye dead, lift up your eyes,
Your great Creator bids you rise!”
Then, free from this polluted dust,
I hope to be amongst the just.
Under the shadow of the ancient church of Bakewell, Derbyshire, is a stone containing a long inscription to the memory of John Dale, barber-surgeon, and his two wives, Elizabeth Foljambe and Sarah Bloodworth. It ends thus:—
Know posterity, that on the 8th of April, in the year of grace 1757, the rambling remains of the above John Dale[Pg 178] were, in the 86th yeare of his pilgrimage, laid upon his two wives.
|This thing in life might raise some jealousy,|
Here all three lie together lovingly,
But from embraces here no pleasure flows,
Alike are here all human-joys and woes;
Here Sarah’s chiding John no longer hears,
And old John’s rambling Sarah no more fears;
A period’s come to all their toylsome lives,
The good man’s quiet; still are both his wives.
On a slab affixed to the east wall of St. Mary’s Church, Whitby, is an inscription containing some remarkable coincidences:—
Here lie the bodies of Francis Huntrodds and Mary his wife, who were both born on the same day of the week month and year (viz.) Sepr ye 19th 1600 marry’d on the day of their birth and after having had 12 children born to them died aged 80 years on the same day of the year they were born September ye 19th 1680, the one not one above five hours before ye other.
|Husband and wife that did twelve children bear,|
Dy’d the same day; alike both aged were
’Bout eighty years they liv’d, five hours did part
(Ev’n on the marriage day) each tender heart
So fit a match, surely could never be,
Both in their lives, and in their deaths agree.
The following is from St. Julian’s Church, Shrewsbury:—
The remains of Henry Corser of this parish, Chirurgeon, who Deceased April 11, 1691, and Annie his wife, who followed him the next day after:—
|We man and wife,|
Conjoined for Life,
Fetched our last breath
So near that Death,
Who part us would,
Yet hardly could.
In bed of dust,
Here we remaine,
Till rise we must.
A double prize this grave doth finde,
If you are wise keep it in minde.
In the church of Little Driffield, East Yorkshire, were placed in modern times two inscriptions to the memory of Alfred, King of Northumbria. The first states:—
In the chancel of this church lie the remains of Alfred, King of Northumbria, who departed this life in the year 705.
The present one reads as follows:—
WITHIN THIS CHANCEL
LIES INTERRED THE BODY OF
KING OF NORTHUMBRIA
DEPARTED THIS LIFE
JANUARY 19TH A.D. 705
IN THE 20TH YEAR OF HIS REIGN
STATUTUM EST OMNIBUS SEMIL MORI.
In St. Anne’s churchyard, Soho, erected by[Pg 180] the Earl of Orford (Walpole), in 1758, these lines were (or are) to be read:—
|Near this place is interred|
Theodore, King of Corsica,
Who died in this Parish
December XI., MDCCLVI.,
Immediately after leaving
The Kings Bench Prison,
By the benefit of the Act of Insolvency;
In consequence of which
He registered his Kingdom of Corsica
For the use of his Creditors!
The grave—great teacher—to a level brings
Heroes and beggars, galley-slaves and kings!
But Theodore this moral learned, ere dead;
Fate pour’d its lessons on his living head,
Bestow’d a kingdom, and denied him bread.
In the burial-ground of the Island of Juan Fernandez, a monument states:—
In Memory of
A native of Largo, in the county of Fife, Scotland,
Who lived on this island, in complete
solitude, for four years and four months.
He was landed from the Cinque Ports galley, 96 tons,
18 guns, A.D. 1704, and was taken off in the
Duke, privateer, 12th February, 1709.
He died Lieutenant of H.M.S. Weymouth,
A.D. 1723, aged 47 years.
This Tablet is erected near Selkirk’s look out,
[Pg 181]By Commodore Powell and the Officers
of H.M.S. Topaze, A.D. 1868.
It is generally believed that the adventures of Selkirk suggested to Daniel Defoe the attractive story of “Robinson Crusoe.” In the “Dictionary of English Literature,” by William Davenport Adams, will be found important information bearing on this subject.
In Gloucester Notes and Queries we read as follows: “Stout’s Hill is the name of a house situated on high ground to the south of the village of Uley, built in the style which, in the last century, was intended for Gothic, but which may be more exactly defined as the ‘Strawberry Hill’ style. In a house of earlier date lived the father of Samuel Rudder, the laborious compiler of the ‘History of Gloucestershire’ (1779). He lies in the churchyard of Uley, on the south side of the chancel, and his gravestone has a brass-plate inserted, which records a remarkable fact:—
Underneath lies the remains of Roger Rutter, alias Rudder, eldest son of John Rutter, of Uley, who was buried August 30, 1771, aged 84 years, having never eaten flesh, fish, or fowl, during the course of his long life.
Tradition tells us that this vegetarian lived mainly on ‘dump,’ in various forms. Usually he ate[Pg 182] ‘plain dump;’ when tired of plain dump, he changed his diet to ‘hard dump;’ and when he was in a special state of exhilaration, he added the variety ‘apple dump’ to his very moderate fare.”
On Saturday, the 2nd May, 1800, the remains of William Cowper were interred in that part of Dereham Church known as St. Edmund’s Chapel. He died without a will, but Lady Hesketh consented to administer his estate, and eventually placed a tablet to his memory on the wall of the chancel, near his grave. It is constructed of white marble, and over the top are represented two volumes, labelled respectively “Holy Bible” and “The Task.” The inscription as follows was written by Cowper’s friend, Hayley:—
|In memory of|
William Cowper, Esq.,
Born in Hertfordshire in 1731,
Buried in this Church in 1801.
|Ye who with warmth the public triumph feel|
Of talents, dignified by sacred zeal,
Here, to devotion’s bard devoutly just,
Pay your fond tribute due to Cowper’s dust!
England, exulting in his spotless fame,
Ranks with her dearest sons his fav’rite name;
Sense, fancy, wit, suffice not all to raise
[Pg 183]So clear a title to affection’s praise;
His highest honours to the heart belong;
His virtues form’d the magic of his song.
Charles and Mary Lamb are buried in the churchyard of Edmonton, and a white headstone, marks the spot, on which is recorded, in bold black letters, the following inscription written by Lamb’s friend, the Rev. Henry Francis Cary, the translator of Dante:—
|To the memory|
died 27th December 1834, aged 59.
|Farewell, dear friend, that smile, that harmless mirth,|
No more shall gladden our domestic hearth;
That rising tear, with pain forbid to flow,
Better than words no more assuage our woe;
That hand outstretched from small but well-earned store,
Yield succour to the destitute no more,
Yet art thou not all lost, thro’ many an age
With sterling sense of humour shall thy page
Win many an English bosom pleased to see
That old and happier vein revived in thee.
This for our earth, and if with friends we share
Our joys in heaven we hope to meet thee there.
|Also Mary Anne Lamb,|
Sister of the above.
Born 3rd December 1767, Died 20th May 1847.
[Pg 184]In the church is a memorial to Lamb and Cowper. It occupies a good position at the west end of the north wall, and consists of two inscribed white marble panels, enshrined in a graceful freestone design, the arches of which are supported by veined marble pilasters. In the upper portion of each panel is carved a portrait in relief, the one on the right showing the head of Cowper, while on the left the features of Lamb are characteristically depicted.
The following are the inscriptions contained on the memorial:—
In memory of
“The Gentle Elia” and author of
Tales from Shakespeare, etc.
Born in the Inner Temple 1775
educated at Christ’s Hospital
died at Bay Cottage Edmonton 1834
and buried beside his sister Mary
in the adjoining churchyard.
|At the centre of his being lodged|
A soul by resignation sanctified
O, he was good if e’er a good man lived!
In memory of
William Cowper, the Poet
[Pg 185]Born in Berkhampstead 1731
Died and buried at East Dereham 1800.
He was the author of
The Diverting History of “John Gilpin.”
|John Gilpin was a citizen|
Of credit and renown,
A trainband captain eke was he
Of famous London town.
John Gilpin’s spouse said to her dear,
Though wedded we have been
These twice ten tedious years, yet we
No holiday have seen.
To-morrow is our wedding day,
And we will then repair
Unto “the Bell” at Edmonton,
All in a chaise and pair, etc.
(Along base of design.)
This monument to commemorate the visit of the London and Middlesex Archæological Association/ to Edmonton church and parish on the 26th July 1888/ was erected by the President of the Meeting Joshua W. Butterworth, F.S.A.
For some years we have been interested in the life and poetry of Mary Pyper, “A Poet of the Poor,” and in our “Literary Byways” have told at length the story of her career. We there state, through the exertions of Dr. Rogers in May, 1885, a handsome cross was erected over her remains in[Pg 186] Greyfriars’ churchyard, Edinburgh, simply bearing her name, “Mary Pyper.” Such was the information we received from a friend whom we induced to see the memorial and give us particulars of it, and to our surprise when we visited her grave in April, 1899, we found on the cross the following inscription, which we presume has been added since its erection:—
in memory of
her gift as a writer of
Born 25th May,
She died at
25th May, 1870.
Let me go! The day is breaking;
Morning bursts upon the eye;
Death this mortal frame is shaking,
But the soul can never die!
The lines are from her poem entitled “The Christian’s View of Death,” which finds a place[Pg 187] in several standard works of poetry. Her best known production is an “Epitaph: A Life,” and often attributed incorrectly to German sources. It is as follows:—
|“I came at morn—’twas Spring, and smiled,|
The fields with green were clad;
I walked abroad at noon, and lo!
’Twas Summer—I was glad.
I sate me down—’twas Autumn eve,
And I with sadness wept;
I laid me down at night—and then
’Twas Winter—and I slept.”
Among self-taught poets Mary Pyper is entitled to an honourable place.
Mr. John T. Page furnishes us with the following inscriptions copied from Hogarth’s monument in Chiswick churchyard. It was erected, says Mr. Page, in 1771, seven years after his death, and is a tall piece of masonry crowned with a funeral urn. Beneath this, on the side facing the church, are carved in low relief a mask, maul-stick, palette and brushes, a laurel wreath and an open book bearing the title of his famous “Analysis of Beauty.” On the same side, on a small block of Aberdeen granite at the foot of the memorial, is recorded the fact that it was
It has well stood the “storm and stress” since then, but is now beginning to show signs of the need of another restoration, for, on the east side, over the inscription, the combined armorial bearings of Hogarth and his wife are as nearly as possible obliterated.
The inscriptions are as follows:—
|Farewell great Painter of mankind!|
Who reach’d the noblest point of Art,
Whose pictur’d Morals charm the Mind,
And through the Eye correct the Heart.
If Genius fire thee, Reader, stay;
If Nature touch thee, drop a Tear;
If neither move thee, turn away,
For Hogarth’s honour’d dust lies here.
Here lieth the body
of William Hogarth, Esqr.,
who died October the 26th 1764
aged 67 years
Mrs. Jane Hogarth
wife of William Hogarth Esqr.
Obit. the 13th of November 1789
Ætat 80 years.
Here lieth the Body
of Mrs. Anne Hogarth Sister
to William Hogarth Esqr.
She died August the 13th 1771
aged 70 years
Also the Body of
Mary Lewis Spinster
died 25th March 1808
Aged 88 years.
Here lieth the Body
of Dame Judith Thornhill
Relict of Sr James Thornhill Knight
of Thornhill in the County of Dorset
She died November the 12th 1757
aged 84 years.
The lapse of one hundred and thirty years, says Mr. Page, has not served to dim the ardour with which the works of William Hogarth are cherished by the English nation. His “Harlot’s Progress” not only served to reconcile his father-in-law, Sir James Thornhill, to the runaway match the plebeian Hogarth had contracted three years before with his daughter, but it is still looked upon as his chef d’œuvre by many eminent critics; and there is nearly always to be seen a crowd round his “Marriage a la Mode” in the[Pg 190] National Gallery. The virulent contest with Wilkes and Churchill, with which his last days were embittered, has long ago been forgotten, and the name of William Hogarth still lives, and will be popular for all time through his admired series of paintings and engravings, which are prized and hoarded with an ever-increasing love by their happy possessors.
Fairholt, in his “Homes, Works, and Shrines[Pg 191] of English Artists” gives an interesting sketch of the career of William Etty, the son of a miller, who for seven years was an apprentice to a printer in Hull, but devoted all his spare time to art, and eventually after many struggles won a high place amongst the painters of the period. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Olave, York, where from the beautiful grounds of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, and through one of the arches of the ruined Abbey of St. Mary, his tomb may be seen. The arch near his grave was closed, but was opened to bring in sight his tomb. Mr. Fairholt is in error in saying it bears the simple inscription:—
William Etty, Royal Academician.
Some years ago from the other side of the tomb we copied the following inscription from a crumbling stone:—
William Etty, Royal Academician,
Who in his brilliant works has left
an enduring monument of his exalted genius.
Earnestly aiming to attain that lofty position on which
his highly gifted talents have placed him, he throughout life
exhibited an undeviating perseverance in his profession.
To promote its advancement in his beloved country he watched the progress
[Pg 192]of those engaged in its study with the most disinterested kindness.
To a cultivated and highly poetical mind
Were united a cheerfulness and sweetness of disposition
With great simplicity and urbanity of manners.
He was richly endeared to all who knew him.
His piety was unaffected, his faith in Christ sincere,
and his devotion to God exemplary.
He was born at York, March 10th, 1787, and died
in his native city, November 13th, 1849.
“Why seek ye the living among the dead?”—Luke xxii., 5.
Etty, says Fairholt, had that wisdom which few men possess, the wisdom of a contented mind. He loved his quiet home, in his provincial birthplace, better than the bustle of London, or the notoriety he might obtain by a residence there. His character and his talent would ensure him attention and deference anywhere, but he preferred his own nook by the old church at York. He probably felt with the poet, that
|“The wind is strongest on the highest hills,|
The quiet life is in the vale below.”
The remains of Cruikshank rest in the crypt in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, and over his grave the following inscription appears:—
Designer, Etcher, Painter.
Born at No. — Duke Street, St. George’s, Bloomsbury, London
[Pg 193]on September 27th, 1792.
Died at 263, Hampstead Road, St. Pancras, London,
on February 1st, 1878.
Aged 86 years.
|In memory of his Genius and his Art,|
His matchless Industry and worthy Work
For all his fellow-men, This monument
Is humbly placed within this sacred Fane
By her who loved him best, his widowed wife.
Feb. 9th, 1880.
A sketch of his life has been written by Walter Hamilton, under the title of “George Cruikshank, Artist and Humourist.” (London: Elliot Stock, 1878.) William Bates, B.A., M.R.C.S., wrote “George Cruikshank, the Artist, the Humourist, and the Man, with Some Account of his Brother Robert.” (Birmingham: Houghton & Hammond, 1878.) Blanchard Jerrold wrote “The Life of George Cruikshank.” (London: Chatto & Windus, a new edition with eighty-four illustrations, 1883.) An able article contributed to the Westminster Review, by William Makepeace Thackeray, has been reproduced in book form by George Redway, London (1884). Some time ago the following appeared in a newspaper:—One day while Dr. B. W. Richardson was engaged at his house with an old patient who had been away many years in India, George Cruikshank’s card[Pg 194] was handed to the doctor. “It must be the grandson, or the son, at any rate, of the great artist I remember as a boy,” said the patient. “It is impossible that George Cruikshank of Queen Caroline’s trial-time can be alive!” The doctor asked the vivacious George to come in. He tripped in, in his eighty-fourth year, and, when the old officer expressed his astonishment, George exclaimed, “I’ll show you whether he is alive!” With this he took the poker and tongs from the grate, laid them upon the carpet, and executed the sword dance before Dr. Richardson’s astonished patient.
At the east end of the High Street, Portsmouth, and nearly opposite the house before which the Duke of Buckingham was stabbed by Felton, in 1628, stands the Unitarian Chapel. John Pounds habitually worshipped here on a Sunday evening, and the place where he used to sit, in front of one of the side galleries, just to the right of the minister, is still pointed out. He lies buried in the graveyard, on the left-hand side of the chapel, near the end of the little foot-path which leads round the building to the vestries. Shortly after his death a tablet was placed in the chapel, beneath the gallery, to his memory. Although his grave[Pg 195] was dug as near as possible to that part of the chapel wall opposite where he used to sit, yet this tablet was, apparently without any reason, put some distance away from the spot. In shape and material it is of the usual orthodox style—a square slab of white marble, edged with black, and inscribed on it are the words:—
Erected by friends
as a memorial of their esteem
and respect for
who, while earning his livelihood
by mending shoes, gratuitously
educated, and in part clothed and fed,
some hundreds of poor children.
He died suddenly
on the 1st of January, 1839,
aged 72 years.
Thou shalt be blessed: for they
cannot recompense thee.
Not long after this tablet was placed in position the idea was mooted that a monument should be erected over his grave. The Rev. Henry Hawkes, the minister who then had charge of the place, at once took the matter up, and subscriptions came in so well that the monument was more than paid for. The surplus money was wisely laid out in the purchase of a Memorial Library, which still[Pg 196] occupies one of the ante-rooms of the chapel. The monument erected over the grave is of a suitable description, plain but substantial, and is in form a square and somewhat tapering block of stone about four feet high. On the front is the following inscription:—
|Underneath this Monument|
rest the mortal remains of
the Philanthropic Shoemaker
of St. Mary’s Street, Portsmouth,
working at his trade in a very
small room, gratuitously
instructed in a useful education
and partly clothed and fed,
some hundreds of girls and boys.
He died suddenly,
on New Year’s Day, MDCCCXXXIX,
while in his active beneficence,
aged LXXII years.
|“Well done thou good and faithful|
servant, enter thou into the joy
of thy Lord.”
“Verily I say unto thee, inasmuch as
thou hast done it unto one of the
least of these My brethren, thou
hast done it unto Me.”
On the side facing the library door there are, in addition to the above, the ensuing sentences:—
has been erected chiefly
by means of Penny Subscriptions,
not only from the Christian
with whom John Pounds
in the adjoining Chapel,
but from persons of widely
different Religious opinions
throughout Great Britain
and from the most distant parts
of the World.
In connection with this memorial
has also been founded in like manner
within these precincts
a Library to his memory
designed to extend
to an indefinite futurity
the solid mental and moral usefulness
to which the philanthropic shoemaker
was so earnestly devoted
to the last day of his life.
Pray for the blessing of God to prosper it.
Large trees overshade the modest monument, and the spot is a quiet one, being as far as possible away from the street.
On the gravestone of Richard Turner, Preston, a hawker of fish, the following inscription appears:
[Pg 198]Beneath this stone are deposited the remains of Richard Turner, author of the word Teetotal, as applied to abstinence from all intoxicating liquors, who departed this life on the 27th day of October, 1846, aged 56 years.
In Mr. W. E. A. Axon’s able and entertaining volume, “Lancashire Gleanings” (pub. 1883), is an interesting chapter on the “Origin of the Word ‘Teetotal.’” In the same work we are told that Dr. Whitaker, the historian of Whalley, wrote the following epitaph on a model publican:—
Here lies the Body of
More than fifty years he was the
perpetual Innkeeper in this Town.
Withstanding the temptations of that dangerous calling,
he maintained good order in his
House, kept the Sabbath day Holy,
frequented the Public Worship
with his Family, induced his guests
to do the same, and regularly
partook of the Holy Communion.
He was also bountiful to the Poor,
in private as well as in public,
and, by the blessings of Providence
on a life so spent, died
possessed of competent Wealth,
Feb. 28, 1813,
aged 77 years.
The churchyard of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire,[Pg 199] contains a gravestone bearing an inscription as follows:—
|As a warning to female virtue,|
And a humble monument of female chastity,
This stone marks the grave of
Who, in the 20th year of her age, having
Incautiously repaired to a scene of amusement,
Was brutally violated and murdered
On the 27th of May, 1817.
|Lovely and chaste as the primrose pale,|
Rifled of virgin sweetness by the gale,
Mary! the wretch who thee remorseless slew
Avenging wrath, who sleeps not, will pursue;
For though the deed of blood was veiled in night,
Will not the Judge of all mankind do right?
Fair blighted flower, the muse that weeps thy doom,
Rears o’er thy murdered form this warning tomb.
The writer of the foregoing epitaph was Dr. Booker, vicar of Dudley. The inscription is associated with one of the most remarkable trials of the present century. It will not be without interest to furnish a few notes on the case. One Abraham Thornton was tried at the Warwick Assizes for the murder of Mary Ashford, and acquitted. The brother and next of kin of the deceased, not being satisfied with the verdict, sued out, as the law allowed him, an appeal against Thornton, by which he could be put on his trial[Pg 200] again. The law allowed the appeal in case of murder, and it also gave option to the accused of having it tried by wager of law or by wager of battle. The brother of the unfortunate woman had taken no account of this, and accordingly, not only Mr. Ashford but the judge, jury, and bar were taken greatly aback, and stricken with dismay, when the accused, being requested to plead, took a paper from Mr. Reader, his counsel, and a pair of gloves, one of which he drew on, and, throwing the other on the ground, exclaimed, “Not guilty; and I am ready to defend the same with my body!” Lord Ellenborough on the bench appeared grave, and the accuser looked amazed, so the court was adjourned to enable the judge to have an opportunity of conferring with his learned brethren. After several adjournments, Lord Ellenborough at last declared solemnly, but reluctantly, that wager of battle was still the law of the land, and that the accused had a right of appeal to it. To get rid of the law an attempt was made, by passing a short and speedy Act of Parliament, but this was ruled impossible, as it would have been ex post facto, and people waited curiously to see the lists set up in the Tothill Fields. As Mr. Ashford[Pg 201] refused to meet Thornton, he was obliged to cry “craven!” After that the appellor was allowed to go at large, and he could not be again tried by wager of law after having claimed his wager of battle. In 1819 an Act was passed to prevent any further appeals for wager of battle.
The following is from a gravestone in Saddleworth churchyard, and tells a painful story:—
Here lie interred the dreadfully bruised and lacerated bodies of William Bradbury and Thomas his son, both of Greenfield, who were together savagely murdered, in an unusually horrible manner, on Monday night, April 2nd, 1832, old William being 84, and Thomas 46 years old.
|Throughout the land, wherever news is read,|
Intelligence of their sad death has spread;
Those now who talk of far-fam’d Greenfield’s hills
Will think of Bill o’ Jacks and Tom o’ Bills.
Such interest did their tragic end excite
That, ere they were removed from human sight,
Thousands upon thousands daily came to see
The bloody scene of the catastrophe.
One house, one business, and one bed,
And one most shocking death they had;
One funeral came, one inquest pass’d,
And now one grave they have at last.
The following on a Hull character is from South Cave churchyard:—
|In memory of Thomas Scratchard,|
Who dy’d rich in friends, Dec. 10, 1809.
Aged 58 years.
|That Ann lov’d Tom, is very true,|
Perhaps you’ll say, what’s that to you.
Who e’er thou art, remember this,
Tom lov’d Ann, ’twas that made bliss.
In Welton churchyard, near Hull, the next curious inscription appears on an old gravestone:—
Here lieth He ould
Jeremy who hath
eight times maried
been but now in his
ould age he lies
in his cage under
the grass so green
which Jeremiah Simp-
son departed this
Life in the 84 yeare
of his age in the
year of our Lord
According to “Shropshire Folk-Lore” (published 1883), Edward Burton, of Longner, Shrewsbury, died in 1558, and in the garden of Longner Hall is a plain altar-tomb, dated 1614. He was a zealous Protestant, and died suddenly of excitement on hearing Shrewsbury bells ring for the accession of Queen Elizabeth. The[Pg 203] minister of St. Chad’s Church, Shrewsbury, refused to permit his body to be buried there; it was therefore taken home again and laid in his garden:—
|Was’t for denying Christ, or some notorious fact,|
That this man’s body Christian burial lackt?
Oh no; his faithful true profession
Was the chief cause, what then was held transgression.
When Pop’ry here did reign, the See of Rome
Would not admit to any such, a tomb
Within their Idol Temple Walls, but he,
Truly professing Christianity,
Was like Christ Jesus in a garden laid,
Where he shall rest in peace till it be said,
“Come, faithful servant, come, receive with Me,
A just reward of thy integrity.”
Mr. J. Potter Briscoe favours us with an account of a Nottingham character, and a copy of his epitaph. Vincent Eyre was by trade a needle-maker, and was a firm and consistent Tory in politics, taking an active interest in all the party struggles of the period. His good nature and honesty made him popular among the poorer classes, with whom he chiefly associated. A commendable trait in his character is worthy of special mention, namely, that, notwithstanding frequent temptations, he spurned to take a bribe from anyone. In the year 1727 an election for a Member of[Pg 204] Parliament took place, and all the ardour of Vin’s nature was at once aroused in the interests of his favourite party. The Tory candidate, Mr. Borlase Warren, was opposed by Mr. John Plumtree, the Whig nominee, and, in the heat of the excitement, Vin emphatically declared that he should not mind dying immediately if the Tories gained the victory. Strange to relate, such an event actually occurred, for when the contest and the “chairing” of the victor was over, he fell down dead with joy, September 6th, 1727. The epitaph upon him is as follows:—
|Here lies Vin Eyre;|
Let fall a tear
For one true man of honour;
No courtly lord,
Who breaks his word,
Will ever be a mourner.
In freedom’s cause
He stretched his jaws,
Exhausted all his spirit,
Then fell down dead.
It must be said
He was a man of merit.
Let Freemen be
As brave as he,
And vote without a guinea;
Vin Eyre is hurled
To t’other world,
And ne’er took bribe or penny.
True to his friend, to helpless parent kind,
He died in honour’s cause, to interest blind.
Why should we grieve life’s but an airy toy?
We vainly weep for him who died of joy.
The following lines to the memory of Thomas Stokes are from his gravestone in Burton churchyard, upon which a profile of his head is cut. He for many years swept the roads in Burton:—
was raised by Subscription
to the memory of
an eccentric, but much respected,
Deaf and Dumb man,
better known by the name of
who departed this life Feb. 25th, 1837,
aged 54 years.
|What man can pause and charge this senseless dust|
With fraud, or subtilty, or aught unjust?
How few can conscientiously declare
Their acts have been as honourably fair?
No gilded bait, no heart ensnaring need
Could bribe poor Stokes to one dishonest deed.
Firm in attachment to his friends most true—
Though Deaf and Dumb, he was excell’d by few.
Go ye, by nature form’d without defect,
And copy Tom, and gain as much respect.
Next we deal with an instance of pure affection. The churchyard of the Yorkshire village of Bowes contains the grave of two lovers, whose touching[Pg 206] fate suggested Mallet’s beautiful ballad of “Edwin and Emma.” The real names of the couple were Rodger Wrightson and Martha Railton. The story is rendered with no less accuracy than pathos by the poet:—
|Far in the windings of the vale,|
Fast by a sheltering wood,
The safe retreat of health and peace,
A humble cottage stood.
There beauteous Emma flourished fair,
Beneath a mother’s eye;
Whose only wish on earth was now
To see her blest and die.
Long had she filled each youth with love,
Each maiden with despair,
And though by all a wonder owned,
Yet knew not she was fair.
Till Edwin came, the pride of swains,
A soul devoid of art;
And from whose eyes, serenely mild,
Shone forth the feeling heart.
We are told that Edwin’s father and sister were bitterly opposed to their love. The poor youth pined away. When he was dying Emma was permitted to see him, but the cruel sister would scarcely allow her to bid him a word of farewell. Returning home, she heard the passing bell toll for the death of her lover—
|Just then she reached, with trembling step,|
Her aged mother’s door—
“He’s gone!” she cried, “and I shall see
That angel face no more!”
“I feel, I feel this breaking heart
Beat high against my side”—
From her white arm down sunk her head;
She, shivering, sighed, and died.
The lovers were buried the same day and in the same grave. In the year 1848, Dr. F. Dinsdale, F.S.A., editor of the “Ballads and Songs of David Mallet,” etc., erected a simple but tasteful monument to the memory of the lovers, bearing the following inscription:—
Rodger Wrightson, junr., and Martha Railton, both of Bowes; buried in one grave. He died in a fever, and upon tolling of his passing bell, she cry’d out My heart is broken and in a few hours expired, purely thro’ love, March 15, 1714-15. Such is the brief and touching record contained in the parish register of burials. It has been handed down by unvarying tradition that the grave was at the west end of the church, directly beneath the bells. The sad history of these true and faithful lovers forms the subject of Mallet’s pathetic ballad of “Edwin and Emma.”
In Middleton Tyas Church, near Richmond, is the following:—
This Monument rescues from Oblivion
the Remains of the Reverend John Mawer, D.D.,
Late vicar of this Parish, who died Nov. 18, 1763, aged 60.
As also of Hannah Mawer, his wife, who died
Dec. 20th, 1766, aged 72.
Buried in this Chancel.
They were persons of eminent worth.
The Doctor was descended from the Royal Family
of Mawer, and was inferior to none of his illustrious
ancestors in personal merit, being the greatest
Linguist this Nation ever produced.
He was able to speak & write twenty-two Languages,
and particularly excelled in the Eastern Tongues,
in which he proposed to His Royal Highness
Frederick Prince of Wales, to whom he was firmly
attached, to propagate the Christian Religion
in the Abyssinian Empire; a great and noble
Design, which was frustrated by the
Death of that amiable Prince; to the great mortification of
this excellent Person, whose merit meeting with
no reward in this world, will, it’s to be hoped, receive
it in the next, from that Being which Justice
only can influence.
We bring together under this heading a number of specimens that we could not include in the foregoing chapters of classified epitaphs.
An epitaph on a brass in the south aisle of Barton Church, in Norfolk, is notable as being one of the oldest in existence in English, such memorials being usually in Latin at the period from which it dates. The inscription is as follows:—
|Here are laid under this stone in the cley|
Thomas Amys and his wyffe Margery.
Sometime we were, as you now be,
And as we be, after this so shall ye.
Of the good as God had, the said Thomas lent,
Did make this chapel of a good intent.
Wherefore they desire of you that be
To pray for them to the last eternity.
I beseach all people far and ner
To pray for me Thomas Amys heartily,
Which gave a mesbooke and made this chapel here,
And a suit of blew damask also gave I.
Of God 1511 and 5 yere
I the said Thomas deceased verily,
And the 4th day of August was buried here,
On whose soul God have mercy.
[Pg 210]In the churchyard of Stanton Harcourt is a gravestone bearing the following inscription:—
|Near this place lie the bodies of|
John Hewet and Mary Drew,
an industrious young Man
and virtuous Maiden of this Parish;
Who, being at Harvest Work
(with several others)
were in one instant killed by Lightning
the last day of July 1718.
|Think not, by rig’rous Judgment seiz’d,|
A Pair so faithful could expire;
Victims so pure Heav’n saw well pleas’d,
And snatch’d them in celestial fire.
Live well, and fear no sudden fate;
When God calls Virtue to the grave,
Alike ’tis Justice soon or late,
Mercy alike to kill or save.
Virtue unmov’d can hear the call,
And face the flash that melts the ball.
According to a letter from Gay, the poet, to Fenton, relating the death of the pair, who were lovers, this epitaph was written by Pope, and the memorial erected at the cost of Lord Harcourt on the condition that Gay or Pope should write the epitaph. Gay gives the following as the joint production of the two poets:—
|When Eastern lovers feed the fun’ral fire,|
[Pg 211]On the same pile the faithful pair expire:
Here pitying Heav’n that virtue mutual found,
And blasted both, that it might neither wound.
Hearts so sincere th’ Almighty saw well pleas’d,
Sent his own lightning, and the victims seiz’d.
“But,” wrote Gay, “my Lord is apprehensive the country people will not understand this; and Mr. Pope says he’ll make one with something of Scripture in it, and with as little of poetry as Hopkins and Sternhold.” Hence the lines which appear on the tomb of the lovers.
Our next example is from Bury St. Edmunds churchyard:—
|Here lies interred the Body of|
A young maiden of this town,
Born of Roman Catholic parents,
And virtuously brought up,
Who, being in the act of prayer
Repeating her vespers,
Was instantaneously killed by a
flash of Lightning, August 16th,
1785. Aged 9 years.
|Not Siloam’s ruinous tower the victims slew,|
Because above the many sinn’d the few,
Nor here the fated lightning wreaked its rage
By vengeance sent for crimes matur’d by age.
For whilst the thunder’s awful voice was heard,
The little suppliant with its hands uprear’d.
Addressed her God in prayers the priest had taught,
His mercy craved, and His protection sought;
[Pg 212]Learn reader hence that wisdom to adore,
Thou canst not scan and fear His boundless power;
Safe shalt thou be if thou perform’st His will,
Blest if he spares, and more blest should He kill.
From Bury St. Edmunds is the following inscription which tells a sad story of the low value placed on human life at the close of the eighteenth century:—
Pause at this humble stone it records
The fall of unguarded youth by the allurements of
vice and treacherous snares of seduction.
On the 23rd April, 1800, in the 22nd year of her age,
Suffered a just and ignominious death.
For admitting her abandoned seducer in the
dwelling-house of her mistress, on the 3rd of
October, 1799, and becoming the instrument in
his hands of the crime of robbery and
These were her last words:
“May my example be a warning to thousands.”
A lover at York inscribed the following lines to his sweetheart, who was accidentally drowned, December 24th, 1796:—
|Nigh to the river Ouse, in York’s fair city,|
Unto this pretty maid death shew’d no pity;
As soon as she’d her pail with water fill’d
Came sudden death, and life like water spill’d.
In Holy Trinity Church, Hull, is an elegant marble monument by Earle, with figures of a[Pg 213] mother and two children. The inscription tells a painful story, and is as follows:—
Our John William,
In the sixteenth year of his age, on the night of January 19th, 1858, was swept by the fury of a storm, from the pierhead, into the sea. We never found him—he was not, for God took him; the waves bore him to the hollow of the Father’s hand. With hope and joy we cherished our last surviving flower, but the wind passed over it, and it was gone.
An infant brother had gone before, October 15th, 1841. In heaven their angel does always behold the face of our Father.
To the memory of these
We, their parents, John and Louisa Gray erect this monument of human sorrow and Christian hope. “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight!”
The record of the death of the parents follows.
An accidental death is recorded on a tombstone in Burton Joyce churchyard, placed to the memory of Elizabeth Cliff, who died in 1835:—
|This monumental stone records the name|
Of her who perished in the night by flame
Sudden and awful, for her hoary head;
She was brought here to sleep amongst the dead.
Her loving husband strove to damp the flame
Till he was nearly sacrificed the same,
Her sleeping dust, tho’ by thee rudely trod,
Proclaims aloud, prepare to meet thy God.
A tombstone in Creton churchyard states:—
|On a Thursday she was born,|
On a Thursday made a bride,
On a Thursday put to bed,
On a Thursday broke her leg, and
On a Thursday died.
From Kingsbridge, Devonshire, we have the following:—
|Here I lie, at the chancel door,|
Here I lie, because I’m poor:
The farther in, the more you pay,
Here I lie as warm as they.
In the churchyard of Kirk Hallam, Derbyshire, a good specimen of a true Englishman is buried, named Samuel Cleater, who died May 1st, 1811, aged 65 years. The two-lined epitaph has such a genuine, sturdy ring about it, that it deserves to be rescued from oblivion:—
|True to his King, his country was his glory,|
When Bony won, he said it was a story.
A monument in Bakewell Church, Derbyshire, is a curiosity, blending as it does in a remarkable manner business, loyalty, and religion:—
To the memory of Matthew Strutt, of this town, farrier, long famed in these parts for veterinary skill. A good neighbour, and a staunch friend to Church and King. Being Churchwarden at the time the present peal of bells were hung, through zeal for the house of God, and unremitting attention to the airy business of the belfry, he caught a cold, which terminated his existence, May 25, 1798, in the 68th year of his age.
From a Photo by Wellsted & Son, Hull.
[Pg 215]The old church of St. Mary’s, Sculcoates, Hull, contains several interesting monuments, and we give a picture from a specially taken photograph for this volume of a quaint-looking mural memorial, having on it an inscription in shorthand. In Sheahan’s “History of Hull,” the following translation is given:—
In the vault beneath this stone lies the body of Mrs. Jane Delamoth, who departed this life, 10th January, 1761. She was a poor sinner, but not wicked without holiness, departing from good works, and departed in the faith of the Catholic Church, in full assurance of eternal happiness, by the agony and bloody sweat, by the cross and passion, by the precious death and burial, by the glorious resurrection and ascension of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
We believe that the foregoing is a unique epitaph, at all events we have not heard of or seen any other monumental inscription in shorthand.
The following curious epitaph is from Wirksworth, Derbyshire:—
Near this place lies the body of
Once an eminent Quill-driver to the attorneys in this Town. He died the 17th of Nov., 1787, aged 67.
Viewing Philip in a moral light, the most prominent and remarkable features in his character were his zeal and invincible attachment to dogs and cats, and his unbounded benevolence towards them, as well as towards his fellow-creatures.
To the Critic.
|Seek not to show the devious paths Phil trode,|
Nor tear his frailties from their dread abode,
In modest sculpture let this tombstone tell,
That much esteem’d he lived, and much regretted fell.
At Castleton, in the Peak of Derbyshire, is another curious epitaph, partly in English and partly in Latin, to the memory of an attorney-at-law named Micah Hall, who died in 1804. It is said to have been penned by himself, and is more epigrammatic than reverent. It is as follows:—
The memory of
Micah Hall, Gentleman,
Who died on the 14th of May, 1804,
Aged 79 years.
|Quid eram, nescitis;|
Quid sum, nescitis;
Ubi abii, nescitis;
This verse has been rendered thus:—
|What I was you know not—|
What I am you know not—
Whither I am gone you know not—
Go about your business.
In Sarnesfield churchyard, near Weobley, is the tombstone of John Abel, the celebrated architect of the market-houses of Hereford, Leominster, Knighton, and Brecknock, who died in the year[Pg 217] 1694, having attained the ripe old age of ninety-seven. The memorial stone is adorned with three statues in kneeling posture, representing Abel and his two wives; and also displayed are the emblems of his profession—the rule, the compass, and the square—the whole being designed and sculptured by himself. The epitaph, a very quaint one, was also of his own writing, and runs thus:—
|This craggy stone a covering is for an architector’s bed;|
That lofty buildings raisèd high, yet now lyes low his head;
His line and rule, so death concludes, are lockèd up in store;
Build they who list, or they who wist, for he can build no more.
|His house of clay could hold no longer|
May Heaven’s joys build him a stronger.
Vive ut vivas in vitam æternam.
In the churchyard of Walcott, Norfolk, the following cynical epitaph may be seen:—
|In memory of|
who died 5th of August, 1834, aged 72 years.
|Under this marble, or under this sill,|
Or under this turf, or e’en what you will,
Whatever an heir, or a friend in his stead,
Or any good creature, shall lay o’er my head,
Lies one who ne’er cared, and still cares not a pin
What they said, or may say, of the mortal within,
But who, living and dying, serene, still, and free,
Trusts in God that as well as he was he shall be.
[Pg 218]From Gilling churchyard, Richmondshire, is the following:—
|Unto the mournful fate of young John Moore,|
Who fell a victim to some villain’s power;
In Richmond Lane, near to Ask Hall, ’tis said,
There was his life most cruelly betray’d.
Shot with a gun, by some abandon’d rake,
Then knock’d o’ th’ head with a hedging stake,
His soul, I trust, is with the blest above,
There to enjoy eternal rest and love;
Then let us pray his murderer to discover,
That he to justice may be brought over.
The crime occurred in 1750, and the murderer was never discovered.
From a gravestone in Patcham was copied the following inscription:—
|Sacred to the memory of|
who was unfortunately shot on Tuesday evening,
Nov. 7, 1796.
|Alas! swift flew the fated lead,|
Which pierced through the young man’s head,
He instant fell, resigned his breath,
And closed his languid eyes on death.
And you who to this stone draw near,
Oh! pray let fall the pitying tear,
From this sad instance may we all
Prepare to meet Jehovah’s call.
The real story of Scales’ death is given in Chambers’s “Book of Days,” and is as follows: Daniel[Pg 219] Scales was a desperate smuggler, and one night he, with many more, was coming from Brighton heavily laden, when the Excise officers and soldiers fell in with them. The smugglers fled in all directions; a riding officer, as such persons were called, met this man, and called upon him to surrender his booty, which he refused to do. The officer knew that “he was too good a man for him, for they had tried it out before; so he shot Daniel through the head.”
The following inscription copied from a monument at Darfield, near Barnsley, records a murder which occurred on the spot where the stone is placed:—
To the memory of
Who was murdered at Darfield,
On the 11th of October, 1841.
|At midnight drear by this wayside|
A murdered man poor Depledge died,
The guiltless victim of a blow
Aimed to have brought another low,
From men whom he had never harmed
By hate and drunken passions warmed.
Now learn to shun in youth’s fresh spring
The courses which to ruin bring.
A stone dated 1853, the Minster graveyard, Beverley, is placed to the memory of the victim of[Pg 220] a railway carriage tragedy, and bears the following extraordinary inscription:—
|Mysterious was my cause of Death|
In the Prime of Life I Fell;
For days I Lived yet ne’er had breath
The secret of my fate to tell.
Farewell my child and husband dear
By cruel hands I leave you,
Now that I’m dead, and sleeping here,
My Murderer may deceive you,
Though I am dead, yet I shall live,
I must my Murderer meet,
And then Evidence, shall give
My cause of death complete.
Forgive my child and husband dear,
That cruel Man of blood;
He soon for murder must appear
Before the Son of God.
Near the west end of Holy Trinity Church, Stalham, Norfolk, may be seen a gravestone bearing the following inscription:—
|James Amies, 1831.|
|Here lies an honest independent man,|
Boast more ye great ones if ye can;
I have been kicked by a bull and ram,
Now let me lay contented as I am.
The following singular verse occurs upon a tombstone contiguous to the chancel door in Grindon churchyard, near Leek, Staffordshire:—
|Farewell, dear friends; to follow me prepare;|
Also our loss we’d have you to beware,
And your own business mind. Let us alone,
For you have faults great plenty of your own.
Judge not of us, now We are in our Graves
Lest ye be Judg’d and awfull Sentence have;
For Backbiters, railers, thieves, and liars,
Must torment have in Everlasting Fires.
On a stone in the north aisle of the church of St. Peter of Mancroft, Norwich, is the following pathetic inscription:—
Susan Browne, the last deceased of eleven children (the first ten interr’d before the northern porch) from their surviving parents, John and Susan his wife. She sought a city to come, and upon the 30th of August departed hence and found it.
|Ao Æt. 19. Dm. 1686.|
|Here lies a single Flower scarcely blowne,|
Ten more, before the Northern Door are strowne,
Pluckt from the self-same Stalke, only to be
Transplanted to a better Nursery.
From Hedon, in Holderness, East Yorkshire, is the following:—
Here lyeth the body of
William Strutton, of Patrington,
Buried the 18th of May 1734
Who had, by his first wife, twenty-eight children,
And by a second seventeen;
Own father to forty-five
Grand-father to eighty-six,
[Pg 222]Great Grand-father to ninety-seven,
And Great, Great-Grand-father to twenty-three;
In all two hundred and fifty-one.
In Laurence Lideard churchyard, says Pettigrew, is a similar one:—
The man that rests in this grave has had 8 wives,
by whom he had 45 children, and 20 grand-
children. He was born rich, lived and
died poor, aged 94 years,
July 30th, 1774.
Born at Bewdley in Worcestershire in 1650.
According to the epitaph of Ann Jennings at Wolstanton:—
|Some have children—some have none—|
Here lies the mother of twenty-one.
The following quaint epitaph in Dalry Cemetery commemorates John Robertson, a native of the United States, who died 29th September, 1860, aged 22:—
|Oh, stranger! pause, and give one sigh|
For the sake of him who here doth lie
Beneath this little mound of earth,
Two thousand miles from land of birth.
The Rev. William Mason, the Hull poet, married in 1765 Mary Sherman, of Hull. Two years later she died of consumption at Bristol. In the Cathedral of that city is a monument containing the following lines by her husband:—
|Take, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear:|
Take that best gift which heaven so lately gave:
To Bristol’s fount I bore with trembling care
Her faded form; she bow’d to taste the wave,
And died. Does youth, does beauty, read the line?
Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm?
Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine;
Ev’n from the grave thou shalt have power to charm.
Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee;
Bid them in duty’s sphere as meekly move;
And if so fair, from vanity as free;
As firm in friendship, and as fond in love—
Tell them, though ’tis an awful thing to die,
(’Twas e’en to thee) yet the dread path once trod,
Heav’n lifts its everlasting portals high,
And bids “the pure in heart behold their God.”
How different is the sentiment of the foregoing to the following, said by Pettigrew and other compilers of collections of epitaphs to be inscribed on a monument in a Cumberland church, but as a matter of fact it does not exist on a memorial:—
Here lies the bodies
Of Thomas Bond and Mary his wife.
She was temperate, chaste, and charitable;
She was proud, peevish, and passionate.
She was an affectionate wife, and a tender mother:
Her husband and child, whom she loved,
Seldom saw her countenance without a disgusting frown,
[Pg 224]Whilst she received visitors, whom she despised, with an
Her behaviour was discreet towards strangers;
Independent in her family.
Abroad, her conduct was influenced by good breeding;
At home, by ill temper.
She was a professed enemy to flattery,
And was seldom known to praise or commend;
The talents in which she principally excelled,
Were difference of opinion, and discovering flaws and
She was an admirable economist,
And, without prodigality,
Dispensed plenty to every person in her family;
Would sacrifice their eyes to a farthing candle.
She sometimes made her husband happy with her good
Much more frequently miserable—with her many failings:
Insomuch that in thirty years cohabitation he often
That maugre of all her virtues,
He had not, in the whole, enjoyed two years of matrimonial
Finding that she had lost the affections of her husband,
As well as the regard of her neighbours,
Family disputes having been divulged by servants,
She died of vexation, July 20, 1768,
Aged 48 years.
Her worn out husband survived her four months and two days,
And departed this life, Nov. 28, 1768,
In the 54th year of his age.
William Bond, brother to the deceased, erected this stone,
As a weekly monitor, to the surviving wives of this parish,
That they may avoid the infamy
Of having their memories handed to posterity
With a Patch Work character.
In St. Peter’s churchyard, Barton-on-Humber, there is a tombstone with the following strange inscription:—
|Doom’d to receive half my soul held dear,|
The other half with grief, she left me here.
Ask not her name, for she was true and just;
Once a fine woman, but now a heap of dust.
As may be inferred, no name is given; the date is 1777. A curious and romantic legend attaches to the epitaph. In the above year an unknown lady of great beauty, who is conjectured to have loved “not wisely, but too well,” came to reside in the town. She was accompanied by a gentleman, who left her after making lavish arrangements for her comfort. She was proudly reserved in her manners, frequently took long solitary walks, and studiously avoided all intercourse. In giving birth to a child she died, and did not disclose her name or family connections. After her decease, the gentleman who came with her arrived, and was[Pg 226] overwhelmed with grief at the intelligence which awaited him. He took the child away without unravelling the secret, having first ordered the stone to be erected, and delivered into the mason’s hands the verse, which is at once a mystery and a memento. Such are the particulars gathered from “The Social History and Antiquities of Barton-on-Humber,” by H. W. Ball, issued in 1856. Since the publication of Mr. Ball’s book, we have received from him the following notes, which mar somewhat the romantic story as above related. We are informed that the person referred to in the epitaph was the wife of a man named Jonathan Burkitt, who came from the neighbourhood of Grantham. He had been valet de chambre to some gentleman or nobleman, who gave him a large sum of money on his marrying the lady. They came to reside at Barton, where she died in childbirth. Burkitt, after the death of his wife, left the town, taking the infant (a boy), who survived. In about three years he returned, and married a Miss Ostler, daughter of an apothecary at Barton. He there kept the “King’s Head,” a public-house at that time. The man got through about £2,000 between leaving Grantham and marrying his second wife.
[Pg 227]On the north wall of the chancel of Southam Church is a slab to the memory of the Rev. Samuel Sands, who, being embarrassed in consequence of his extensive liberality, committed suicide in his study (now the hall of the rectory). The peculiarity of the inscription, instead of suppressing inquiry, invariably raises curiosity respecting it:—
Near this place was deposited, on the 23rd April, 1815, the remains of S. S., 38 years rector of this parish.
From St. Margaret’s, Lynn, on William Scrivenor, cook to the Corporation, who died in 1684, we have the following epitaph:—
|Alas! alas! Will. Scrivenor’s dead, who by his art,|
Could make Death’s Skeleton edible in each part.
Mourn, squeamish Stomachs, and ye curious Palates,
You’ve lost your dainty Dishes and your Salades:
Mourn for yourselves, but not for him i’ th’ least.
He’s gone to taste of a more Heav’nly Feast.
The next was written by Capt. Morris on Edward Heardson (thirty years cook to the Beefsteak Society):—
|His last steak done; his fire rak’d out and dead,|
Dish’d for the worms himself, lies honest Ned:
We, then, whose breasts bore all his fleshly toils,
Took all his bastings and shared all his broils;
Now, in our turn, a mouthful carve and trim,
And dress at Phœbus’ fire, one scrap for him:—
[Pg 228]His heart which well might grace the noblest grave,
Was grateful, patient, modest, just and brave;
And ne’er did earth’s wide maw a morsel gain
Of kindlier juices or more tender grain;
His tongue, where duteous friendship humbly dwelt,
Charm’d all who heard the faithful zeal he felt;
Still to whatever end his chops he mov’d,
’Twas all well season’d, relish’d, and approv’d;
This room his heav’n!—When threat’ning Fate drew nigh
The closing shade that dimm’d his ling’ring eye,
His last fond hopes, betray’d by many a tear,
Were—That his life’s last spark might glimmer here;
And the last words that choak’d his parting sigh—
“Oh! at your feet, dear masters, let me die!”
In St. John’s churchyard, Chester, is an inscription as follows:—
Under this stone lieth the Broken
Remains of Stephen Jones who had
his leg cut off without the Consent of
Wife or Friends on the 23rd October,
1842, in which day he died. Aged 31 years.
Reader I bid you farewell. May
the Lord have mercy on you in the
day of trouble.
An inscription in St. Michael’s churchyard, Macclesfield, illustrates the weakness for the love of display of the poor at a funeral:—
dyd 19 Novr., 1755, aged 80.
The chief concern of her life for the last twenty years was to order and provide for her funeral. Her greatest[Pg 229] pleasure was to think and talk about it. She lived many years on a pension of ninepence a week, and yet she saved £5, which, at her own request, was laid out on her funeral.
We give as the frontispiece to this volume a picture of the Martyrs’ Monument, in Greyfriars’ churchyard, Edinburgh. The graves of the martyrs are in that part of the burial-ground where criminals were interred, and an allusion is made to this fact in the inscription that follows:—
|Halt, passenger, take heed what you do see,|
This tomb doth shew for what some men did die.
Here lies interr’d the dust of those who stood
’Gainst perjury, resisting unto blood;
Adhering to the covenants and laws;
Establishing the same: which was the cause
Their lives were sacrific’d unto the lust
Of prelatists abjur’d; though here their dust
Lies mixt with murderers and other crew,
Whom justice justly did to death pursue.
But as for them, no cause was to be found
Worthy of death; but only they were found
Constant and steadfast, zealous, witnessing
For the prerogatives of Christ their King;
Which truths were seal’d by famous Guthrie’s head,
And all along to Mr. Renwick’s blood:
They did endure the wrath of enemies:
Reproaches, torments, deaths and injuries.
But yet they’re those, who from such troubles came,
And now triumph in glory with the Lamb.
[Pg 230]From May 27th, 1661, that the most noble Marquis of Argyle was beheaded, to the 17th February, 1688, that Mr. James Renwick suffered, were one way or other murdered and destroyed for the same cause about eighteen thousand, of whom were executed at Edinburgh about an hundred of noblemen, gentlemen, ministers and others, noble martyrs for Jesus Christ. The most of them lie here.
The above monument was first erected by James Currie, merchant, Pentland, and others, in 1706; renewed in 1771.
Rev. vi. 9.—And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the
altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for
the testimony which they held.
10.—And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11.—And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Chap. vii. 14.—These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Chap. ii. 10.—Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
The following is stated to have been added to the monument at a subsequent date, but at the present time there is not any trace of it:—
|Yes, though the sceptic’s tongue deride|
Those martyrs who for conscience died—
Though modern history blight their fame,
And sneering courtiers hoot the name
Of men who dared alone be free,
Amidst a nation’s slavery;—
Yet long for them the poet’s lyre
Shall wake its notes of heavenly fire;
Their names shall nerve the patriot’s hand
Upraised to save a sinking land;
And piety shall learn to burn
With holier transports o’er their urn.
Peace to their mem’ry! let no impious breath
Sell their fair fame, or triumph o’er their death.
Let Scotia’s grateful sons their tear-drops shed,
Where low they lie in honour’s gory bed;
Rich with the spoil their glorious deeds had won,
And purchas’d freedom to a land undone—
A land which owes its glory and its worth
To those whom tyrants banish’d from the earth.
For the accomplishment of this resolution, the three kingdoms lie under no small debt of gratitude to the Covenanters. They suffered and bled both in fields and on scaffolds for the cause of civil and religious liberty; and shall we reap the fruit of their sufferings, their prayers and their blood, and yet treat their memory either with indifference or scorn? No! whatever minor faults may be laid to their charge, whatever trivial accusations may be brought against them, it cannot be but acknowledged that they were the men who, “singly and alone,” stood forward in defence of Scotland’s dearest rights, and to whom we at the present day owe everything that is valuable to us either as men or as Christians.
Reproduced from a picture published in 1796.
It is an easy matter to arrange words forming a simple sentence in English to appear like Latin. This was successfully done in 1796, when a print was published under the title of “The Puzzle.” “This curious inscription is humbly dedicated,” says the author, “to the penetrating geniuses of Oxford, Cambridge, Eton, and the learned Society[Pg 233] of Antiquaries.” The words have every appearance of a Latin inscription, but if the stops and capital letters or division of the words are disregarded, the epitaph may easily be read as follows:—
this stone reposeth
tripe-seller, of Impington,
as doth his consort Jane.
Abdidge, John, 5
Abel, John, 216
Abery, Sarah, 37
Abingdon, John, 7
Acrostic, 170, 172, 173
Actors and Musicians, Epitaphs on, 73-91
Adderly, Sampson, 38
Alexander, J. H., 83
Alfred, King of Northumbria, 179
Alley, Samuel, 142
Amelia, Princess, 45
Amies, James, 220
Amputation, Death from, 228
Amys, Thomas, 209
Andrews, Sarah, 41
Appleby, H. C., quoted, 167
Armison, Sarah, 40
Ashford, Mary, 199
Atholl, Duke of, 146
Ault Hucknall, 93
Axon, W. E. A., quoted, 198
Bacchanalian Epitaphs, 105-118
Bagshaw, Samuel, 15
Baily, Mary, 41
Bakewell, 121-125, 117, 214
Ball, H. W., quoted, 225
Barber-surgeons, 172-173, 177
Bardsley, Rev. C. W., 22
Barker, Christopher, 33
Barton, Norfolk, 209
Bassoon player, 77
Battle, wager of, 199-201
Beach, Mary, 43
Becke, Rev. J., 136
Bede, Cuthbert, quoted, 125
Beefsteak Society, 227
Bell, Nathaniel, 39
Bellow, J. F., 52
Betts, Sarah, 41
Beverley, 52, 58, 81, 219
Biffin, Sarah, 162
Bill o’ Jacks and Tom o’ Bills, 201
Billinge, Wm., 49
Blackett, Joseph, 17
Blind Jack, 149-153
Bloomfield, Mary, 228
Boar’s Head, 114-116
Bodger, Samuel, 56
Boles, Richard, 51
Bolton, Lancashire, 158
Bolton, Yorkshire, 153
Bond, Thomas and Mary, 223
“Book of Days,” quoted, 86, 128, 218
Booker, Dr., quoted, 199
Booth, Jno., 75
Booth, Tom, 94-97
Boston, America, 28, 30
Bradbury, William and Thomas, 201
Bradley, William, 159
Bray, Henrietta M., 80
Briggs, Hezekiah, 130
Briscoe, John D., quoted, 158
Briscoe, J. Potter, quoted, 110, 203
Bristol, 19, 222
Broadbent, Jno., 132
Brousard, James, 36
Browne, Susan, 221
Buckett, Jno., 107
Bullen, Rev. H., 7
Burkitt, Jonathan, 226
Burned to death, 213
Burns, Robert, quoted, 109
Burton, Edward, 202
Burton, Joyce, 213
Bury, St. Edmunds, 31, 57, 211, 212
Butler, a, 106
Butler, Samuel, 81, 164-166
Butler, Samuel William, 82
Buttress, J. E., 69
Byfield, Sarah, 111
Byng, John, 67
Byron, Lord, 8, 17
Bywater, Jno., 112
Campbell, Patrick, 65
Carmichael, Jas., 65
Cartwright, Hy., 94
Cary, Rev. H. F., quoted, 183
Cave, of Barrow-on-Soar, 138
Cave, Edward, 11
Cave, Jos., 10
Cave, William, 11
Caxton, William, 24
Chambers, Dr. Wm., 24, 25
Chancel door, buried at the, 214
Chapman, Dr. T., 154
Chapman, Wm., 42
Charles I., 51
Charles II., epitaph on, 169
Charlton, Jno., 92
Chelsea Hospital veteran, 49
Chepman, William, 24-25
Chester, 13, 57, 228
Clay, Hercules, 168
Clay, Thomas, 117
Cleater, Samuel, 214
Clemetshaw, Hy., 73
Cliff, Elizabeth, 213
Coffin, curious, 166
Coincidences, remarkable, 178
Cole, Dean, 137
Cole, of Lillington, 138
Collison, D., 70
Corporation cook, 227
Corser, Henry, 178
Coster, Claude, 232-233
Cotton, John, 28
Coventry, 34, 101, 103
Coventry Mercury, 34
Cowper, Wm., 182, 184-185
Crackles, Thos., 70
Crich, Vicar of, 12
Cricketer, 102, 103
Cruikshank, George, 192-194
Cruker, Joseph, 17
Currie, James, 230
Cynical epitaph, 216
Dalamoth, Jane, 215
Dale, John, 177
Danish soldiers, 52-55
Darnborough, Wm., 131
Dart, Rose, 139
Davidson, Alex., 67
Day, Will., 136
Deaf and dumb man, 205
Deakin, Rowland, 157
Deal, 68, 69
Deal boatman, 68
Deans, Jeanie, 173-174
Death from political excitement, 204
Defoe, Daniel, 181
Depledge, Thomas, 219
Devonshire, Duke of, 35
Dinsdale, Dr. F., 207
Dixon, Geo., 93
“Domestic Annals of Scotland,” quoted, 156
Dove, John, 109
Drew, Mary, 210
Duck, S., 87-90
Dwarf, Yorkshire, 160
Early English epitaph, 209
Earthenware, dealer in, 13
Earwaker, J. P., 37
Easton, Wm., 70
Edensor, 35, 36
Edinburgh, 24, 32, 186, 229
Edmonds, Jno., 66
“Edwin and Emma,” 206
Epitaphs on Soldiers and Sailors, 49-72
Etty, Wm., 190-192
Eyre, Vincent, 203-205
Fairholt, F. W., 190
Families, large, 221-222
Fatal prize-fights, 102
Faulkner, George, 30
Female soldiers, 58
Field, Bishop, 135
Field, Joseph, 134
Fisher, Jno., 39
Flockton, Thomas, 132
Fort William, 65
Franklin, Abiah, 30
Franklin, Benjamin, 26-30
Franklin, Josiah, 30
Freland, Mrs., 110
Garden, burial in, 202
Garrick, David, 78;
quoted, 80, 188
Gaskoin, Jenny, 43-45
Gaskoin, Mary, 45
Gedge, L., 31
Gentleman’s Magazine, quoted, 123
George III., 43
George IV., 61
Giant, Yorkshire, 159
Gloucester Abbey, 167
Gloucester Notes and Queries, 181
Goldsmith, Dr. O., 115
Goldsmith, Thomas, 66
Good and Faithful Servants, 35-43
Grainge, Wm., quoted, 153
Gray, Catherine, 13
Gray, John William, 213
Gray, Robert, 18
Great events, 155
Great Limber, 43
Great Marlow, 38
Griffiths, George, 56
Guardian, quoted, 137
Guy, John, 166-167
Hackett, Robert, 92
Haigh, Brian, 177
Hall, Micah, 216
Harrison, John, 4-5
Harrison, Wm., 71
Hart, Thomas, 120
Haselton, Mary, 211
Hawksworth, Dr., 11
Hayley, quoted, 11, 182
Heardson, Edward, 227
Hedderwick, James, quoted, 84
Hessel, Phœbe, 58-64
Hewet, John, 210
Heywood, James, 15
High Wycombe, 5, 166
Hill, Dr. Otwell, 137
Hilton Castle, fool at, 86
Hindle, Thomas, 4
Hippisley, Jno., 79
Hiseland, Wm., 49
Hobson, carrier, 8
Hogarth, Wm., 187-190
Honest man, 220
Howard, John, 22
“Hudibras,” author of, 164-166
Hull, 70, 71, 72, 74, 112, 127, 134, 212, 215, 223
Hull Fair, giant at, 160
Hulm, John, 34
Huntrodds, Francis, 178
Huntsman, 92, 93, 94, 97
Hutchinson, Henry, 144-5
Island of Juan Fernandez, 180
Isnell, Peter, 119
Jackson, Thomas, 84
Jenkins, Henry, 153-156
Jennings, Ann, 222
Jewitt, L., quoted, 121
Jobling, Mrs. C., quoted, 163
Jones, Alderman J., 167
Jones, Edward, 25
Jones, Stephen, 228
Joy, Richard, 162
Keeper, 92, 94
Kelly, Rev. John, 145
Kentish Samson, 162
King, John, 42
Kirk Braddan, 140-148
Kirk Hall, 214
Knight, Charles, 91
Lackington, James, 9
Lamb, Charles and Mary, 183-185
Lambert, Daniel, 161
Lambert, George, 74
Lanchbury, Sarah, 40
Large families, 221-222
Laurence Lideard, 222
Leake, Thomas, 97-100
Lightning, killed by, 210-211
Lillyard, Maiden, 158
Little Driffield, 179
Liverpool, 105, 162
Lloyd, Sarah, 212
Logner Hall, 202
London, 7, 49, 86, 102, 108, 115, 192
Longnor, 15, 49
Low value of human life, 212
Macbeth, Jno., 76
Malibran, Madame, 78
Manxland Epitaphs, 140-148
Market Weighton, 159
Marrying man, 222
Marten, Henry, 170-172
Martin, John, 20, 147
Martyrs’ monument, 229
Mason, Mrs. Mary, 222
Mason, Rev. Wm., 222
Master of foxhounds, 92
Mather, Wm., 36
Mawer, Rev. John, 207
M’Carrey, P., 142
M’Kay, Alex., 102
Medford, Grace, 139
Melton Mowbray, 112
Merrett, Thomas, 172
Metcalf, John, 149-153
Middleditch, Wm., 57
Middleton Tyas, 207
Miller, Joe, 86-91
Miscellaneous Epitaphs, 209-233
Model publican, 198
Moore, John, 217
Morris, Captain, quoted, 227
Murdered men, 218-220
Musicians and Actors, Epitaphs on, 73-91
Napier, J. M., 57
Napoleon, Emperor, 142
Negro servants, 46, 47-48, 142
Newport, Mon., 76
Newton, George, 93
North Scarle, 57
North Wingfield, 117
Norwich, 73, 80, 111, 221
Notable Persons, Epitaphs on, 149-208
Notes and Queries, quoted, 113
Nottingham, 95, 203
Nottingham Date-Book, quoted, 95
Okey, John, 158
“Old Mortality,” 174-176
Orange, Prince of, 52
Organ blower, 74
Organist, 73, 74
Pady, James, 14
Page, Jno. T., quoted, 187, 189, 194-197
Parish Clerks and Sextons, Epitaphs on, 119-133
Parkes, Jno., 101
Parkyns, Sir Thomas, 101
Parr, Edward, 57
Paterson, Robert, 174-176
Pearce, Dicky, 85
Peirce, Thomas, 3
Pennecuik, A., 156
Peterborough, 128, 138
Pettigrew, T. J., quoted, 113, 222
Phillips, John, 35
Phillpot, Geo., 68
Pickering, Robt., 71
Pickford, Rev. Jno., quoted, 52
Piper, Scotch, 76
Piscatorial epitaphs, 104
Pleasant, Toby, 46
Portsmouth, 67, 194
Portugal, King of, 20
Pounds, John, 194-197
Preston, Richard, 132
Preston, Robt., 116
Prissick, George, 16
Pritchard, Mrs., 79
Protestant, a zealous, 202
Pryme, Abraham de la, 53
Punning Epitaphs, 134-140
Puzzle, the, 232
Pyper, Mary, 186-187
Quin, James, 80
Ragged Schools, founder of, 194-197
Railton, Martha, 206
Raw, Frank, 120
Ridge, Thos., 94
Ridsdale, Jane, 160
Roberts, Anne, 80
Robertson, John, 222
“Robinson Crusoe,” 181
Rochester on Charles II., 169
Roe, Philip, 125
Roe, Samuel, 122
Rogers, Dr. Charles, quoted, 174, 176
Rogers, Rebecca, 113
Ross, Frederick, quoted, 160
Rothwell, Leeds, 132
Routleigh, George, 1
Rudder, Samuel, 181
Running footman, 46
Saddleworth, 132, 201
Sailors and Soldiers, 49-72
Sambo’s grave, 47-48
Samson, Kentish, 162
Sands, Rev. Samuel, 227
Saving money for a funeral, 228
Scales, Daniel, 218
Scarlett, Old, 128-130
Scatchard, Thomas, 202
Scipio Africanus, 46
Scotland, printing introduced into, 24
Scott, Jno., 105
Scott, Margery, 156
Scott, Sir Walter, 173
Scrivenor, Wm., 227
Scrope, Capt. G., 103
Seizing the dead for debt, 117
Selby, 66, 67, 120
Selkirk, Alexander, 180
Servants, Good and Faithful, 35-43
Sextons and Parish Clerks, 119-133
Shakespeare, Wm., 176
Sherman, Mary, 222
Shorthand epitaph, 215
Shrewsbury, 86, 157, 178
Sign of the Boar’s Head, 114
Simpson, Jeremiah, 202
Skullcross, Philip, 215
Slaves freed, 46
Slater, Joseph, 2
Smith, Isaac, 56
Smith, Robt., 121
Smoke money, 113
Soldiers and Sailors, 49-72
South Cave, 201
Spalding, Jos., 66
Sparke, Rose, 139
Spectator, quoted, 68
Spong, John, 16
Sportsmen, Epitaphs on, 92-104
Stanton Harcourt, 210
St. Helena, 142
St. Peter’s, Isle of Thanet, 162
Stokes, Thomas, 205
Stone, John, 128
Stoney Middleton, 77
Strange farewell sermon, 12
Street, Amos, 97
Straker, Daniel, 52
Strutt, Matthew, 214
Strutton, Wm., 221
Suffolk, Earl of, 46
Sunderland Point, 47
Sutton Coldfield, 39, 198
Swain, Charles, quoted, 82
Swair, Edward, 19
Swift, quoted, 85, 90-91
Swift, Geo., 77
“Tales of a Grandfather,” 157
Tappy, Jas., 39
Taylor, John, 13
Taylor, Jno., quoted, 108
Tear, Daniel, 148
Teetotal, author of the word, 197
Tennis ball, 103
Tewkesbury Abbey, 172
Thackerey, Jos., 106
Theodore, King of Corsica, 180
Thetcher, Thomas, 118
Thompson, Francis, 106
Thompson, Rev. Patrick, 140
Thornton, Abraham, 199
Thorsby Park, 95
Thursday, events on, 214
Tiffey, Jack, 140
Times, quoted, 3
Tipper, Thomas, 105
Tonson, Jacob, 26
Tradesmen, Epitaphs on, 1-23
Trowsdale, T. B., quoted, 170
Turar, T., 19
Turner, Richard, 197
Typographical Epitaphs, 24-34
Wager of battle, 199-201
Wales, Prince of, 44
Walford, Edward, 3
Walker, Helen, 173
Walker, John, 5
Wall, David, 77
Wallas, Robt., 120
Warren, Sir George, 37
Watson, Jos., 36
Waverley novels, 175
Westminster, 24, 78, 79, 165
Whitaker, Dr., 198
Whitehall, Rev. J., 135
Whittaker, Wm., 67
Whitty, Mary, 38
Whitworth, Rev. R. H., quoted, 97
Wigglesworth, John, 198
Wilks, Major, 142
Williamson, Adam, 32
Winchester Cathedral, 51, 118
Windsor, St. George’s Chapel, 45
Wiseman, Wm., 217
Wordsworth, Wm., 144
Worme, Sir Richard, 138
Worrall, Thomas, 126
Wright, Joe, 20
Wrightson, Rodger, 206
Wynter, Sir Edward, 55
Yarmouth, 16, 56, 104
York, 191, 212
Yorkshire dwarf, 160
Yorkshire giant, 159
 Hooper’s “Notes on the Church of St. Peter of Mancroft, Norwich” (1895).
 “Annals of Newark-upon-Trent,” by Cornelius Brown, published 1879.
 London, 1873.
 Jno. T. Page, in “Bygone Hampshire” (1899).
 Black’s “Guide to Yorkshire.”