COLSTON BASSETT RUINS
CHURCH OF ST JOHN
Church Post Code NG12 3FX
The church of St Mary at Colston Bassett is redundant and in ruins, a new church having been built in the early 1890's. There are seven Vale of Belvoir Angel stones to be found here.
A beautifully crafted gravestone to one Ann Roc is carved with two Belvoir Angel heads across the top, accompanying heart shapes symbolise love.
The stone reads 'Here lyeth the body of Ann the wife of William Roc She died Jan ye 4th 1751 aged 55 years
Also John Kirkley he died August ye 14th 1752 aged 28 years.
O cruell death who could so cruel be to take the fruit then cut down the tree hard hearted death thou (unreadable) A kind and loving wife and mother dear.
Tho long he lay it was all for his gain that he a heavenly kingdom might obtain with conscience pure I hope to see his face and rise again to glorifie his grace.
A heartbreaking gravestone really brings home how hard a life these people had! The small gravestone above, a child's gravestone, is to one Mary Summer. It reads 'Here lies the body of Mary ye daughter of Thomas Summer by Anne his wife who died July 28 1710 aged 10 years'.
If this wasn't sad enough, inscription on the reverse indicates tragedy for this family. Inscribed are the names of five children who all died in their infancy. Eliz died August 24 1696 Tho died Aug 25 1696 Ann died Nov 22 1697 John died Oct 28 1698 John died Jan 15 1702.
The stone has sunk in to the ground and a couple of lines of test are partially obscured. The first time starts off by saying 'dear parents do not grieve for me...' the rest has sunk below ground level but I would imagine that it continued by saying that she would be spending eternity safe in heaven!
Nest to the gravestone for their children is the final resting place for the parents.
The stone reads 'Here lies the body of Thomas Summer who departed this life Nov ye 15 1727 in the 62 year of his age. Here lieth the body of Ann (different spelling of her name) ye wife of Thomas Summer who departed this life December 21 1736 aged 67 years.
Inscribed at the bottom, partially sunk in to the earth is 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord for they rest from their labours'.
Still proclaiming their faith in God despite all that they had gone through!
Two gravestones to the Church family sit side by side. More basic in style with just the details of the deceased and their passing. No inscriptions at the bottom, just a Christian cross under the angel, which is very unusual on these type of graves and I assume a request from that family getting on for 300 years ago.
The first reads 'Here lies the body of Charles Church Junior he departed this life November 30 in the 35th year of his age'. The second reads ' Here lies the body of Mary the wife of Thomas Church she departed this life June the 18th 1757 aged 38 years'.
Close by, a Vale of Belvoir Angel gravestone to John Spencer is of the very highest quality. This is a double angel gravestone, with minute differences between the two Angels; 'Be Ye Also Ready' carved between the two.
The top lines are carved in relief, the area around a letter is carved away, leaving the letter itself standing proud of the stone. A great skill!
It reads 'Here lies the body of John Spencer He died Jun the 30 1730 aged 40 years
Afflictions for a long time I bore phisitions were in vain but death gave ease as God did please to cure me of my pain.
Script at the bottom has partially sunk in to the ground, but it reads 'He loved peace and quietness who here at your feet lies His reward in eternal bliss above the starry slies.
The final of the seven Vale Of Belvoir Angel gravestones to be found here, leans over at an angle, with the inscription at the bottom of the stone now sunk in to the ground. Hard therefore to photograph.
This is another double angel gravestone, with heart symbolism between the two.
It reads 'Here lyeth the body of John Cam Senior who died February 6th 1750 ages 47 years. Also John son of John and Sarah died December 1756.
While I was here, photographing the Belvoir Angels, a lady walking her dog came over. The lady asked what I was taking photographs of; when I told her she said, 'I thought so, what are these', she had seen them scattered around in church grounds close to where she lives.
As we were chatting, her husband came over, along with two other people, and we spent around 20 minutes talking about these, the style of the stones and the symbols and what they represent. There have been several occasions when people have seen me looking at these stones and have asked the question. I honestly feel that there is a great deal of interest out there. People see these gravestones and can appreciate them and know that they are a little special.
The party of four headed back towards the main road and it was really pleasing to see one of the men touch the lettering on one of the stones and say to his friends 'look, this one is carved in relief!'