CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST.
Church Post Code LE14 3BZ
There are four Belvoir Angel gravestones at the church of St John The Baptist, Grimston. All are fairly close together to the south west of the church grounds, but one of them is easy to miss (which I did on a first visit) with the angel and the being on the western face of the stone instead of the east. This particular stone has the details of the deceased on the eastern face and the angel on the western face.
One reads ‘Here lieth the body of Em wife of Rich’d Burton who departed this life the 25th Decem 1695 aged 47 years.
Interestingly, the capital letter D’s in the words Departed and December are reversed, whereas the small letter d’s are the correct way around. This is a fairly early grave of this type and the depiction of the angel is quite basic; with much less detail on the wings than you would normally see.
Counter this against a grave to Mary wife of John Henson who died in 1735 aged 63 years. The style of this gravestone is so much more advanced than its neighbour. Two beautifully carved angels can be seen at the top of the gravestone; well they would be if the right hand one as we look at it hadn’t been damaged.
Four lines below detailing the details of Mary’s passing are carved in relief. Rather than simply carving out the letters, the background around the letters is carved away leaving the letters themselves standing proud of the grave. What a skill! Here again though we see an error in spacing, with the mason running out of space when trying to fit in the surname of the deceased. The letters suddenly change from capital to lower case and he still does not quite make it!
This stone reads 'Here lyeth the body of Mary ye wife of John Henson who died August 23rd 1735 her age 63 year'
'Pale death will hardly find another so good a wife nor kind a mother In all her actions so discreet as she who here lies at your feet.
I have seen it suggested that Pale death refers to a disease, such as cancer. It is worth proposing though that this could refer to the four horsemen of the apocalypse from Revelation in the New Testament. The fourth horse was pale in colour and signified death!
Again, to reinforce how hard the lives were for people at that time, an inscription at the foot of the grave reads 'John & Mary near this stone do lie who died both in their infancy'
The third stone is badly damaged with the top of it broken off and the angel lost .
This one reads......'body of William Morris who departed this life March ye 28th Ano Dom 1721 in ye 53rd year of his age'.
Below this it reads 'Remmember man as thou pass by as thou are now so once was I'
The stonemasons here was gifted at their craft in many ways but, as we shall see throughout the pages of this site, they struggled with spelling and spacing. Words were regularly spelled wrongly, letters were occasionally missed out and the masons often, as is the case here, ran out of space on the line before the word was completed.
The fourth Belvoir Angel gravestone here, is the mentioned earlier that is double sided. This stone is quite badly damaged at the top as well. The inscription reads ' ... lyeth ye... John Burton and Catharina his wife he dyed in 1668 she dyd in 1701'
The angel on the reverse which sadly is badly damaged reminded me of one that a couple that I saw previously at Hickling, from the same period. Interesting to think that we can still see the hand of the individual stonemason 320 odd years after they were carved.
The reverse side reads 'And here their bodys do remain till Christ doth raise them up again'