CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN
Church Post Code LE14 4BB
The Heathcote study lists six Vale of Belvoir Angel gravestones in the church grounds here. One of these is less than 12 inches high and is to my knowledge, unique in that respect.
The first of the six is to Thomas Kent. The stone reads 'Here lies the body of Tho Kent who departed this life Aug the 15th aged 66'
Written across the top of the grave is 'Marke ye upright and behold ye just their end is peace'
This ties in nicely with the inscription at the foot of the grave which reads ' Marke and behold the perfect man how God doth him increase for the just masn shall have at length great joy with rest and peace'
Close by is the final resting place for Katherine Hand. 'Cone Ye Blessed' is carved across the top of the grave; with the angel here frowning!
The stone is inscribed 'Here lies the body of Katherine wife of John Hnad of Thoroton and daughter of Tho and Elizabeth Hand of this town She died January the 23rd 1719 in the 41st year of her age'
Further down, is inscribed the following 'Pale death will hardly find another so good a wife so kind a mother So charitable and discreet is she who lies at your feet'
'Pale Death' could refer to an illness such as cancer but it is likely to be a reference to the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse from Revelation where Death is said to ride a pale horse.
Propped up against another gravestone is one to John Hand. This reads 'Here lies ye body of John ye son of Tho: Hand by Eliz his wife who died Dec ye 1st 1727 in ye 31st year of his age'
'Remember Thy End' is carved across the top; a message that was often put on the gravestone of someone who had lived through childhood but who still died young.
Further down, the sobering message states 'You readers all both young and old your time on earth will not be long for death will come and die you must and like to me return to dust'.
The fourth of the gravestones that I saw was to Elizabeth Whittle. This one reads 'Here lies the body of Elizabeth ye wife of Ralph Whittle Senr she died Feb the 7th 1716 in the 74th year of her age'
Carved across the top is 'Blessed are they that die in the Lord' and a rhyme lower down states...
'Lord number out my dayes which yet I have not past so that I may be ??? how long my life shall last'
Further down, to the foot of the stone it says 'When that she was alive as now we are few of her calling could with her compair'
Quite a way from the other angels here, to the north side of the grounds and I am sure not in situ is a stone to Thomas Laming
Across the top of this stone it is inscribed 'If a man died shall he live again all the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change comes. This is from Job Chapter 14 verse 14.
The hour glass and crossed bones occupy their usual positions on this stone.
the the inscription on it is as follows... 'Here lies the body of Thomas Laming who departed this life March ye 12th in the 73rd year of his age 1718'
The epitaph on this one is virtually unreadable, a thorough coating of green algae not making it any easier.
A small gravestone, hemmed in by other stones and easy to miss is to Thomas Francis.
'Come Ye Blessed' is carved across the top of the stone. There may be an inscription at the foot of this gravestone, but if there is it is now lost below ground; the stone being partially sunk and at an angle.
What is visible reads 'Here lies the body of Thomas the son of Thomas and Margret Francis he died Nov 20th 1716 aged 22 years'
As was mentioned at the top of this page, to the best of my knowledge this is a unique size for any surviving Belvoir Angel stone.
My churchcrawling is, for the most part, a very solitary thing for me. I am happy always to go around with close friends but I am perfectly happy to enjoy the peace and solitude.
At Harby I had company that I enjoyed very much! The cat opposite made himself known in a very vocal fashion and followed me around the church grounds.