CHURCH OF ST LUKE
Church Post Code LE14 3AQ
Continuing a look around the many Belvoir Angel gravestones to be found in the church grounds here.
A new page started, but sadly picking up pretty much where we left off with another young adult living through childhood but then passing away in their late teens.
There are four hearts at the top of this stone. The heart is an obvious symbol of the love that was shown for the deceased. The two hearts on the outside edges, where the hour glass and crossed bones would normally have been, are curiously upside down. There is probably no meaning symbolically to this but it is worth pointing out as being unusual!
'Here lieth the body of Richard son of Joseph and Hannah Wilson he died Nov ye 7th 1753 aged 19 years'
'A sore disease my body siezed that percust me to the heart till death gave ease as God did please to cure me of my smart'
The word percust is not one that we come upon very often these days. A quick internet search gave a description of to strike through.
A slightly frowning angel looks out from the gravestone to Hugh Gill, 'Come Ye Blessed' is carved across the top.
This one reads 'Here lies the body of Hugh Gill the dear son of Hugh Gill by Margaret his wife he died Feb 13th 1720 in ye 5th year of his age'
'Our good God knows what for us is ye best he takes to him his choice he leaves us ye rest For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven'
With regards this latter sentence, we saw this before in the church grounds here, and it was often used on the gravestone of a child. This is part of Matthew Chapter 19 verse 14. Jesus said the following to the disciples when they tried to stop the children from coming to him. The full verse in the King James version of the day is as follows...
'But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Heart symbolism is present on the stone to Margaret Gill. along with the crossed bones. For whatever reason the hourglass is missing on this one.
'Here lies the body of Margaret Gill she died May the 18th 1740 aged 51 years'
'She that lies here was in her life a tender mother & a loving wife a quiet neighbour to the poor a friend happy is she that such a life doth end'
The stone to John Gill is another of the highest quality. This is a fabulously carved double angel stone with an inscription in a heart shape in between the angels.
To be fair, there is a lot of text within this heart, and it is difficult to pick it all out, with the last of it being tiny. I think though that it reads 'O that they were wise of thought on their life' This would be a paraphrase of Deuteronomy Chapter 32 verse 29, where it talks of a person thinking of their spiritual life before death.
It reads 'Here lies the body of John son of Hugh Gill by Margaret his wife was buried Feb ye 9th 1732 aged 19 years'
'Here lies also the body of Hugh son of Hugh & Margaret he was buried March 10th 1732 aged 7 years'
'Tho death has cropt us in our bloomy days yet we live to give our God the praise free from all pain & trouble now we move in a world of pleasure in unbounded love'
The stone to one George Hives is another of highest quality, with four lines carved in relief.
This one reads 'Here lies the body of George Hives he died March the 1st 1737/8 aged 38 years'
'A sore disease my body seized that percust me to my heart till death did ease as God did please and cure me of my smart'
The masons here had a habit of running out of space as the line wore on, with on many occasions the remainder of the line being added in small lettering above the original line.
On this stone though we have the H and E of 'Here' being joined together. Perhaps this was an attempt to save space early on. Perhaps we see here a mason who had been caught out before and who was trying to preempt it happening again here?
The unusual date is due to the change over from Julian to Gregorian calendar. Great Britain were later in changing over to this than most other European countries and did not change over officially until 1752
The stone to George Man is another of great quality. The hour glass and crossed bones are in their usual positions top left and right, with the top four lines carved in relief.
The stone reads 'Here lies the body of George Man he died Nov the 15th 1738 his age 45 years'
'Farewell my wife and children dear which in this world I've left behind Do not lament nor shed a tear eternity be sure you mind'
Right at the foot of tis stone is a brief inscription marking a child that passed away in his infancy. Curiously, the male child is not named 'Nigh to this stone a child doth lie who died in his infancy'
So many people died young in those days. It is worth noting that the gravestones here are fine pieces of work. Many people would have been buried with no memorial at all. The people here would have been relatively well off; possibly more so than many who had more basic gravestones. These stones could be seen as a memorial left by those of means.
Still though so many died young. How much worse must it have been for those who were less well off at that time?
'Here lyeth the body of Mary the wife of John Daft Junior she departed this life January 27th 1744/3 aged 33 years'
'She that lies interr'd here was in her life a tender mother & a loving wife a quiet neighbour to the poor a friend Happy is she that such a life doth end Repent in time no time delay in my youth I was call'd away So do not grieve but to the Lord do say that we shall meet again another day'
The fine double angel stone to Anne Daft also marks the deaths of three other members of that family, all of whom passed away in childhood.
Both Anne's have no age against them, suggesting that they each died very young. A brief note at the top of the stone noted that '2 Anne's died in infancy'
'Anne daughter of John Daft by Margaret his wife died Mar ye 22nd 1713'
'Also Robert son of John Daft by Margaret his wife died May ye 16th 1719 aged 3 years'
'Also Anne daughter of John Daft by Margaret his wife died July ye 11th 1719'
'Also Margaret daughter of John Daft by Margaret his wife died May the 2nd 1723 aged 4 years'
The inscription at the foot of this gravestone reads as follows.
'Sleep thou blest creatures in thy vine our sighes and teares will not awake thee We must live to our appointed time and then O then we'll overtake thee'.
At the top, in between the two angels, in a heart shape framed by the angels wings it reads 'For of such is the kingdom of Heaven'
Sarah was the wife of William Shittlewood from Kinolton, these days known as Kinoulton. She is buried in the church grounds here though .Perhaps this was her home village and she is buried with her family?
This stone reads 'Here lies the body of Sarah the wife of William Shittlewood of Kinolton she died Jan the 20th 1724 aged 26 years'
'Pale death will hardly find another so good a wife so kind a mother in all her actions she was kind they will not soon slip out of mind'
It has been a fairly difficult and frustrating experience at times trying to decipher the epitaphs at the bottom of these stones. Sometimes, they are hard to make out, with words running in to each other and occasionally the second half of words being added above the first in small hard to read lettering. It has been fascinating, and moving at the same time. As is the case here!
'Here lies ye body of Eliz Hardy who departed this life May ye 15th 1728 in the 18th year of her age'
'Come mourn with me all you hear upon the earth come shed a tear for her whole life is fled away her comely corps laid up in clay for all the country in their cry O pity that she so soon did die her brave behaviour parts and grace hath call'd her to a higher place I hope I have done none no wrong the jewels gone my verse is done'
The two photographs above are to two members of the Morris family, father and daughter, the daughter passing away nearly 30 years before her father. The side marking the details of father Robert is difficult to photograph owing to another stone being in front of it.
It reads 'Here lyeth the body of Robert Morriss he died May ye 2nd aged 69 years 1752'
'A sore disease my body seized that percust me to my heart till death did ease as God did please to cure me of my smart'.
And on the reverse, more easliy readable
'Here lies ye body of Margaret the daughter of Robert Morriss by Francis his wifeshe died May 28th 1723 in ye 7th year of her age'
'Good people all that here pass be pleased to cast an eye on this and read My race was short & good tis what belongs to flesh and blood'
The quality of the angel here, on this stone to one Edward Collishaw is stunning. The intricate detail in the wings must have taken many hours. What craftsmen these were!
'Here lies the body of Edward Collishaw Senior who departed this life Apr 12th 1729 aged 70 years'
'He loved peace and quietness who here interred lies His reward is eternal bliss above the starry skies'
The hour glass and crossed bones occupy their usual positions on a stone to a married couple, heart symbols to be seen either side of the angel's head.
'Here lies the body of Thomas Hardy who departed this life January 25th 1720 aged 48 years'
'Here lies the body of Judith wife of Thomas Hardy aforesaid she died Mar ye 21st 1727 aged 53'
'A loving husband and a virtuous wife each lies confined both to leave this life and tho their bodys they return to dust their souls I hope are dwelling with the just'
'Memento Mori' reads out from the top of this fabulously crafter stone to Elizabeth Morley.
It reads 'Here lies the body of Elizabeth the wife of William Morley who departed this life 20th day of Oct 1735 in the 40th year of her age'
'Afflictions sore long time I bore physicians were in vain till death gave ease as God did please to cure me of my pain'
'Tho long I lay it was for my gain that a heavenly kingdom I might obtain'
The final stone that I will look at from the church grounds here is a fairly late one, being dated 1749. I have seen a few from this period where the quality just isn't there compared to some of the work produced in earlier years.
This is still a quality piece of work but the depth of detail just isn't there, especially in the detail of the angel's wings.
This one reads 'Here lyeth the body of Mary the wife of Thomas Wilkinson she died January ye 17th 1749aged 32 years'
'Also lyeth Ann aged 24 weeks also lyeth Mary Wilkinson aged 2 years'
'All you who do behold this stone pray think how quickly I was gone death does not always warning give so be carefull how you live'