CHURCH OF ST ANDREW
Church Post Code NG13 9HG
There are nine Vale of Belvoir Angel gravestones to be found in the church grounds here.
A stone to one Robert Simon is a very fine example; two angels are finely carved across the top, with 'Remember Thy End' enclosed within a heart in between. The details of the deceased are carved in relief, the area around the letters being carved away so that the letters themselves stand proud of the grave. A real skill!
The stone reads 'Here lyeth the body of Robert Simon who departed this life April the 8th 1732 his age 36 years'
(not in relief)... 'He loved peace and quietness who here interred lies his reward is eternal bliss above the starry skies'
At the bottom reads 'Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called ye children of God' Matthew Chapter 5 verse 9.
The gravestone to William Simon is of great interest but is battered and bruised. The angel has lost one wing. An hourglass, a symbol of the mortality of Man, can be seen on the top left as we look at it. The crossed bones which would have been present in the top right have also been lost.
The stone reads 'Here lies the body of William Simon Senior, son of William Simon by Barbra his wife he died ye 8th day of May 1713 ages 50 years'
A fascinating inscription can be seen at the foot of the grave 'Reader stand still and shed a tear Upon the dust that sleepeth here and whilst thou read of the state of me then think on the glass that runs for thee'.
In those days, the phrase 'my glass is run' was used to described a life that had been completed. Here, the onlooker is reminded of his or her own mortality; their own glass is running! Don't be caught short when your time comes. Heaven awaits for those who believe in God and who persevere in their faith to the end.
A gravestone to Martha Vanners, is quite badly weathered, but still readable. The angel peers out from a veil of white algae It reads 'Here lies ye body of Martha, the wife of Claybrook Vanners who died November 26th 1714 aged 31 years'
I only have a partial inscription from the foot of this grave, the remaining couple of lines having sunk in to the earth 'Though death has parted you and I our bodys to dust must turn I hope that we shall meet again you have no cause to mourn'
Another double angel gravestone, again with 'Remember Thy End' enclosed within a heart is a memorial to one Robert Bell, a gardener. It reads 'Here lies the body of Mr Robert Bell gardener who for his capacity in his business and fidelity to the noble family that he had the honour to serve has left a comendable example He died March ye 7th 1728/9 aged 38 years'.
Another gravestone of superb quality and craftsmanship is to Henry James Senior. 'To die is gain' is carved across the top, with the first four lines carved in relief. As is often the case though, there were problems with spacing. The second 'd' in died is crowbarred in so to speak and the age of the deceased is in smaller font with the word 'year' fitted in above.
The curious thing here for me though is when the reader looks at the inscription below. It is a grave for a husband and wife, although there is no mention of the wife's name anywhere.
The gravestone reads 'Here lyeth the body of Henry James Senr of Barnston he died Apr 11th 1730 aged 58 years'
'A loving husband and a virtous wif here les confined both to leave this life and tho their bodys do return to dust their souls I hope are dwelling with the just'
'Blessed are they yt (that) in the Lord they die from their labours they rest eternally'.
Perhaps the wife of Henry James was Anne. Her gravestone is nearby and she is recorded as being the wife of Henry; with the dates fitting.
This gravestone reads 'Here lies the body of Anne wife of Henry Janes of Barnstone in this parish she departed this life November ye 29th 1720 in the 42nd year of her age
The very weathered inscription across the top of the stone reads 'Blessed are the dead that die in ye Lord'
The inscription lower down is as follows...
'Sleep thou blest creature in thy vines my sighes and teares will not awake thee I must true my appointed time and then O then I'll overtake you'
Another double angel gravestone reads as follows... 'Here lies the body of John Beeston who died Feb the 27th 1729 in the 27th year of his age'
Another quality piece of work, which has sadly sunk in to the ground a great deal, the inscription lower down being lost as a result.
The Heathcote's study of these gravestones recorded one to Elizabeth Peacock. They visited Langar in 2009 and recorded this gravestone as having fallen and been partially buried.
I missed this one when visiting in 2021, or perhaps it has been moved. There is a photograph of this grave in the Heathcote's book and the inscription on it is as follows..
'Here lied the body of Elizabeth Peacock and her two daughters Margret and Elenor. Margaret died February 13th 1735.
The ninth and final Vale of Belvoir Angel stone in the church grounds here is to Sarah Simon, it reads
'Here lyeth the body of Sarah the daughter of Robert and Anne Simon his wife She died Jan ye 17th 1728 aged 3 years and a half'.
These were hard times for the people living then. The gravestone to her father stand close by and he passed away himself four years later at the age of 36 years.
Further down the stone, carved in relief is the following 'Also Robert Simon son of Robert Simon by Anne his wife died in his infancy'.
Further inscription reads 'Death crops ye flower ye blossom and the bud Happy and blest are they whse lives are good here we lie sleeping till our tender days shall sing our makers everlasting praise'
'Do not for us in tears remain your loss we hope will be our gain'.