CHURCH OF ST MARY
Church Post Code LE13 1AJ
There were two Vale of Belvoir Angel stones recorded here in the Heathcote study. One of these is the earliest dated surviving stones. The church grounds here are of great interest; with the church itself being one of the finest in Leicestershire.
I will start with the oldest first, with the gravestone to Felmonger Arnold Hytch dating from the late 17tyh century. Hytch himself passed away in 1681 but other family members are also marked here, with one passing away in 1696.so possibly this stone dates from the latter?
The skull and hour glass are present, with some very faded text across the top reads, or read as parts are now missing, 'Blessed are ye dead which die in ye Lord'. This comes from Revelation Chapter 14 verse 13.
The angel itself is a curious thing with a very small head in relation to the size of the wings compared to others that we see.
This stone reads 'Arnold Hytch felmonger died August 3 81 aged 55. Also John Green carpenter died September 2 89 aged 40 Also Magdalen wife of Aorold Hytch died September 7 1696 aged 62 Also the children of John Green are here deceased Mary Anne also John and Thomas all these lie buried near this stone'
A fellmonger, by the way, is a trader in animal hides or skins.
The second of the two dates from 1707 and again the hour glass and crossed bones are present.
This stone is inscribed 'Here lyeth the body of Mary Gascoigne relict of Simon Gascoigne of Herlaxton (Harlaxton) in the county of Lincoln who departed this life November 9th Anno Sahitis 1707 aetais suae (of his age) 86'
Mary lived to an advanced age for those times when life expectancy was somewhere around the early 40's. She would have been born in the early 1620's. Amazing to think that we are looking at a gravestone here from someone who was a young lady when the English Civil War was raging throughout the country and who would have been in her 40's as the Bubonic Plague struck. What stories she could tell...