CHURCH OF ST MARGARET
Church Post Code NG12 3GA
The Heathcote study records six Belvoir Angel stones here. I found four easily enough; the fifth one turned up in amongst the ivy and pretty well hidden from view. The sixth is hidden deeper still and impossible to photograph. I am a gardener by trade and could have done with my tools with me!
'Memento Mori' is carved across the top of the stone to John Bird. Remember Death! Pretty much the recurring theme for all of these stones.
'John Bird who departed this life Jan 29th 1724 aged 35 year'
'A loving husband and father dear He was the same yt (that) lies interred here'
'Also Eliz ye daughter of John Bird afore by Ellin his wife died Jan 6th 1724 aged 5 year
Also Garvis son of John Bird also by Ellin his wife died Sept 20th 1724 aged 5 year
Also Ellin the wife of John Bird first mentioned above died March 22nd 1729 aged 41 y
Also Ellin the daughter of John Bird like wife died October the 2nd 1730 aged 20 years'
'Nigh to this stone these childrens lies their race was short yet won ye prize Do not for us in tears remain your loss we hope will be our gain'.
Whast terribly hard lives these people led. On many occasions short lives as well. I have come across several very sad stories whilst compiling this; but this stone really got to me! Three family members passed away within nine months with two more following a few years later. Daughter Ellin would have been around 14 years old when her father and two brothers died. She would have been 19 when her mother passed before dying herself a year later aged 20.Death was all around them, as the stone says 'Memento Mori' Remember Death!
It is worthwhile probably in saying again that the families which could afford to have gravestones like this made would have been relatively well off compared to most. Many at that time were buried in unmarked graves. These were the people who were not well connected enough to have had a memorial erected inside the church but who wanted to leave their mark so to speak outside. If these families, who had money, were hit by tragedy such as this is does beg the question how much worse was it for the poorer people of that day!
The stone to John Gunnill is beautifully carved and in really good condition, it reads...
'John Gunnill departed this life November ye 7th in the 55th year of his age 1727'
'A faithful wife and five children dear upon this earthly world I have left here Do not for me in tears remain your loss I hope will be my gain'.
A fairly sad looking angel looks out from the stone to James Watson. 'Be Ye Ready' is across the top along with the hourglass and crossed bones; all of which are damaged. The angel itself is unaffected by the damage.
'Here lies ye body of James Watson who departed this life April 21st 1712 aged 36 years'
'Reader stand still and lend a tear upon the dust that sleepeth here And whilst thou read of the state of me think on ye glass yt (that) runs for thee'
The stone to what could be John Watson has suffered some damage to the top part at some point over the years. The left hand side of the angel as we look at it has been pretty much erased, along with some of the personal details.
'Here lies the body of ( )n Watson who departed this life September 11th 1727 in the 55th year of his age'
'Also the body of Sarah Watson his wife she departed this life Sept ye 26th anno Dom 1730 aged 58 years'
The two Belvoir Angel stones that I failed to locate on a first sweep both turned out to be hidden under some fairly dense vegetation! They are both to members of the Dexter family. I was able to clear the front of one of the gravestones but the other was badly buried and it was not possible to get any sort of photograph of this one!
'Here lieth the body of Richard Dexter who departed this life Nov ye 23rd 1727 aged 37 year'
There is an inscription on this stone but it has sunk in to the ground and much of it is lost. The first line appears to read 'Who would not but fear death'.
The second stone had its inscription recorded by the Heathcote study; so it was readable when they visited (twice in 1976 and 2009). They recorded it as...
Sarah the wife of Thomas Dexter who departed this life Sept ye 25th in the 49th year of her age 1732'