CHURCH OF ST PETER
Church Post Code LE14 3PA
After several occasions of 'unearthing' gravestones from undergrowth, finding 'hidden' stones from behind bushes and generally wandering around looking lost; it was lovely to get to Saxelby. The Belvoir Angel stones here, four of them, are close together against the path that leads up to the south porch. Free from weeds, easy to find and easy to read.
'Come Ye Blessed' is carved across the top of the stone to one Richard Bird.
The stone reads 'Here lies the body of Richard Bird who died May ye 30th 1726 aged 47 years'
'A loving husband and a father dear he was the same yt (that) lies interr'd here A dear & tender wife 2 children kind upon this earthly world I have left behind'
There follows an inscription from Philippians Chapter 1 verse 23 in the King James language of the day. 'I am in a strait betwixt two having a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better'
Close by is a fine stone to Jasper Simpson. Five lines of this are carved in relief; the background around the letters being carved away leaving the letters themselves standing proud of the stone.
This was a great skill. It is seen many times whilst looking at these stones that the masons struggled with spelling and the spacing of words. What is not in doubt is their skills in other areas!
This one is a bit bruised and battered, with part of the angel's face flaked off. What a lovely piece of work this would have been when it was carved!
This one reads 'Here lyeth the body of Jasper Simpson who departed this life September the 5th 1732 his age 70 years'
'Tho long he lay it was for his gain that he a glorious Kingdom might obtain I hope his peace was made with God before he went from hence and shall be seen no more'.
The fourth and final stone to be found here is an unusual one. In the vast majority of cases the angel, or angels, are to be found at the top of the gravestone. In a handful the angel is at the bottom of the grave; this being one of them.
The stone reads' Here lies ye body of Thomas ye son of Charles Stringe by Eliz his wife He died May 22nd 1717 aged 30 years'
Underneath this and above the angel is a quote from Revelation Chapter 14 verse 13 'Blessed are they that in the Lord they die From their labours they rest eternally'
Given the really hard lives that these people lived, I can imagine that this was a really important verse to many!
The hard lives that were lived by the people at that time is highlighted by the fact that there are gravestones to two of Jasper's children.
I think that Elizabeth would have been the daughter of Jasper and Alice his wife. The surname is spelled slightly differently, Simson instead of Simpson but there are several instances of this happening. As mentioned above, spelling was not their strength; but other things were.
This one is inscribed 'Elizabeth daughter of Jasper and Alice Simson deceased April ye 14th 1696'
In the same row of gravestones there is one to Jasper Simson, son of Jasper and Alice, who died December 1705. There is no age given which probably means that he died very young. This one is not of the Belvoir Angel type.