CHURCH OF ST LUKE
Church Post Code LE14 3BD
Continuing a look at the Upper Broughton Belvoir Angels with a gravestone to Ann Hemsley.
Her stone reads 'Here lies the body of Ann the daughter of Thomas Hemsley she died February ye 15th 1744/5 aged 15 years'
The epitaph below is very faded and partially sunk. The only bits that I could make out were 'Since she is gone we hope her soul... to take possession of a glorious throne'
The unusual date, with two years included, comes from the change over from Julian to Gregorian calendars. At the time when the Gregorian calendar was developed in 1582, there was a 10 day discrepancy with the Julian calendar which was used previously In order to switch to the new calendar, those 10 days were simply dropped from October 1582. I remember from school being told of riots at the time with people believing that they were losing ten days of their lives! The change to Gregorian calendar was not official in Great Britain until 1750.
The stone to Thomas Hemsley is leaning over and sunken a little. 'Be Ye Ready' is carved across the top; with two hearts, one on either side of the angel's head.
This one says 'Here lyeth the body of Thomas Hemsley he died December the 19th 1747 in the 57th year of his age'
Any inscription lower down on this grave is lost now due to the stone sinking.
One of the finest Belvoir Angel stones in the church grounds here is to Ann, the wife of Thomas Hemsley. This is a fabulously carved double angel grave, with six lines carved in relief and an elaborate epitaph extolling the virtues of the deceased.
'Here lies the body of Ann the wife of Thomas Hemsley who departed this life April the 9th 1731 her age 35 years'
'The dame that resteth here nigh to this tomb had Rachel's face and Leah's fruitful womb Abigail's wisdom Lydia's faithful heart Marth's just care and Mary's better part To grieve for me alas it is in vain for your great loss is her eternal gain her peace we hope is made with God before she went from hence and shall be seen no more'
At the foot of this stone is Philippians Chapter 1 verse 23 which reads ' For I am in a strait betwixt two having a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better'
Ann passed away 16 years before her husband. As I was typing this, the thought came to me that this was a wonderful memorial for someone that was loved greatly.
Another double angel stone with letters carved in relief is the memorial to William Hart. What a fine piece of work this is as well. Superb quality.
'Here lies the body of William Hart who died Jan ye 13th 1730'
'A kind and loving husband here doth lie for this we know all flesh is born to die and tho his body is now laid in dust his soul I hope is dwelling with the just'
Fine quality yes, without doubt, but the mason here again showed that they struggled with the spacing of words with words added above their intended line in smaller lettering on two of the four lines!
The hour glass and crossed bones are present in the stone to one William Barlow. Wording across the top reads 'Remember Thy End' a phrase that ties in nicely with the symbols!
His stone reads 'Here lies the body of William the son of Robert Barlow by Anne his wife He departed this life July 17th 1709 in ye 26th year of his age'
'Reader stand still and lend 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'.
'Here lies the body of Wilkliam Franks he departed this life April 18th 1744 aged 71 years'
'Farewell my wife and children dear I am not dead but sleepeth here the debt you owe the grave you see prepare yourselves to follow me'.
These church grounds are beautiful tranquil places but they are not the most pleasant places for some if you start to delve in to the messages that are left behind on them.
The messages were carved in to these stones 300 odd years ago to drum home the message that Man is mortal and will die; so live a good life and trust in God. A particularly important message in those days when life expectancy was low and any day could be your last!
...and to back up the thought that any day could be your last, a stone to John White Junior who sadly passed away at the age of 19 years.
'Here lies the body of John White Junior he died September 12th 1745 aged 19 years'
'All you who do behold my stone then think how quickly I was gone death does not always warning give therefore be carefull how you live'
Again, the message is drummed home. Be careful how you live your life. Live a good Christian life; trust in God and don't be caught out and caught short when you day comes. As the stone above says 'prepare yourselves to follow me'!
Most of the Belvoir Angel gravestone in the church grounds here are clustered fairly close together to the south of the nave. Among them are two graves to Thomas Baly. I am assuming that they were father and son, although the surnames are spelled differently. One is spelled Bailey and a discrepancy such as this is not unheard of in these stones.
This is another beautiful piece of work; this being a double angel stone. 'Be Ye Ready' carved as a warning to the onlooker can be seen in between the angels. Four lines are carved in relief; the background around the letters being chiseled out so that the letters stands proud of the stone.
It reads 'Here lies the body of Thomas Bailey who died March ye 15th 1733 his age 47 years'
'Tho death cast me away in my best days I still live to give my God ye praise free from all pain and trouble now I move in endless pleasures and unbounded love Cease then you tears remain you'll live to see me once alive again Blessed are the dead who die in ye Lord'
A smaller stone marks the final resting place of Sarah, the daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Baly.
This one reads...
'Here lies ye body of Sarah daughter of Tho & Eliz Baly she died March 29th 1744 aged 19 years'
The death toll amongst the young people of that day is very sad. I had expected, when starting to do this, to see a very high infant mortality rate. I didn't expect to see the toll it took of those aged, say 15 - 30 though! The inscription continues...
'Trouble and pain I did endure while in this world I here lived but since I am dead & at my rest I hope to meet my saviour'
The stone to the other Thomas Baly has the hour glass and crossed bones symbols; with 'Memento Mori' carved across the top, Remember Death'. Two heart symbols can be seen either side of the single angel's head.
The first three lines are carved in relief Another gravestone of the highest quality.
'Here lies the body of Tho Baly he died April 25th 1723 aged 76 year'
'You readers both old and young your time on earth will not be long for death will come and die you must and like to me return to dust'
As I mentioned earlier, these church grounds are not the happiest of places to be in if you really look closely at the inscriptions.
The fairly small child's gravestone to William Lord has sunk in to the ground a little and any inscription lower down on this stone is lost to view. Very sadly, another to have died very young.
'Here lyeth the body of William Lord he died March 11th 1742 in the first year of his age'
The angel on the stone to John Scanton is more basic in design than some here. Possibly not a top of the range model. The angel here has slightly mismatched wings and appears to be asleep!
This stone is inscribed 'Here lyeth the body of John Scanton he died December the 26th 1755 aged 40 years'
'Farewell my wife & children dear within this world I've left behind do not lament nor shed a tear eternity be sure you mind'
To finish this look at the Belvoir Angel stones at the church of St Luke, we have a stone to John Barlow.
This one is inscribed 'Here lies the body of John Barlow he died Sep ye 10th 1741 aged 65 years'
On the reverse of this stone is carved 'Here lies the body of Robert Barlow who departed this life on the 55th year of his age December 11th 1700.
This date of 1700 would make this the earliest of the surviving Belvoir Angel stones here. However, as this is on the reverse of the grave to John, I am assuming that this was carved at the date of John's death in 1741.
There was one other Belvoir Angel stone recorded in the Heathcote study, which I failed to track down. From the notes made at the time, this stone was badly damaged and the name of the deceased was lost. I am assuming that this meant that most, if not all of the angel was lost as well. It was a female who died in 1742 aged 84 years.