Memorial Stories - Inscription Tales

Inscription Tales of grief, fact and humour

Many Inscriptions on gravestones tell stories, some sad and some amusing. Here are a few.

Education obviously meant a lot in 1819 Standlake, Oxfordshire.
In/ Grateful and respectful tribute/ to the Memory of/ Mr WILLIAM TARRANT/Sixty years upwards Schoolmaster/ of this parish/Few could have excelled him as a teacher/None in attention to the improvement to those entrusted to his care/His scholars in gratitude for their/improvements and understanding/have erected this stone/departed this life March 26th 1819//

Burial Register shows that William Tarrant, Schoolmaster died aged 85 years. [Standlake Parish Churchyard, Oxfordshire]

At Stanton Harcourt Church we found:-
'Near this place lie the bodies of John HEWETT & Sarah DREW/ an industrious young man and/virtuous maiden of this parish/contracted in marriage/who being with many others at harvest/ work, were both in one instant killed/by lightening on the last day of July/1718/ 'Think not by rigorous judgement seiz'd/A pain so faithful could expire/Victims so pure Heav'n saw well pleas'd/And snatched them in celestial fire/Live well and fear no sudden fate/When God calls virtue to the grave/ A like tis justice soon or late/ Mercy alike to kill or save/Virtue unmov'd can hear thee call/And face the Flash that melts the Ball.'

[believed to have been written by Alexander Pope who was staying at Harcourt Manor House at the time.]

St Thomas' Oxford
To the memory of/ WILLIAM MASON/ who died/ June 26 1837/ Aged 35 years/ Also of five infant children of the/ [this line overwrites previous inscription] above who departed this life/ ROBERT MASON June 17/ 1831 Aged 6 months JOHN MASON/ July 8th 1832/ Aged 6 months/ ANN MASON/ April 15th/ 1834 Aged [?]3 months/ [--] June 30th [-----] ------------following lines eroded

[BRT quotes William MASON buried 1837 Jul 2 aged 35 years and notes: of Wallingford, later of the Canal Companys Wharf, Oxford "died through swallowing a core, or pip of an orange about 20 years ago.  It never passed through him - it was found inbedded in a state of crystalisation".]
[Spellings as shown]

At Potterne, Devizes, Wilts:
Here lies MARY the wife of JOHN FORD,
We hope her soul is gone to the Lord;
But if for Hell she has chang'd this life,
She had better be there than be John Ford's wife.

Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire:
Here lies one who for medicine would not give
A little gold; and so his life he lost;
I fancy that he'd wish again to live
Did he but know how much his funeral cost.

And a few for fun, origin unknown:
Here lies Ezekiah AIKLE/
Age 102/
The Good Die Young//

In London
Ann MANN/ Here lies Ann MANN/
Who lived an old maid/But died an old Mann.//
Dec 9. 1767//

Ribbesford, England
The children of Israel wanted bread/
And the Lord sent them Manna/
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife/
And the Devil sent him Anna.//

Here lies Johnny YEAST/Pardon me/For not rising//

On one tombstone at Boot Hill, Somerset
He called Bill Smith a Liar.//

At Bampton, Somerset, is the parish clerk's son who was killed by a falling icicle.

Bless my I.I.I.I.I./
Here he lies/
In a sad Pickle/
Killed by an Icicle/
In the Year 1776//