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St Anne, Baslow, Derbyshire

03/08/2015: When church roofs were releaded often a panel was made to hang in the church to record the date and the names of churchwardens, vicar and plumber. These panels sometimes also include 'graffiti' in the form of outlines of hands or feet, presumably of the wormken who did the job. Baslow has a panel like this in the porch.

All churchyards feature stones which record the brief lives of those who 'died in their infancy'. Sometimes these children are named, sometimes their dates are given. Other times they are just listed as 'children of...' and it is noted that they were unnamed. Infant mortality was common, perinatal care was rudimentary and life expectancy was short.

Baslow has a headstone listing some of the children of John and Elenor Henry, as follows:

So of their children born between 1825 and 1835, four died in childhood and another as a young adult. We don't know the causes of death, but it makes me grateful for universal free healthcare, good perinatal care and childhood vaccinations. It just saves that tiresome business of burying one of your children every few years...

The letter cutter who made the stone for Mark Furness had a bad day at the office. Not only is the deceased's surname spelled in two different ways (Furniss overcut with Furness, or vice versa), he also had a problem with their/there/thare (in 'Elizabeth the/a/ire daughter') and had several stabs at spelling 'infancy'.

And going back to the topic of infant and juvenile mortality, Mark and Elizabeth Furness buried 6 of their children, aged 2, 9, 11, two in infancy and another aged 34 years.

I have been surprised how common it is to find headstones mentioning people who died overseas. Baslow has a stone featuring William Fletcher Pickersgill who died in San Leandro, California.

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