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St Mary, Crich, Derbyshire

07/08/2015: Large areas to the south and west of the churchyard at St Mary's have been cleared of old headstones and it looks like the groundskeeper is intent on pressing on with the job to the north. Some of the old headstones have been used to lay a path from the west door to the gate at the north west corner. See the page for St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield for another example of this philistinic cultural vandalism.

To the north a few slate headstones have been recently flattened, some face down, some face up. The mower has been driven over the uneven result, leaving one smashed and the others being scraped and scalped by the mower blades. Rather than display this level of insensitivity to the memorials of the dead, they may as well just pull them up and crush them for hardcore - why not do the job properly and remove the evidence?

The pair by the west door are laid head to toe. They couldn't even be bothered to lay them both the same way round - not that anyone cared there was something recorded on these pieces of stone. And of course Crich is surrounded by quarries, so if the PCC needed some paving they wouldn't have to go far to get it.

So, we'd better get busy, recording the remaining interesting stones before the local wrecking crew raze the rest...

Robert Gaunt went for a ride, got a bruise and died five months later in 1796, aged just 32, as a result of his "mortifi'd" injury. His headstone records that his wife was called Truth Gaunt. Towards the bottom of the headstone can be seen some ghostly text, as if perhaps the stone has been previously used, resurfaced and re-used. The letters 'OBIT 31' can just about be seen.

In the middle of the 19th century, Mark and Jemima Noble of Washington (a nearby village, now named Wessington) buried three of their sons in a six year period, all in their twenties. This family tragedy didn't make the letter cutter check his spelling before cutting 'THEIR/THERE'.

In 1880 the 26 year old Nahum Holden, away from home, "By a wise but mysterious providence, was suddenly removed into eternity, in Walney Channel". He was burried at Barrow in Furness.

On 15 July 1819 a lady died, who for 71 years rejoiced in the name Fanny Fidler.

On the outside wall of the church there is a memorial to William and Sarah Goodall/Goodale. They died 15 years apart and the style of lettering is not the same for the two deaths, so two different letter cutters are probably responsible. The second might have ensured the surname was spelled the same though... unless the first instance was wrong...

Another memorial on an outside wall records the death of John Cooper, aged 56, and his three wives. The last one survived him.

A timber of unknown use, moved from elsewhere in the church, records the name of the minister and two churchwardens from 1640. Nice reversed Ns.

In the chancel is a small brass plaque beseeching us to "DISTURB not the ASHES OF David Woodhouse or Ann his Wife". Sadly it appears that someone in the years since it was made (late 18th century?) did disturb them - and the peace of the church - by taking a potshot at the plaque with a small bore shotgun, as the plaque is peppered with indentations from the pellets.

© Copyright Poor Frank Raw, 2016