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St Giles, Hartington, Derbyshire

16/01/2016: The churchyard was patrolled by two very friendly cats, despite the freezing temperatures. I spotted two 17th century lead-lettered stones, one to the vicar from 1666 to 1692. There are a collection of these at Darley Dale in what looks like original conditon (except for a couple of letters where the lead is lost). These appear to have been refilled much later. The letters on the one dated 1662 seem to have been eroded by weather and then refilled, making the strokes of the letters much wider than they should be.

The headstone for Bennit Higson is unusual in that both faces carry the same text (as far as can be seen above the ground). The layout is slightly different in each case. Why was this done? We don't know.

The headstone for Robert Webster and his family has a few errors. The letter carver struggled with the spelling of 'aforesaid', which we can probably overlook, since it is hardly noticeable. However he then had to edit the date of the death of Robert's son and the name of his wife. First he carved Sarah but then changed it to Mary. Fortunately the two names share a couple of letters in the middle, but the start and end of the name give the game away. Otherwise this stone is appealing - nicely cut letters, deep and crisp, and with surprisingly little weathering for a sandstone memorial open to the Derbyshire weather.

On the outside of a blocked doorway, two broken parts of old grave slabs have been used as part of the infill stonework.

Inside the church there are "early" wall paintings and the only set of painted boards in the county representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

Having a memorial placed inside a church generally indicates that you or your family were benefactors of the church and therefore, we assume, relatively wealthy. This leads us to expect that you would commission the finest craftsmen available to carry out the work. Occasionally (such as on the expensive monument to Mary Hall in Worcester Cathedral) an error can creep in, but errors on monuments inside are far less common than on the headstones outside. Hartington is the exception to the rule. The monument to Richard Bateman is strewn with edits. I counted five, there may be more, and I'm not qualified to comment on the quality of the Latin which may also be suspect.

© Copyright Poor Frank Raw, 2016