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All Saints, Mackworth, Derbyshire

02/03/2015: (Locked) James and Alice Johnson buried their 'beloved' son William, aged 43, in 1831, but I detect some disappointment. "O that I had been like the ant, had learn'd her ways and been wise". Sounds like he was not the industrious sort. Whereas beneath the details of the father is the Latin motto "VIXIT DUM, VIXIT PROB[IS]" - while he lived, he lived honestly.

When sandstone or limestone memorials are laid on the ground they absorb moisture, making the surface of the stone prone to growing moss - especially in the letters where water collects. You then sometimes get a stone decorated with moss lettering, perfectly following for the forms of the letters.

At Mackworth is a headstone very much like the infamous HANNAH/ELIZABETH 'edited' stone at St Chad, Longford, mentioned here. Most of the letter forms are identical, the material is a very close match to the Swithland slate at Longford and coincidentally both stones feature the name Elizabeth. I don't have the name of a maker but the two churches are just six or seven miles apart so if not the same letter cutter they are likely to be from the same local workshop.

Young Samuel Goodall died aged 15 in 1845. Apparently, like for so many in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was "pale consumption gave the fatal blow". The letter carver slipped a little, spelling 'cherished' incorrectly, but wisely leaving it alone rather than attempting a messy fix.

We have some saddle, or staddle, stones in our garden so I was surprised to find one in the churchyard at Mackworth, among the headstones. Then looking at the other side I realised why. It had been reused as a memorial by having a brass or copper plate attached, bearing the details of a parishioner.

John Brown died aged 26 in 1780 and is described on his headstone (in poetic verse) as a 'faithful swain'. That didn't stop the letter carver needing two attempts at John's age and the word 'Friend'.

Young Anne Toplis died in 1785 in the "third year of her age". The letter carver, given a doggerel verse to add to the foot of her headstone was unlucky to mistake "My Time was Short" for "My Time was Shot"... But he did spot the error and insert the missing r.

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