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St Mary, Mappleton, Derbyshire

25/02/2015: This beautiful tiny church nestles beneath the hills alongside the River Dove on the Derbyshire / Staffordshire border. Handily the village pub is just a few steps away.

Poor Frank has as flinty a disposition as the next 18th century letter cutter, but the headstone for Elizabeth, wife of John Tunnicliff and of their daughter Ann makes even Frank turn wistful. Elizabeth died in 1753 aged 25, just a couple of months after giving birth to a daughter. A few short years later the daughter died on her fifth birthday. The headstone is fixed to the outside wall of the church under a pediment. The stone is a little cracked at the top and is probably Swithland slate from Leicestershire. The headstone is nicely laid out and beautifully cut, with a few attractive flourishes around the lettering.

According to sources on the web who have researched the Tunnicliff family, John had other young children by Elizabeth, was remarried soon after and at some time later emigrated to Pennsylvania, USA. Given the terrifying rate of infant and peri-natal mortality of the time, a couple would not expect all of their children to survive infancy. However, I imagine leaving this headstone to travel thousands of miles to the colonies was not easy.

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