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St Peter, Parwich, Derbyshire

01/11/2015: Samuel Wright died in 1844 aged 81. His headstone does not record his trade explicitly, but we might assume he was a blacksmith. The text reads, "My sledge and hammer lies declined, My bellows too have lost their wind, My fires extinguished, forge decayed, And in the dust my voice is laid, My coals are finished, My Iron gone, The last nail drove, and work is done."

We assume that only a child would state their age in years and a fraction - "I'm four and a half"... but at any age, every last day is of value. We cling on as best we can. So we should not be surprised that the headstone for John Gould tells us his age was "94 years and 51 weeks".

Now much overgrown with holly and ivy, the headstone for young Fanny Elizabeth May, aged just fifteen (and a half) tells us that she died after a "rapidly fatal illness while at school in London".

The headstone for Mary Alsop who died in 1863 was a success. Decent lettering, nice spacing and not overly florid in design or content (considering the Victorian tendency to over-ornate design and hyperbolic epitaphs). Twenty years later the details of Mary's sister Lizabeth were added, less successfully. The lettering is slightly less good and the spelling of the letter cutter was less than perfect. See "ELIZARETH" (corrected) and "DAUGHTEE" (not corrected). The lettering on this stone shows traces of black paint in the cuts. Lettering was often painted in, but outdoor memorials older than this rarely retain any visible traces.

The lettering on the headstone for Sarah Ann and James Prince and two of their daughters is slightly agricultural, not of the highest quality. On the other hand the letters are cut deep, so in good side-lighting the contrast is very good. The age of one of the daughters has been edited, but the recarving has been done in such a way as to immediately draw the eye to the mistake. This is a common phenomenon and I wrote a blog post about the options open to the letter carver when things go wrong.

Two beautiful windows record the names of all children of the parish aged 14 or under in the year 2000. The windows were designed and engraved by David Pilkington and made by Ian Baillie.

© Copyright Poor Frank Raw, 2016