There are some very interesting epitaphs to be seen on gravestones in our
churchyards and cemeteries.
The gravestone of a young 19th century blacksmith in the churchyard at Sprotborough in South Yorkshire bears an emblem of a sickle, a hammer and a pair of pincers.
The epitaph reads :
‘ Sacred to the memory of George Naffaw
who departed this life
10 1825 aged 26 years.
My sledge and hammer has declined
My bellows have lost their wind.
My fire’s extinct,. My forge decayed,
My vice now in the dust is laid.
My iron and my coals have gone.
My nails are drove, my work is done.
My fire-dried corpse lies here at rest
My soul is waiting to be blest.’
In the churchyard at St Petroc’s church at Lydford in
Devon is a tomb with the outline of a long case clock
carved on the stone top and the following epitaph :
‘ Here lies in horizontal position the outside case of
George Routleigh, Watchmaker,
Whose abilities in that line were an honour to his profession.
Integrity was his mainspring, and prudence the regulator of all the actions of his life.
Humane, generous and liberal, his hand never stopped till he had relieved distress.
So nicely regulated were all his motions
that he never went wrong except when set agoing by people who did not know his key.
Even then he was easily set right again.
He had the art of disposing his time so well that his hours glided away,
In one continual round of pleasure and delight,
till an unlucky minute put a period to his existence.
He departed this life Nov.14 1802, Aged 57.
Wound up in the hopes of being taken in hand by his Maker and of being thoroughly cleaned repaired and set agoing in the world to come..’
The long case clock is a drawing of an original made by Goerge Routleigh whose business was at Launceston. The clock case was made from surplus oak planks from Princetown church, The striking clock is in excellent working order and in possession of his family.
The Organ Builder
An unusual gravestone can be seen in the churchyard at Kildwick near Keighley in West Yorkshire. It is a stone replica of the first organ to be built by local man John Laycock. He died in 1889 at the age of 81 years
The bell ringer
Hezekiah Briggs was sexton and bell ringer at Bingley parish church in
West Yorkshire and apparently
attended some 7,000 funerals. He was
buried in the churchyard in 1844 and the following epitaph appears on his
‘ Here lies an old ringer beneath the cold clay,
Who has rung many peals for serious and gay,
Bob majors and trebles with ease he could bang
Till death called a ‘bob’ which brought the last clang.’