St Wilfrid’s Ledger Stones

Date: Friday 10th January 2020
Another good turnout for this our second visit to record the ledger stones but with almost a completely different lineup – joining me and Andy this time were Chris Drabble, Jim Meehan and Ken Scally (Dave Thomas and Patrick also paid short visits).  While Chris and Ken tackled the back section of the Church, Jim started work on the front end of the Duxbury Chapel. Jim was later helped with Andy who was first given the task of checking some of the dimensions which hadn’t seemed right when creating the plan drawing. In the meantime I set about recording the stones on camera – didn’t get too far with this due to various distractions.However it was obvious that some of the stones would benefit from a racking light source (as in the example below).
The text on his one actually reads ‘[Here] Lies the Body.. Wife of Edward Roscoe of Charnock Richd, who departed [th]is Life, October the 28th 1778 Aged 60 Years. We must needs die and are water split on the ground which cannot be gathered up again neither doth GOD respect any person yet doth he devise means that his banished be not expelled. Mois est inevitabilis (Death is inevitable)’.

Date: Friday 13th December 2019
Great turnout today for this project. Joining me today were Andy Wilcock, John Smalley, Martin Trumble, Trevor Boardman, Dave Thomas, Simon and Eileen Brogan (and later on, Patrick). The sheets I’d prepared for this project were modified versions of the Graffiti Survey sheets and, as before, I’d split the church into various zones. I quickly noticed however that the Central Aisle had not had already been re-carpeted (we may get a chance to do this area if it gets redone with the rest).
After explaining the procedure, we split into groups of two and began recording. Dave and Martin started with the Standish Chapel (in fact only the area in front of the Chapel had ledger stones, the Chapel itself had fairly recently been re-floored with wooden floorboards and stone tiles). John and Andy tackled the South Aisle while Simon and Eileen, the North Aisle (Patrick’s expertise in reading old documents helped with some of the difficult ones here). In the meantime Trevor and I carried out a general survey of the Church’s dimensions so that an accurate drawing of the floor plan can be made. We made great progress but we will need at least one more visit to finish the Duxbury Chapel and the area at the back of the church (and of course we have the photos to do). Our priority is the areas that are to be re-carpeted but we would also like to do the Chanel which is traditionally left bare – a couple brass plates there present a particular interesting challenge.
We were particularly intrigued by a skull and crossbones on the northside plaque but proved difficult to capture on photographically. We did manage to get a lot of the text though and here is our initial attempt at reading and translating the bits we could see (this is where Patrick’s knowledge of Latin came in handy).
What stood out immediately for him was ‘Maternis Lacrymans ata Sororus’ – the tears of a mother ?and sister. With ‘Etatis XXXIII’ it seems the guy died in his 33rd year (meaning he was 32). What is useful to us is the date ‘Ano Dom MDCCXXIII’ – anno domini (AD) 1723. Having checked the burial records it is very likely that the plaque is dedicated to the Rector John Johnson who was in his post for less than a year. According to Porteus’ ‘History of Standish’ he died after breaking his hip after falling in the graveyard.