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Grave Times

The Farmer

  ‘Let’s talk of graves’ Richard Il iii ii.

This is a property magazine and what more valuable, long lasting piece of real estate can be bought than a burial plot. Once purchased, dug and occupied then a suitable inscription is required. What should be placed on a head stone? 

               Joe Bloggs 14/7/1958 – 19/5/2031.

Perhaps a comment:   

               ‘Much loved father and grandfather’

even a snippet of poetry or a phrase:  

               ‘Rest in Peace’.

Factual and dull. In Aldeburgh Churchyard rest two graves side by side. On one the words:

             BENJAMIN BRITTEN  1913-1976 on the other PETER PEARS 1910-1986

Succinct and celebrated. Is it necessary to embellish stones further?

            ‘This grave shall have a living monument’ Hamlet V i 

I suggest that gravestones can act as a form of local, social history. They can help to create a picture of the society and those involved in shaping it. Why not more facts? ‘Farmer of this Parish’, ‘Postman for 40 years,’ ‘Landlord of The Pig and Whistle’. We are very conservative in what we say on these head pieces. 

            ‘In the Memory of James Grey.

             Gamekeeper at Roydon Hall

    who was shot by poachers on January 22nd 1862 Aged 39′.

What a feast of information and questions and research possibilities accompany these words on this gravestone on a remote, hill top churchyard in Kent. Were the perpetrators captured and hanged? Was the crime committed for profit, for a dare, for a genuine need for food? Was it a planned murder or an accident? Words placed below:

            ‘Man cometh forth like a flower and is cut down’ Job XIV verse ii,

The Farmer

About Nigel Wheeler

Nigel Wheeler

Nigel Wheeler was born into a hop and fruit growing Kentish family. He served as a schoolmaster in UK and New Zealand. He is a former magistrate and High Sheriff of Kent. He is an avid follower of sport, theatre and fine ale.

Articles by Nigel Wheeler

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