Tag Archives: gravestones

A sad pair of FAIRS gravestones at West Grinstead

25 Jul

This was one of the photos that I took yesterday at West Grinstead, Sussex. Both the gravestones belong to my FAIRS family and I think together they paint a rather sad picture.

A sad pair of FAIRS gravestones at West Grinstead

A sad pair of FAIRS gravestones at West Grinstead

It seems sad to me on two counts, firstly the condition of the stone on the left and secondly for the story that the one on the right tells.

The stone on the left is that of my 5x great grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth FAIRS, she died first on the 10th August 1835 aged 62 and Thomas died on the 20th February 1844 aged 73. What is really sad is the condition of the gravestone. The inscription on the stone is almost gone, and there was obviously some sort of carving at the top of the stone above the inscription, but now it is too worn to be able to make out.

Fortunately the inscription has already been recorded (at least twice) so I was able to check parts of it and confirm it was the right stone, but I doubt very much whether the carving was ever recorded anywhere.

The stone on the right is for Richard FAIRS the youngest son of Thomas and Elizabeth. He died on the 6th October 1832 aged 22. Therein lies the sadness, another FAIRS family member who died at a young age. We often hear about infant mortality, but this hardly falls into that category. Of course it is too early for a death certificate, so I am unlikely to ever find out why he died so young.

What does make me smile about the whole situation is the way that both stones are leaning towards each other, almost as if making contact again. What a wonderful illustration of the sentiment so often recorded on gravestones “together again”.

There doesn’t seem to have been much wandering going on recently

25 Jul

You could be forgiven for thinking that I haven’t done much walking recently, well I have been doing a bit, but having been on holiday there hasn’t really been any genealogy related walks to report on.

I have been recording my daily number of steps and mileage for a couple of years, as measured with my pedometer, so not necessarily accurate but close enough for me. Interestingly this week has seen me pass two milestones (pun intend) with my walking. Monday saw me reach 2,000,000 steps for the year and today my total mileage for the year passed a 1,000 miles.

Yesterday, despite the threat of showers, I went for a walk to West Grinstead church to look for FAIRS gravestones. I found the main ones I was interested in and got some photos, but didn’t linger as the weather conditions were looking less than promising as I set off for home.

Something nasty on the way?

Something nasty on the way?

This was the view looking north from West Grinstead church, however I should have been worrying about what was coming in the opposite direction. Unusually I heard the rain first, as it started to splash in the river, then it started to splash on me, so I put on my raincoat and hurried on.

The rain got harder as I started to head away from the river and towards a wood, which I hoped would give me shelter from what I hoped would only a passing shower. As I stepped inside the wood the hailstones started, not very big hailstones (some as big as peas but mostly smaller) but I moved deeper into the wood in search of shelter.

Soon I was on the other side of the wood, I had pulled my umbrella from my rucksack as well and at least my head was protected from the rain. At the gate on the other side of the wood I was more sheltered by a larger oak tree, and I could safely look out across the field where the other side of the field was barely visible.

Then as quickly as the rain had started, sunlight began to spread across the field, and the rain eased, and it was drops of water from the trees that were hitting my umbrella not rain. I started to make my way out into the field, edging my way along the side of the wood as the rain died away.

Then some where to my right there was an almighty crack of thunder, I decided that walking in the shelter of the wood might not be such a good idea after all and I edged my way out into the middle of the field and put my umbrella down, just in case.

Soon however the inside of my raincoat was getting wetter than the outside as I started to sweat in the sunshine, and I had to take it off. As I passed through the gate on the opposite side of the field I turned to look back towards the wood, and was surprised to see steam rising up off the field.

The whole incident had probably only lasted five minutes, and the sky had cleared again. I had avoided the worst of the rain and hail by taking shelter in the wood, but wondered if I had upset someone up at West Grinstead church!


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