Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Henry Townsend, Boy Champion Long Distance Walker

When I came across this grave, I was so intrigued at the story recorded on the memorial. A real demonstration of a Father's love for his son. The memorial records the eight-year-old's prowess at long distance walking. The memorial is topped with a plaque that states: The Lad We Honour. At the base of the memorial, representations of medals and a large trophy he had won can be seen. I have yet to track down contemporary newspaper reports of his passing but I wonder if his pneumonia developed after walking a long distance in cold and wet conditions.

The inscription and the Father's words is inscribed across four panels:

Henry Townsend – Boy Champion

The Lad We Honour

In ever loving memory of Henry Townsend
The Boy Champion
Long Distance Walker
Who died of Pneumonia
October 17th, 1903 in his eighth year.
May the Influence of his sweet life lead many to a noble manhood

This wonderful boy, very early showed such a fondness for walking and other exercises, that at 8 years of age, he could walk from 6n to 21 miles without suffering the least fatigue. He was examined by Doctors Richmond, Boyd and Harris

The Companionship of my child has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. Even now, when alone, I feel life is a dreary wilderness. The memory of that sweet life still cheers and helps me on. His affectionate father.

Though so young, he had a very fine sensitive nature, was a good friend, sincere in affection and fond of home and its association, he was always active, energetic and clever in so many ways.

Erected by Public Subscription

Thursday, 5 February 2015

What's Inside a Head?

As I walk around Roman Catholic cemeteries and RC plots in other cemeteries, I see many, what I describe as ceramic, portraits of Jesus and Mary affixed to headstones. On many occasions, I see what remains after they have crumbled away. I always thought they were empty but a recent visit to St Joseph's RC Cemetery in Moston, Manchester provided examples of the interiors of these heads. First a few images of more complete examples, Then some examples of the contents . . .

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Couldn't live without Her!

A grave in the Parish Church of St Mary theVirgin, Goosnargh hides a sad tale. The cross marks the grave of Henry James Prescott who died of sickness during the First World War. Pte Prescott is listed as having been a member of the 5th Battalion, The King's Liverpool Regiment. The second son of Joseph and Alice Prescott, he died in Oswestry on 10 May 1918 aged 19 years. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that he was a member of the 60th Training Reserve Battalion, before transferring to the 535th Home Service Company, Labour Corps.

 Two further panels on the memorial, record the death of his parents. Alice Prescott died March 11, 1951 aged 78 years. John Prescott died a few weeks later on May 16, 1951 aged 79. It seems that John, who had been a Mental Nurse at the nearby Whittingham County Asylum, couldn't live without his beloved wife. His memorial panel bears the words:

She first deceased - he, for a little while tried to live without her, liked it not and died.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Headless Angels

A beautiful cross in St Helens Cemetery is flanked by angels. Both have had their heads removed. I often wonder whether there is a room at each cemetery where the missing heads have been collected together?

Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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