I came across this elegant little family group during the summer in a country churchyard. Although a couple are damaged, they are all still in reasonably good condition. The panels set into the stone crosses are made from metal with a floral painted decoration which I feel may be anticipating the Art Nouveau movement. It flourished from 1861 – 1914 and the dates of death would fit it with this.
On this one, dedicated to Charles William Elliott, the floral decoration is intact despite the epitaph being damaged and you can see the flowing, sinuous lines of the stems and petals which is typical of Art Nouveau. However, the inscription is in a Gothic style.
The epitaph above is very poignant as it’s dedicated to 4 children, 2 of whom died as babies and 2 others, presumably twins , who died at just under a year old. The epitaph is again in Gothic style with more restrained floral decoration and the addition of a cross.
This may be dedicated to the mother of the children who lived until she was in her 60’s and she seems to have been buried with another child who died at just under a year old.
The trio are one of the few memorials within the churchyard which still appear to be in their original place as most have been moved to an outer wall. They emphasise the high infant mortality rate during the 19th century which is why people often had big families. Not all the children were expected to survive. It must have been heartbreaking. I have only seen one other memorial in this style and it was in Highgate East cemetery.
So, an elegant and intriguing little trio of memorials that tell a sad story of a local family.
©Carole Tyrrell Text and photographs