Thomas the Wiveton millwright

I came across this lovely Yorkstone memorial recently in Wiveton, Norfolk. I love these stones that show the tools of the trade. This is really legible and sound after nearly 300 years……..a classic in my opinion. Interesting how the 1’s are dotted eh?

Wiveton millwright's stone

a trip across the border to the badlands (well, Suffolk, and it’s nice actually)

I installed a memorial in Thrandeston (near Diss) this week and visited it to take some photographs with the sun on the carving. It is Woodkirk stone, from near Dewsbury. There are some pictures below CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS FOR A BETTER LOOK :

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While I was in the area I went to see another stone I’d carved nearby in Cratfield, this stone has the inscription on both sides but in a very different design. There are some pictures of that here, it is weathering beautifully, and is also York stone but from Johnsons Wellfield Quarry (I think from memory they called it Rocking stone as opposed to Crossland Hill sandstone):


I also saw some beautiful 18th century stones in Cratfield. I am always on the lookout for these and waited until the sun was right to get these pictures. Below these memorials are some pictures of the beautiful pews (or to use the local accent bootiful poos, which reminds me of meeting a tradesman doing some building work in Sibton and he explained it was great that they had moovable poos there!). I love the simplicity of these pews, they remind me of pictish carvings.

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cratfield insidecratfield spiral1cratfield spiral2cratfield spiral3

Oulton Church floor plaques

I recently installed a headstone in Oulton churchyard, near Blickling in Norfolk. I found some reather nice plaques in the floor – nothing particularly unusual but really nice lettering, There are a lot of these dark plaques in church floors, and you might think they are slate on first impressions but it is some kind of limestone. It reminds me of Kilkenny limestone or Frosterley ‘marble’ and also Belgian Black. If anyone knows let me know! I love the lettering on these:ImageImageImageImage

I also saw a really old brass plaque from the mid-late 17th century. I love seeing how the spellings have changed over the YEARES:



I rather liked this too:


Limestone versus slate in Lincolnshire

I recently travelled through Lincolnshire on my way home, and photographed these memorials, two in Local Lincolnshire limestone and the third in slate probably from Leicestershire. They are all from the mid-late 18th Century and they show how well the slate weathers. The lettering on the limestone has almost disappeared and is barely legible whereas the slate is like new. Lincolnshire limestone is soft and needs to be carved deeply to last. I suspect the lettering was never very deep as the detailing on the cherubic angels is still quite visible. Other limestones such as Hornton limestone or Portland limestone that have always been used a lot for carving and memorial work seem to weather a bit better on the whole and sandstone such as York stone will last much longer as it contains a lot of silica. There’s a lot of variation around the country though in terms of how things last, for example Kilkenny limestone from Ireland is very hard and is much more durable.

a beautiful couple

I noticed these a while back and finally got a good photo of the pair in Skeyton churchyard, just down the road from my workshop.

What I like most about them is their size and subtlety, and their quiet subdued beauty. They are only about 12-18″ tall and yet for me stand out as being the most powerful memorials in this churchyard.

Coltishall memorials

One of my current obsessions is looking at 17th and 18th Century memorials, and Norfolk has a fine selection of these. Here are a few I photographed recently in Coltishall.

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I install my own memorial work all over Britain, and am always looking out for good examples of 17-18th century carving. Some stones from this period are very finely executed by master carvers that also studied typefaces, whereas other more “naive” examples were carved by jobbing masons, these are often more powerful in their impact, and the designs are often less carefully concieved. Often the carver will start the lettering top left and just see what happens in terms of how the words fit the stone. Some of the examples above are beautiful and obviously very carefully set out and carved, whereas others are less refined, the imagery is more direct and less “pretty”. If this is something you’re interested in I have many more photographs like these on my flickr pages. This is an ongoing project, and I am adding to these continually.

While I was in Coltishall I saw the above plaque outside on the church wall. This is an impressive piece of work with a lot of letter-cutting, (but it was rather difficult to photograph in the flat light). The wording is what made me want to post this image though, and it reads thus:

Sacred to the Memory of SIDAY HAWES and ELIZABETH his wife.
SIDAY HAWES was born at BURY in Suffolk, 8th October 1748
and died at 6th October 1827, in the 79th Year of his Age.
He was a Man of excellent understanding and great moral worth,
pious, just, and conscientious.
ELIZABETH, his wife, was the only daughter of HUGGINS PORSON,
parish clerk of EAST RUSTON and was Sister of RICHARD PORSON, late Greek
Professor in the University of CAMBRIDGE.
She was born 27th April, 1756, married 27th November 1786, and
died 7th March, 1842 in the 86th Year of Her Age.
She had by nature a strong and capacious mind, which she
found time to cultivate amidst the hardships of her early
life, and the various employments of her later Years:
whilst her piety and benevolence made her take delight in relieving
the sufferings of the poor, for she had both seen and felt what
those sufferings were. And thus, to the day of her Death,
she shared her own prosperity with the
class from which she sprang.
Happy herself she tried to make those around her happy, and with
firm and cheerful trust in the promises of our blessed Saviour,
she looked forward to Death, not as an evil but as a
glorious change of existence.
They had Seven children, two of them died young, and were buried
in this Church at the East end of the South Aisle.

Cley Churchyard: memorials to die for

I recently installed a plaque in Cley churchyard and took the opportunity to photograph some of the amazing 18th century memorials there. There is a really good collection there with many beautifully carved examples. I have shown a few examples below and there are more on my flickr pages. The carving on some of these memorial stones in and around Norfolk has obviously been carved by the same carver/mason. See the four examples in the collage at the bottom. Two are from Cley one from Holt and one from Barningham.

The shapes of the stones are similar too, but I’ve noticed the shape is often quite free. The two on the right for example are obviously drawn by hand and then masoned. The one on the bottom right is asymmetrical and seems to fit around the carving almost. It was a great period for carving in my opinion, and the York stone examples have weathered really well, much better than the limestone examples from the same time.