In so many ways.
I came across this in the tiny parish church at Udimore, in Sussex.
If you happen to be in Rye church again, would you mind taking a photo of the tomb of James Benn in the great chancel - if it still exists? One of my family (an infant death) is said to be buried near it, and one of his brothers was named after said James Benn, but I know nothing more about this person, and tomb might at least give me dates! The infant died in 1725, so I'd imagine his tomb would date from around then.
I wish I'd known in advance. I'd have enjoyed looking.
I don't have any immediate plans for going back, but I'm sure I will sometime in the not too distant future.
Thanks - there's no hurry, but I'd certainly be curious if you find yourself there again.
I would guess that the Widow Marshall had no surviving family at such a grand age which is why Benjamin Cooper did this neighbourly deed.
The entirety of the 18th century- so she lived though the industrial revolution not that it would have had much visible effect in rural Sussex.
I've never seen a monument quite like it before- in the classical taste but so rustic in execution. It would be good to know the story behind it. I'm guessing Widow Marshall was poor but well respected- a local "character" perhaps.
A bit of research shows that both the Coopers and the Marshalls were local families and that the Widow Marshall was likely to have had descendents as they're still farming there in the late 19th century. Benjamin Cooper died some time after 1807 as his burial record exists in the National Archive.
Thank you for looking that up. It's good to know.
1698 - 1798, oh the things she saw.
That's a right venerable age no matter what the century.
Did you notice if the plaque was metal or ceramic? It looks a bit roughly made.
I think it's stone- some kind of marble. That's the default material for this kind of memorial.
Yes, it's a touchingly clumsy piece of work. I imagine it was made locally.
That makes sense. I was thinking too much in Spanish terms where many times plaques are metal or ceramic, even the older ones.
Yes, those materials would be very unusual in an English church.
I wish now I'd got up on tiptoe and checked out the material. There's a chance it could be wood pretending to be stone.
Is it just me, or is there something just a bit snarky about the motto "Death Will Come at Last" in this context?
You could be right.
Or it could just be conventional 18th century moralizing.
I'd love to know the story.
In the 18th century, it had a double meaning- that death comes to all and that it would be the last experience for all.