Standon, Staffordshire - All Saints

All Saints dates from 1086.  It was rebuilt in 1847, except the middle aisle and the tower.  It has since been restored three times.

Aged 100 years.

"All the children liked Dick"

"He loved his horses"

Aged 100 years.

The memorial describes a distinguished and brave military career in India,  Aden, and South Africa before death due to enteric fever aged only 27.

It is astonishing to find an effigy apparently split into two pieces, each one in a separate niche.

Cotes Heath, Staffordshire - St James

St James, Cotes Heath was formed as a district church from Eccleshall, Staffordshire in 1844.

These devoted companions were about 50 years apart in age.

"Mr Cricket"

Henry Moore "by whose efforts this Church was erected in 1838."

Theodosia Hinckes, "who built and partly endowed this Church in 1838, and also contributed largely to the Parsonage, and Schools, of the Parish."

Swynnerton, Staffordshire - St Mary

There are a few traces of the original 12th century building remaining in the present church, mainly the lower half of the tower and parts of the west wall.  The upper part of the tower was added in the 16th century.

"Died Approximately" is an unusual inscription.

Master wheelwright and factotum to this village.

Washington Carden was a "Captain of HM 30th Regt in which he served with the highest honour during 25 years."  He then "became the Catholic School Master in this Parish."

The reclining figure of a crusader with a Norman shield hanging from his left arm.  It is believed to be Sir John de Swynnerton, interred here about 1254.  

Many churches display records of bequests to the Church, for the benefit of the poor of the parish.

Charles Edmund Wood was killed in action at the battle of Neuve Chapelle in France on 11th March 1915, aged 30 years, and was buried near there.  His elder surviving brother John died in the same year on 24th November aged 32 years.

Local men who served in the Great War 1914-1918 served in a wide range of regiments.

Betley, Staffordshire - St Margaret

The first church at Betley probably dates to the 12th century.  The chancel was built in 1610 and the church tower dates from 1713.  There was major restoration in the 1840s.

A transcription is provided because this stone is so unusual:

THIS STONE is erected by Subscription to the Memory of MARY MALPAS the beloved daughter of JOHN & ANNE MALPAS who at the early age of 15 years & 10 months was on the night of June 28th 1835 most basely and cruelly murdered in CHAPEL FIELD HUNSTERSTON by THOMAS BAGGULEY an elderly Married MAN He escaped the punishment of the law by adding his own Death to that of his INNOCENT VICTIM.

. . . ? was the place and dark the midnight hour/Which gave sweet MARY to the Ruffian' pow'r/Stedfast in faith and strong in virtue's might/She fell a Martyr on that awful Night/Now safe from sin and harm She rests secure/among the blessed who in heart are pure.

Mary had been a domestic servant for 12 months, and her murderer was a labourer for the same employer, a married man with 8 living children.  He enticed her from her bedroom with a false story about her mother being ill, tried to assault her, and when she resisted he strangled her.  He then hanged himself in a farm building.

I was dismayed that rope barriers were in place with warnings that the space behind them was alarmed - I have never come across that before - so I did not dare go closer to this wall monument.  I believe that it commemorates the Egerton family of the 17th century.

"I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it."

Willit Clark "for upwards of 20 years was in the confidential employ of the late Sir John Broughton". 

Aged 102 years.

The tragic loss of triplet babies.

I suspect that my daughter Sally is pleased that she is not named Ezalda.

A view from the overflow graveyard across the road from the church.

Whitmore, Staffordshire - St Mary and All Saints

St Mary and All Saints was originally built in the twelfth century, and was restored and slightly extended in about 1880.

Aged 102 years (sorry it is sideways!)

Kathleen outlived two husbands, and was nearly 105 years old when she died.

Member of the South Australia Government 1868-1872.

Died of yellow fever in the West Indies in 1796, aged 23 years.  The Mainwaring family live in nearby Whitmore Hall.

An incised alabaster slab commemorating Edward Mainwaring (died 1580) and his wife.  

Horatio Mainwaring worked in the Indian Woods and Forests for 20 years.

Died in the London marathon in 1993.

Halmer End, Staffordshire - Methodist Church

The church is a former Primitive Methodist Chapel.

It is always difficult to photograph brass plaques without including a reflected self-portrait!  This plaque lists all the men and boys who died in the 1918 Minnie Pit explosion disaster, their ages (many were aged only 14, 15 or 16), their abode, and the place where they are buried.  Most are buried at nearby Audley church and Alsagers Bank church.

The Minnie Pit disaster took place on 12 January 1918 in Halmer End.  155 men and boys were killed, and Hugh Doorbar, Captain of the Birchenwood Colliery No. 1 rescue team was also killed while attempting to rescue survivors, bringing the final death toll to 156.

Minnie was a dangerous pit because it had firedamp.  Two other explosions had already happened before the 1918 disaster.  A blast killed all the pit ponies but no miners on 6 February 1898.  Nine miners were killed by an explosion on 17 January 1915.

On Saturday 12 January 248 men were working underground when a huge explosion occurred.  155 men died from the effects of the explosion, roof falls or inhaling poisonous gases.  The explosions caused severe damage to the underground workings.  Methane remained a problem.  It took over 12 months to recover all the bodies.

The Memorial Garden is across the road from the Methodist Church.

Talke, Staffordshire - St Martin

Churches dedicated to St Martin usually date from around the fifth century, so Talke church could well have ancient origins.  Part of the current church was built in 1749, and further work was carried out in 1794.

Wilmot Harrison lost his life in the Talk Oth Hill colliery explosion on May 27, 1901.

Under manager of Talke-O-Th-Hill colliery.

George was a baritone with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Eric "tended these War Commission Graves for many years", but sadly the next picture shows that no-one else has tended them recently.

Sarah was a "useful woman in this district for many years".

Two little girls died just 3 days apart, aged 11 months, and 2 years and 8 months, in January 1878.

The churchyard behind the church is well cared for.

Richard Jackson died in the Bunkers Hill colliery explosion on April 30, 1876, aged 59 years.

Job Cooper was accidentally killed in the mines belonging to the North Stafford Coal and Iron Company on July 23, 1868, aged 12 years.

William Hamilton was accidentally killed at the Woodshutts Colliery on July 14, 1863, aged 23 years.

John Beddis, aged 25, and Thomas Griffiths, aged 20, both died in the Talk Oth Hill explosion on December 13, 1866.

John Kenyon died in the Talk Oth Hill explosion on December 13, 1866, aged 32 years.

John and Sarah Birchall lost their daughter Sarah Jane on January 24, 1873 aged 6 years and 3 months.  Less than a month later their son Frank died in the Talk Oth Hill colliery explosion on February 18, 1873, aged 15 years and 8 months.

Thomas and Sarah Sherwin lost four children - Ada, aged 11 weeks, George aged 2 years, Harry aged 7 weeks, and Fred aged 6 years.  They also lost their son Richard when he was killed in the Talk Oth Hill explosion on February 18, 1873, aged19 years.

Samuel Brooks was accidentally killed at the North Stafford . .?. .  on July 12, 1867 aged 22 years.

John Whitney lost his life in the Talk Oth Hill explosion on December 13, 1866.

John Smith lost his life at Talk O'th Hill furnaces on 1st July 1870.

Aged 100 years.

Aged 100 years.