Tomb of Benjamin Drawwater, "gentleman of Mansfield, late of Eastwood" whose epitaph records that "in his professional capacity he had accompanied the great circumnavigator [Captain] Cook" in 1772-75.


In connection with a district wherein educational facilities were formerly, no doubt, mainly conspicuous by their absence, it is not to be wondered at that orthographical errors abound, the following being examples culled from the inscriptions: Awile for awhile, furst for first, where for were, supprise for surprise, tain for ta'en, ath for hath, er'e for e'er, whohever for whoever, and—as late as 1837— boddey for body. Occasionally such original orthography may be presumed to record local pronunciation, as in valiest for valueet, and futer for future. A curious example that has all the appearance of reflecting oral instructions to the sculptor, is represented by the occurrence, in a verse, of "were" in a place where the sense dictates that "who are" or "who're" should have been cut. Such as are interested will find further instances of grammatical shortcomings among the rhymes.

Among other curiosities may be mentioned the circumstance that a Bratt headstone quotes ages but not dates. This, however, is outdone by another stone giving neither, as the following copy of the inscription will show:—"Here lieth the Bodies of Ann Toul and her three Children Ann & 2 Jonathans." On the other hand, a (retiring memorial, to the years of the ages of two children, adds the additional months and days.

A Paxton stone, in place of "who died'' or its ordinary variants, has "Whose vital spark of Life was Extinguished." A Wilcockson stone similarly eschews the commonplace by adopting the phrase, "Who bid adieu to this changing Scene.'' The definite reference, on a Jackson memorial, to "a long and painfull Illnes," though unusual, does not stand alone. Laudatory matter is commonly confined to verse; the following, on a Buxton stone, being selected from the occasional instances of the contrary: —"A Loveing Husband, A tender Parent, A careful Liv'er, and a hater of Strife."

One further unusual feature among these inscriptions is that of prose advice and moralisings—which must not of course, be confounded with the much more common incidence of scriptural quotations. Two instances are appended, the first being taken from a Wilcockson stone:—"It is your wisdom and duty solemnly to commit your spirit unto the hands of God —to be sanctified by his grace—devoted to his honour—employed in his service—and fitted for his kingdom." From a Smeeton stone:— ''Reader! cast thine eyes around thee: Attend to the Chronicles of Mortality: Then let reflection prepare thee for Eternity."


Turning for one moment to the subject of data not exclusively derived from the memorial, the present writer is not acquainted with more than two items. Hard by the north-east of the church are headstones to the Clay and Reppen families, and I was told that at or near the same spot was interred a young woman who had the misfortune to be included in the terrible Saville's execution catastrophe, at Nottingham, in 1844. My informant, indeed, was under the impression that a memorial existed, but I found none. However, the story is probably true, for the Nottingham Date Book shows that one of the victims was "Melicent Shaw, aged 20 years, a fine young woman, daughter of William Shaw, of Kimberley," and it has already been seen that the Kimberley graveyard was not in existence before 1848.

The second item arises out of the execution, recorded in the Date Book, in 1813, of William Simpson, a Bulwell man. With two others, he was convicted of breaking into the dwelling-house of Stephen Watson, farmer, of Watnall, and stealing therefrom six cheeses, four silver teaspoons, £1 9s. 7d. in money, a gun, and other articles. The three men were all sentenced to be hanged, but two were subsequently reprieved, on the ground that their degree of culpability was not so great as that of Simpson, who had presented firearms at, and threatened to shoot the farmer. The remainder of these events is represented by a partially perished headstone, whereon the following is all I could make out:—"Sacred to the Memory of Stephen Watson, who departed this life February [5th] 1820, Aged [7—] years. ... [Stephen] .... who departed this life June [—4th 184—] Aged 88 years.

[Through many] a year from youth to old age,
W ------- [life's longest] pilgrimage ;
But nought can avail of strength or art,
To elude death's sure and unerring dart.
The destined stroke----------th descend.
And the [oldest] beneath ----force must bend;
For though the way be never so long,
At last it ringeth to evensong.

The Greasley inscriptions do not comprise any particularly uncommon male names, the following being the least usual:—Abel, Abraham, Adam, Cornelius, Enoch, Isaiah, Jacob, Job, Jonathan, Lancelot, Levi, Moses, Oliver, Valentine, Zachariah, and Zeph. On selecting a similar number from the female names, however, it will be seen that they include a few less familiar items:—Alebheia, Bertha, Cecily, Easter, Henrietta, Judy, Lavinia, Luna, Lydia, Meddy, Priscilla, Sally, Tanny, Theodoeia, Zillah, aind Zilphar. Only one name out of the foregoing lists, to wit Lancelot, occurring on a Shaw memorial nearly two centuries old, is specially worthy of note, as reflecting the hereditary cognomen of the Rollestons, manorial lords of Watnal1. Such adoption of the name of the squire may be presumed to have been more or less current in all parishes, the parish-registers testifying that it was markedly so at Greasley, from an early date. For instance, between 1600 and 1718 no less than fifteen "Lancelot" entries figure among the Greasley marriages, though it is only fair to say that some of them appear to have been re-marriages on the part of widowers.


Even if scarcely any occupations transpire, the Greasley inscriptions, as has been stated, include many place-names—though on only one memorial (Leivers family) occurs the superfluous information, "interred at Greasley, Notts." The before-mentioned definite references to families associated with the constituent hamlets (in cases duplicated on a plurality of stones to the same family) may be thus summarised : —

BRINSLEY:—Buxton, Calveart, Chambers, Cook, Cooper, Flint, Gething, Nix, Oates, Oats, Parker, Priest, Riley, Smeeton, Starkey, Thompson.
WATNALL:—Atten [borough] of Wa-----. [partially perished], Banner, Clarke, Grammer [died at]. Greensmith, Head, Shaw, Sleight, Southern, Swinden, Toule, Twells, Watkinson.
NEWTHORPE:—Ball, Barton, Bratt, Cook, Grammer, Hall, Leivers, Mounteney, Saxton, Shaw.
MOORGREEN:—Brassington, Gelstharp, Heptonstall, Rogers, Taylor, Yeomans.
KIMBERLEY:—Cocking, Hanson, Trueman [late of], Wilcockson, Young.
BEAUVALE:—Sanders, King.
HEMPSHILL:—[Died at] Grammer and Barber.

But the foregoing does not exhaust the list, even of parochial references, in the Greasley inscriptions. In a number of further cases the particular house, farm, or place, is mentioned, as the following list will show:—

Attenborough, "late of Gilt-Briggs in the Parish of Greasley."
Barber, "of Lamb Close House."
Chambers, "of Beauvale Abbey."
Dawes, "of Newthorpe Grange."
Grammar, "late of Greasley Castle."
Leevers, "of Kimberley-knowl."
Renshaw, "of Townend, Moorgreen."
Sanders, "of Beauvale Abbey, gentn."
Shaw, "of Brinsley Gin Farm." (Presumably the middle word in this place-name represents, as in other case, a contracted form of "engine.")
Sleight, "died at Newthorpe Cottage."
Tatum, "of Watnall Coppice."
Winson, "Beauvale Farm, Greasley."
Wood, "of Beauvale Mill."

Yet one other reference to what is presumably a parochial place occurs on the headstone of a Greensmith, "of Mill Hay." In this connection may be mentioned the circumstance that, in my copy of "Thoroton," the concluding sentence in the account of Wansley, referring to one "Shepheard of Hempshill," has been corrected by some old-time owner so as to read: "Jo. Shepheard, of Miln Hay."

It will be observed that, in one or two instances above quoted, the compilers of the inscriptions presumed local knowledge on the part of their readers. A perhaps more notable instance of such presumption appears to transpire on three headstones of the Annable family, two of which are inscribed "of Breasting," while the third has, "died at Breasting."

Though the place-name was unfamiliar, I tacitly imagined it to be some more or less distant "vill," the locality whereof might be learned from a British gazetteer. Previous to unsuccessfully making such search, however, on chancing to glance through Thoroton's account of Watnall, and armed with some experience of the persistence of ancient place-names, I was saved from any disappointment I might otherwise have felt, by observing a 14th century allusion to land at Watnall in a place called "Broke-bresting." I have lately learnt that a farm yet bears this latter name, which indeed occurs on the Ordnance Map. A parallel case, perhaps, is that of another headstone to the family of Hannes, of "Merkiston." Regarding the former name, however, since this article was written, I have noted the three following relevant, though corrupt, occurrences in an. unlikely place, to wit, the parish register of St. Peter's, Nottingham:—

18 August 1678: William son of Luke and Katherine Potter of Brookes Bressle baptised.
11 July 1679 Edward son of Luke and Katherine Potter of Brook Breston baptised.
1 August 1679: Edward son of Luke Potter of Brooks-brestow buried buried.

It may be incidentally mentioned that the memorials comprise no reference either to the places or the individuals figuring in the following extract from the "Nottingham Journal" for March 5th, 1808:—" Married at Greasley Church on Monday last, George Brown, gentleman, of the Coppice End, aged 58, to Miss Mary Cooke, of Newthorpe Common, a sprightly girl of 15."

However, in addition to places within the ancient parish, the Greasley inscriptions comprise the customary sprinkling of references to outside places, us follow :—

Annable, of West Square, London.
Brown, of Weaste, Manchester.
Drawwater, gentleman, of Mansfield, late of Eastwood.
Drawwater, departed this life at Nottingham,
Flint, of Felley Mill.
Flint, buried at Kirkstead in Lincolnshire
Godber, of Whyburn, Hucknall Torkard.
Godber, died at Ockbrook.
Greensmith, of Nottingham.
Hall, late of Duffield.
Ingram, of Eastwood.
Leivers, of Awsworth.
Leivers, interred at Calverton.
Millington, of Felley.
Ogle, of Nottingham.
Raworth, of Heanor.
Read, gent., late of Calverton
Read Grammer, died at Langton Hall.
Sleight, of Wollaton.
Toplis, gentleman, of Westhill, Heanor.
Trueman, died at Chesterfield.
Waid, died at Wandsworth, Surrey.

To prevent misconception, it may be well here to repeat the intimation that the data transpiring in the modern section of the churchyard are not embraced within the scope of these notes.