Saturday, 22 December 2012

James Rice a Beloved Brother

The story here reaches both sides of the Atlantic and conserns this plaque which is on the wall of a small church called St Michael in Eaton Hastings Oxfordshire. It reads
 " Sacred to the Memory of James Rice  a Beloved Brother who for many years used to worship near this spot. He was dear to all who knew him for his gentle unselfish and affectionate disposition. He was born on the 28 Feb 1843 and after a long illness and much suffering borur with the greatest patence and submission to the will of God he sunk into rest on the 5th Aug 1872. He Died at Topeka Kansans US and lies in the Cemetery of that Town"
 It intrigued me as  poor James had died a long way from home and lay buried in a  cemetery far from his family. I wondered if his grave could still be found.

I looked the town up on wikipedia then found the cemetery. This I looked up as well and found an email address I could write to and as luck would have it a lady called  Sara Judge Keckeisen from the Kansas Historical Society kindly sent me a PDF of the cemetery records for 1859 - 1880 and there in the list was James Rice. b Berkshire England. d 1872 Aug 5 Wabaunsee Co Kan. Rel Richard & Mary Rice. and on a Find a Grave link a photo of the grave which I saved

 The stone lay broken but the wording could be read,

" Sacred to the Memory of James Rice Son of the late Rev Richard Rice Eaton Hastings Berkshire England who died August 5 1872 aged 29 years. Thy Will Be Done Luke 11th 2nd" 
It seems such a shame the headstone was broken but I suppose at least it is still there. One thing that might have been of interest which not mentioned is what the poor fellow died from so if some one who reads this  lives near to the place and could contact the Sexton of Topeka Cemetery to see if there are any records of what he passed away from it would be interesting.
The photo I took is now linked in Find a Grave with James Rice's details.
RIP James
As a footnote I will leave you with these two photo's which I only just noticed while looking to see if I had any photo's I had taken for the Rev Rice and not realised I had,  beneath James plaque is a second
 to an Edmund Rice who died in Brisbane, Queensland Australia and Walter Rice who died in New Zealand. Both died on the far side of the world a long way from home. The second photo is of a Stained Glass window.
Written on the base is In Memory of Rev R Rice, Mary his Wife and Augustus Goodenough their son. I feel tiring to find the graves of the other two may be a lost cause but maybe there is some one reading this in Australia and New Zealand
who will one day come across their graves.
Since writing this blog I have collaborated with Sharon who runs a blog called Strong Foundations. She managed to find out more on the two Brothers who emigrated
"Edmund Rice was christened 4 May 1837 Shrivenham, Berkshire, England to parents Richard Rice and Mary Goodenough.

He died 28 January 1878 (age 41) and is buried in an unmarked grave at Dutton Park Cemetery, South Brisbane, Queensland (section 9a, plot 45 - refer link below).  He is buried with his wife Lucy Rice ( born 1846 - died 16 June 1896) and son Walter Rice (born 6 Feb 1875 - died 8 March 1934 age 59)."
Edmund (a chemist) married Alice "Lucy" Buxton on 2 July 1863 Lewisham, St Mary


Edmund and Lucy arrived in Australia  on the 14th January 1872.  They traveled in luxury (more than any of my relatives) in a second class cabin aboard the Winefred with two children, Alice age 4 and an infant girl (Sophia) who seems to have died onboard.  They later had son, Walter, who was born in Brisbane 6 Feb1875
Their remaining relatives live in Queensland
 Walter was born in 1845 and died 10th Feb 1880, Dunedin, NZ age 35.  He was a chemist like brother Edmund. He is buried at the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin, Block 144, Plot 13

PS in case you wondering about why I said Oxfordshire and the Headstone Berkshire the boundary's changed in the 1970's


Friday, 14 December 2012

Private W.G.Robinson

Last week I went round St Nicolas Church in Britwell Salome which is not far from where I live in Oxfordshire. After visiting the church for some internal photo's I had a wander round the churchyard and as usual look for interesting graves and headstones. I always keep an eye out for war graves which I take a photo of in case some one sees I have been to the place and asks about getting a photo of a relatives grave Private W.G.Robinson grave was in the churchyard and the only war grave I could see there so I took it for the record. On getting home I resized the photos ready for uploading to Geograph, It was while uploading them  I noticed the date on the headstone I feel I have to do him the honor of remembering him today on the 95th anniversary of his death. RIP

37411 Private W.G.Robinson Royal Berkshire Regiment 14th December 1917 Age 33
Was married to  Gladys Ellen Robinson in Watlington.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

All Hallows Churchyard

Just off Castle street in Wallingford  is a more or less forgotten churchyard. The entrance is of the lane which takes you to the George Hotel. For years it lay overgrown beside the Conservative hall. I never knew of it's existence till I walked past to the castle grounds one day.

The picture above is how I first saw the place. The church which was here till around 1643 when it was pulled down as part of the towns defenses in the civil war. The cemetery remained in use till 1859 now it is used more for a small park and is kept by the town council. The large memorial you can see is called the Bennett Memorial.
The inscription on the Bennett Memorial

The Bennett Memorial
I always think it is a sad thing to loose a church and sadder sill they get forgotten. At least this little area survives and is remembered

Friday, 16 November 2012


A few of the headstones and memorials that I have come across and photographed in various churchyards.

This one can be seen in Pangourne church

On the top of this memorial.

It managed to escape damage
In the churchyard you can see these headstones.

The Duchess of Suffolk at Ewelme Church

Underneath you can see her mouldering body.

 St Laurence church Tidmarsh

These are more from St Laurence church in Tidmarsh

Streatley Churchyard
Streatley again
I'll end this selection with one of my local churchyard, St Mary's at Cholsey where you can find Agatha Christies grave which is over to the left out of site.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

St Matthew Otterbourne

I found this place by accident while out with my camera one evening while my wife was off dog training. I was taking photo's for Geograph and on the map I noticed the words Graveyard. I took this at face value and thought that it would be the cemetery for the village, how wrong I was.
 A small gate leads you into an old churchyard with this sign at the entrance beyond that is a graveyard.

Row upon row of old headstones stand testament to what was once here

Family graves lay broken and the graves untended with weeds growing between.

Some are broken and are being lost in the weeds,

Others stand defiant and proud.

You can still see the outline of the church in the ground

An if you look carefully you will find the entrance with the remains of the door pillar still there.

Headstones have survived though the words on them have gone.
Bit you will find a few that you can read

It was late in the evening when I left to go back and meet up with my wife again so I had one last look and left. It's worth a visit if your in Otterbourne.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

We Will Remember Them

Today is Remembrance day on the 11th hour of the 11th month when hostilities stopped between Britain and Germany in the First War. Since then we remember the fallen from all our wars and honor them with two minutes silence.

I saw this at Brookwood commonwealth war cemetery and thought it a fitting tribute

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Old St John's Boughton

This was one of those places I noted on a map while looking for an area to photograph for Geograph.  It said Church (remains of) that was enough for me so after I had been to the town nearby I went to look for the church. This is what Wikipedia tell you.
"St John's Church surviving fragments are to the north of the Green. The church has been in ruins since at least 1784 when the spire collapsed. The current church of St John Baptist is in the village and believed to date from c.1350, with extensions in 1807 and 1874.It has a monument to Mary Tilemount (d.1706)."

Looking down from the entrance the first view of the church you see is this, ivy covered ruins and headstones poking out from the weeds.

To the left of the entrance you can see quite new graves as the place is still classed as a graveyard and people are buried here.

The remains themselves look as though the ivy is holding them together.

Here we look towards what would have been the chancel in the church.

 The window still has the wooden lintle in and one of the carved stone window frames.

Looking out the opposite end of the chapel you see headstones poking out of the nettles.

 A lot of which are in good condition

Nettles are every where making looking at headstones a painful experience if your not careful.

Not helped in the least by brambles which are sharp

 This was St Johns Spring.

A grave lost in the nettles and shrubs growing compared with the tended area with newer graves.

Some graves you see are so sad like this one of Peggy Wellstood who died in the Second World War her mother Martha buried beside her and lived to 106 years of age.

If you are ever near Broughton and head towards Moulton you will pass a set of gates like this then it is worth stopping off for an hour.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Brookwood Comonwealth War Cemetery

My second visit to Brookwood Commonwealth war cemetery was to find the grave of J A Wilding who was the pilot of a Halifax Bomber that crashed near Wallingford killing him and his Copilot J F Andrews. This time I had a better look around and am still amazed at the number of graves there which a lot seem to be from the first war. These are some of the photo's I took.
This one overlook the Commonwealth graves of Australia, and South Africa and the RAF. The cross and poppy at the top of the page was at it's base.
The Commonwealth war graves looking towards the cross

Looking towards the cross from the RAF memorial, the graves in the foreground are from the RAF though on this occasion I could not visit due to refurbishment of the area.

The RAF memorial

RAF Emblem on the memorial top.


In the cemetery you can see Polish and Czechoslovakian graves. 

  A French area and an Italian one nearby

The American with it's impressive chapel. Nearer the  cemetery entrance you can see  the memorial to those who have no known grave.
  Below is part of the Canadian Cemetery where I went to find J.A.Wilding which is the third grave along

  The grave of  Sargent K.H.Vaughan with a family photo left beside it
 Looking down the Canadian cemetery from the cross

Never knew the Chelsea pensioners were buried here but there is a plot for them as well

These four graves to
W Marshall
are close together and the date of
04/07/1944 on all the graves so I can only assume they all died in the same plane .

On my way out I noticed there was an area with German names on the headstones, many were single but a few like these three were close together, and from the date killed in the Battle of Britain but are still honored in the cemetery with their enemy of the time. They are buried in a place where there are no enemy's.
War has no winners, only losers and every one of the graves I have seen is a lost a loved one. RIP