So That's Where I Get It From

May 24, 2015

Sentimental Sunday – Completion of Restoration of my ancestors’ Table Top Tombs

Having been away from my blog for such a very long time, which was never meant, looking after my 104 and a half year old Aunt has taken over our lives so I just haven’t been able to post here as I wanted to.

Today I had some wonderful news so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to post on my blog once again.¬† I can’t stop smiling ūüôā

I am placing this under the Blogging Prompt of Sentimental Sunday because to me this is very sentimental.

I am sooooooooooooooooooooo delighted, excited, thrilled, happy and all sorts of things in that mood¬†ūüôā¬† ūüôā¬† ūüôā¬†Please bear with me while I explain and add lots of photos!! Many of you know I have been researching my family tree (for almost thirty years now) and have my Read family back to the 1500s. Many of my ancestors are buried in what I call the Read Plot at Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire and in the plot are three tabletop tombs. One contains my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and his wife Elizabeth, another contains his son William Read, William’s Wife Mary, their daughter Mary and Mary’s husband John Moores. The third tabletop tomb contains another of Cozens Read’s sons, Michael Read and his wife Martha.

A few years ago, in 2007, my other half Paul and I visited the Plot and cleared and tidied up and repaired these and other Read gravestones – pictures of this follow. Two or three years or so ago, William Read’s tomb collapsed and I was informed that the church was going to restore it. I tried to get grants for restoring it but that took such a long time, waiting waiting waiting for decisions and in the meantime the church and the villagers managed to organise a Lottery Heritage grant.

Last year I was told they were going ahead with the restoration and asked my thoughts about it. I was very pleased of course. Anyway, today, I found out that yesterday the restoration is complete! They have restored all three table top tombs and here is a link to the BBC news item about it – They even mention me!!!!¬†ūüôā…/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-32829542

I am thrilled because they have found that Cozens Read has six children buried with him and his wife, these are those of their 20 children who did not survive to adulthood and I can find no burial record for them apart from that of their first child. I have searched for these children for years thinking they must be buried elsewhere as they are not in the Nether Winchendon parish register.

Now I know exactly where they are! These children were buried long before Cozens Read was buried in 1783 (the news item has the date wrong, they say 1720)!

I am so excited by all this as it means so very much to me ūüôā

Here are some of the photos we took in 2007, before and after pics on that day, which can now be compared with the pics in the BBC News item.

This is how the table top tombs looked when we arrived that day in 2007.

The Read Plot - NW - 2007 - Before we cleared up a bit


This is William Read’s table top tomb. This one was the worst one for needing to be repaired and cleared of the plantlife and even small tree that was growing from the inside!¬† This is the tomb that eventually collapsed a few years later.

William Read and family - before clearing it up - 2007


This is Michael Read’s tomb which contains him and his wife Martha.

Michael Read - before clearing it up - 2007


Here lies Cozens Read with his wife Elizabeth and as I have just discovered, six of his children.

Cozens Read - before clearing it up - 2007


And here is how it all looked that day, after we had been clearing, cleaning and repairing the table top tombs and some of the graves.

The Read Plot - after clearing it up - 2007

I’m so so so so so happy and very very grateful to the villagers who took such an interest in long-deceased members of my family. So thrilled ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā





April 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Sarah Read of Lower Winchendon

For today’s Tombstone Tuesday I am showing the tombstone of Sarah Read who is the wife of Joseph Read whose tombstone was in last week’s Tombstone Tuesday.

Sarah was Sarah Smith from Ashendon, Buckinghamshire when she married Joseph Read (the grandson of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read), on 22nd October 1835 at Ashendon.

They had five children and Joseph died in 1844 after only nine years of marriage to Sarah.

Sarah’s husband was a farmer and she took over the running of it after he died.¬† She kept the farm going right up until she died aged 76 years.

Original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2000 - copyright 2011


The transcript of this inscription is as follows:


Memory of

Sarah widow of

Joseph Read

Who died Feb. 10th 1884

Aged 76 Years

“For so He giveth His beloved sleep”

Ps. 1. ..(?)  2


Also of

Ann Read

daughter of the above

Who died May 15th 1871

Aged      (the rest here covered by long grass and another tombstone)


Sarah and Joseph’s daughter Ann was 31 years old when she died and never married.

As Sarah’s maiden name is Smith and she was from Ashendon, Bucks it makes me wonder whether she was related to Martha Smith of Ashendon who married Sarah’s husband Joseph’s uncle Michael Read?¬† I’ve not done much delving into the Smiths of Ashendon, so this will be another search to add to my “To Do” list!!

I think Sarah did wonderfully well to keep the farm going as a young widow and then as she became older.  One of her sons lived with her and only married after she died, when he was in his forties.

As mentioned last week, the farm is now a successful stud farm owned by the famous jockey Pat Eddery.  I have sent an enquiry to the farm to see if it is possible to obtain photos of it, especially if some of the original building still stands.

(Edit:¬† My cousin Marion has kindly given me the information that I could not see on this tombstone and it is as follows:-¬† The line of verse is actually from¬† Ps. 127. 2.¬† and the age for Sarah and Joseph’s daughter Anne is given as 31 years.¬† I already had Anne’s age from other sources but could not compare it with her age given on the inscription.¬† Thanks to cousin Marion for her help).

April 16, 2011

Something of Interest: Gwennap

Filed under: SOMETHING OF INTEREST — Tags: , , , , , , — rootsresearcher @ 5:42 pm

Today has been a gloriously sunny day, so we decided to go and do some research at Gwennap Churchyard, Cornwall and find the resting places of some of my other half Paul’s ancestors.

By the time we got there it had clouded over but it still gave a very peaceful feeling there.¬† It’s looking pretty with all the Spring flowers dotted about but it was a much larger place than I realised it would be!!

We will have to come back another time to really search for Paul’s ancestors, but while there, and seeing how well preserved many of the tombstones are, I decided that I would add Gwennap Churchyard to my Ancestors at Rest Graveyard Rabbit blog.¬† I am the Graveyard Rabbit on that blog for Mithian, Cornwall which is where Paul’s dear Mother and Grandparents rest (and which sadly is a closed church with goodness knows what will happen to the churchyard) and the church/churchyard at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire where there are a large number of my ancestors including my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read.

Gwennap Churchyard

Original photograph taken by me today 16 April 2011 - copyright 2011


The flowering Cherry Blossom tree dominates the churchyard at the moment and I am very pleased we went today and saw it looking like this.

I found many of the tombstones very interesting, even though they weren’t connected to Paul’s family and there was a lot of information on some of them and they seem to have withstood all that time and weather has thrown at them!

April 12, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Joseph Read of Lower Winchendon


Today’s tombstone is that of Joseph Read of Lower Winchendon.¬† He is a grandson of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read.

Joseph and his wife Sarah married in 1835 at Ashendon and had five children.  Sadly, after only nine years of marriage, Joseph died.

Original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2000 - copyright 2011


The Inscription is as follows:


Memory of

Joseph Read

who departed this life

July 3rd, 1844

aged 39 years

I left this fading world in blooming years.

And all my friends in mournful tears.

My earthly cottage moulders into dust.

Whilst my immortal soul is with the just.

Mourn not for me, prepare to die.

For you must sleep in dust as well as I.


Joseph was a farmer and I know from the Censuses that his wife Sarah continued running the farm until she died in 1884 aged about 76.  So this family group lived there for about fifty years, depending on when Joseph first lived there.  Just out of interest, this particular farm is now owned by the famous horse racing jockey Pat Eddery.  It seems to be a thriving stud farm now.

April 5, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Read of Lower Winchendon

What with one thing and another, I have missed adding Tombstone Tuesday posts here for the last couple of weeks.

Today I will be showing three tombstones concerning the family of Edward Read (1747 Р1808) who is one of the sons of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read.   These three tombstones stand immediately next to each other in the Read plot at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, UK  with barely any space between them.

When we took these photographs in 2000 it was very difficult, almost impossible even, to read the inscriptions on them.

Here is a photograph showing the three together.

Original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2000 - copyright 2011


As you will see they are very weathered but it is possible to make out the name Edward Read on two of them and on the other one it is just possible to see that it says Edward & Mary Read, which means one must be for at least one of the twelve children that Edward and Mary had.

Original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2000 - copyright 2011


The above tombstone has the name Edward Read on it.  There is space above his name so I think this may be for his wife Mary Read (nee Rose) who died in 1801 and although the family lived at Doddershall, Quainton I know that Mary was buried at Lower Winchendon.  This grave might also contain Edward Read as well.  He died in 1808 at Doddershall but again, like his wife Mary, he too is buried at Lower Winchendon.

Original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2000 - copyright 2011


However, this middle tombstone also just has the name of Edward Read on it, so I am wondering if one of these two is for Edward and the other for his wife Mary?  Although not too clear, it is possible to see that the designs that were originally on the tombstones are very similar, a sort of matching pair for a husband and wife?

Original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2000 - copyright 2011


As it is possible to read Edward and Mary Read on this tombstone I think it must contain one or more of their children.

Edward and Mary Read had twelve children and through a process of elimination I think this could be for their youngest¬†child, Thomas, who died when he was fourteen years old at Doddershall, Quainton but who is buried at Lower Winchendon.¬† Ten of Edward and Mary’s children married and lived in either Quainton or Haddenham or Upper Winchendon.¬† I think the other child, William,¬†who died aged about two years old in 1786 is probably included on one of the two tombstones that have just Edward Read’s name on that is possible to read.¬†

I’m hoping that at some stage over the years, someone, somewhere maybe took a transcript of the inscriptions on these three tombstones and then one day I might just find out which is the correct grave for each of this little family group!

March 16, 2011

March 15 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 15¬†¬† –¬†¬† Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

I’m a day late with writing this post, but I have been thinking and pondering and musing about which of my female ancestors I should write the six-word memoir about and wondering how I would write it!!¬† It’s not that easy!

I decided to feature my 6 x great grandmother Elizabeth Read (nee Shirley)(c1713 Р1786) for this tribute.  I have already mentioned her in this series but as she is the only ancestor of mine that had as many children as 20, then I think she was worth another mention.

Elizabeth was the wife of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and married him when she was about 21.  They married in 1734 at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK  and lived for the rest of their lives at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire.

¬†The six-word memoir requires me to sum up Elizabeth’s life in just six words.¬† I’ve thought and thought about this and here is my six-word memoir tribute to her:

Husband and eleven daughters, nine sons

From the day she married her life then revolved around her husband, having twenty children, seeing five of them die as babies or toddlers, not to mention the rearing that was required until they reached adulthood and went on to marry and have children themselves.¬† So I think my six-word memoir covers Elizabeth’s life quite well!!

February 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: How Many Tears Have Bathed Thy Honoured Bier

Now that I have the awful internet connection problem fixed, although not quite 100% yet, this is my first Tombstone Tuesday for quite a while!!

This is the tombstone of Michael Read, the great grandson of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read.

original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire – copyright 2011

Transcript of Monumental Inscription


Memory of

Michael, Son of

Richard and Sarah Read

who died October 20th 1844

Aged 26 years


Oh friend, for ever lov’d, for ever dear,

How many tears have bathed thy honoured bier,

What sighs reechoed to thy parting breath,

Whilst thou wast struggling in the fangs of death


Afflictions semblence bends not o’er thy tomb,

Afflictions self deplores thy youthful doom,

To all save one, is consolation known,

Whilst solitary friendship sighs alone


Layt Aylesbury


I’m a little intrigued by the verse, the last¬†part of the verse especially.¬† “To all save one …”¬†¬† does that mean God or someone Michael was unfriendly with?¬† And what does “whilst solitary friendship sighs alone” mean?

Other than knowing that Michael died in London (it mentions this in the burial register) although the gravestone does say he was  late of Aylesbury (Buckinghamshire) I do not have much more information about him.  I am thinking that maybe I really need to get his death certificate, at least that will give me an idea of why he died so young. 


June 8, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: The collapsed table top tomb isn’t Cozens Read’s!!

A little while ago I did my first Tombstone Tuesday, showing the Table Top Tomb of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and went on to describe how I had been informed that his tomb had collapsed and that I was concerned the pieces would be thrown away etc..  I also mentioned that I was looking into obtaining grants for restoration of this tomb, but they take forever to make their decisions.

A couple of days ago I received a photo from my cousins in Australia.  Bob and Pam had been on a holiday taking in some family history research at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire and took this photo of the collapsed tomb.

original photograph copyright 2010 - Pam and Bob Herbstreit

 and the full view photograph

original photograph copyright 2010 - Pam and Bob Herbstreit

While I was extremely surprised but relieved that this was not the Table Top Tomb of Cozens Read and his wife Elizabeth Shirley, I was still very saddened by the sight of it and¬†immediately knew that ¬†it was the tomb for Cozens and Elizabeth’s son William Read.¬† The tomb holds William (1736-1803); his wife Mary Pollard (1742-1821); their daughter Mary (1783-1850) and their daughter Mary’s husband John Moores (1783-1855).¬† (Cozens Read’s Table Top Tomb can be seen through the fencing that is now surrounding the collapsed tomb).

My partner Paul and I had visited this church in 2000 and 2004 and took various photos of the graves there and we realise now that the reason for the collapse of this tomb is obviously through a tree that was growing up from inside it.  Some of the following photos taken in 2004 show what was happening then and so Paul cut the branches back and we tidied the Table Top Tomb up as much as we could.

The following photos show the state the tomb was in and the tree roots and branches quite obviously did most of the damage which resulted in its collapse a few years later!

original photograph taken by me in 2004 at Lower Winchendon - copyright 2010

original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2004 - copyright 2010

original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2004 - copyright 2010

original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2004 - copyright 2010

I will continue trying to find out what grants and help is available for trying to restore this tomb, but somehow don’t think we would ever be able to get it back like it once was.

Luckily on our visits in 2000 and 2004 I was able to take a transcript of the details engraved all around William, Mary, Mary and John’s tomb.¬† From the bits that have been laid flat as can be seen in the top photo, I think most of the engraving will have been more or less completely ruined.¬† I’m so glad that I have a record of it.

May 18, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: John Hughes Cox and Annie Humphreys

Today for Tombstone Tuesday I have a photo of the gravestone for John Hughes Cox and his wife Annie (nee Humphries).  This is the couple whose Diary Extracts I have shown under the Old Documents Pages.

They married on 25th October 1866 at Haddenham Baptist Chapel, Haddenham, Buckinghamshire  some details of which John wrote about in his Diary which are included in the transcript extract.

John and Annie went on to have 7 children and moved several times within Buckinghamshire to different farms that John had.

This is my own photo taken in 2000 copyright 2010

¬†There is a similar stone either side of John and Annie’s which are those of two of their children.¬† This gravestone is near the edge of the churchyard at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire and just behind it is one of the homes/farm where they lived for quite a while.

I get the feeling from the diary extracts that John and Annie were a very loving couple and I once had the chance of having a photo of them if I wanted it, but at the time I did not know how they were part of my family, so declined for a while.¬† Sadly the “new” cousin that offered this has since died and I am not sure about asking his family if I could now have a copy of that photo!!

John and Annie were 3rd cousins to each other and both were 2 x great grandchildren to my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read.

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