The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Summer Edition 2011

Unusual Epitaphs: A Warning to Widows

Having written over 120 descriptions of Hampshire and West Sussex churches, I feel I have exhausted this topic. Instead I plan to write in future about interesting and unusual memorials I have come across on my travels, beginning with an amusing 18th century epitaph I stumbed across in a Suffolk church whilst on holiday last year. - John Symonds.

Whilst on holiday in Suffolk recently I visited the lovely village church of St Andrew’s Bramfield. It was unusual in that it had a bright yellow thatched roof together with a  tall round tower standing separately in the churchyard.

Inside I was attracted by an ornamental chancel screen which had five saints painted on the lower part. Looking down I suddenly became aware that I was actually standing on an 18th century tomb slab with a lengthy inscription carved upon it. It related the sad story of Bridgett Applewhaite who died in 1737.

Between the Remains of her brother EDWARD

And of her Husband Arthur

Here lies the Body of BRIDGETT APPLEWHAITE


After the Fatigues of a Marrried Life,

Born by her with Incredible Patience

For four Years and three Quarters, bating three weeks,

And after the Enjoiment of the Glorious Freedom

Of an Easy and Unblemisht Widowhood

For four Years and Upwards

She Resolved to run the Risk of a Second Marriage Bed.

But DEATH forbad the Banns -

And having with an Apoplectick Dart

(The same Instrument with which he had Formerly Difpatcht her Mother)

Touch’t the most Vital part of her Brain.

She muft have fallen Directly to the Ground

(as one Thunder-struck)

If she had not been Catch’t and Supported

by her Intended Hufband.

of which Invisible Bruise

After a Struggle for above Sixty Hours,

With that Grand Enemy to Life

(But the certain and Mercifull Friend to Helplefs Old Age)

In Terrible Convulsions, Plaintive Groans or Stupefying Sleep

Without recovery of her Speech or Senses,

She Dyed on the 12th day of Sep in y Year of our Lord 1737

And of her own Age 44.

Behold I Come as a Theif. Rev 16 15 V.

But Oh, Thou Source of Pious Cares

Strict Judge without Regard

Grant tho’ we Go hence Unawares

We go not Unprepared.

So any St George’s Waterlooville widows contemplating a second marriage take heed of Bridgett and beware.

John Symonds

St Andrew’s Bramfield, Suffolk