The Saxon Memorial
In Bruton Somerset England
Many of our Saxon relatives will know that our ancestors came from England and some may know that many were buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's Church in Bruton Somerset. Here's a rather grim looking photo of the church entrance, which dates from the 14th century. Much better photos can be found at http://www.astoft.co.uk/bruton.htm
Some of you will have visited the church (as Betty and I did in 2001) and looked at the Saxon memorial (or are they all buried there?). This is how it looked in 2001. Click on any picture for a more detailed and larger view.
And below are some detailed shots of the base with the names of at least 13 of our relatives.
It is quite hard to make out names and things from these photos - and only slightly easier when you look at the real thing close up. Here are the names as we saw them in 2001, later ably corrected by Lola's sister Raewyn!
Front: In Memoriam. Samuel Saxon Died 8th October 1853 aged 48yrs.
Marion Samuelina Saxon died 7 October 1871 aged 17yrs
Charlotte (nee CONRAN) widow of above Samuel Saxon died 30th January 1841 aged 72yrs.
Erected by the widow and children of the said Samuel Saxon
Left Side: In Memoriam
Samuel Simon Saxon died 29th September 1831 aged 75 yrs.
Elizabeth (nee Livingston) Saxon (his Widow) died 15th August 1850 aged 73yrs
George Saxon died 4th September 1898 aged 57yrs.
Also Marie Neimeyer Saxon passed away June 29th 1904 aged 34 yrs Her end was peaceful.
Right Side: In Memoriam
Willoughby Terbic Saxon died 9th October 1854 aged 4 yrs
Also 3 infant children of the said Samuel Saxon
(William died 1859, Annie dies 1859 + a third illegible child. Notes by Raewyn Saxon)
As you can see it's not in terribly good condition - and yet this is what it looked like in the early 1930s when my parents visited.
So even though the grave is around 160 years old - almost all the deterioration has occurred in the last 70 years or so. Including loosing the railings which probably went to help the war effort during WW2.
After showing some of these pictures to the reunion committee and making my pledge to 'do something' on the 2nd day of the reunion, we jointly decided that it is time for Action and we and several others (you know who you are :-) contributed funds to get it cleaned, repaired and hopefully protected.
At this time we have commissioned Michael Maynard of 'The Headstone Cleaning company' to thoroughly clean and tidy the memorial and report on what further work needs to be done. We are hoping that Michael will do this work in early May 2007. So stand by for further information!
John Saxon - 25th Apr 2007
Michael has now carried out the cleaning work and it seems to me that he has done an incredibly good job - here's a picture he took before starting the job - don't forget you can click every picture for a larger version.
Several items of note:
First - the railings are back! I had no recollection of them from our 2001 visit and as all our still pictures did not include them I drew the conclusion that they had been removed. Eventually I went back to a video we took in 2001 and there they were. My apologies to all who thought the damage was worse than it was. Early Altzheimer's is my only excuse!
I am also pleased that this photo shows the old building on the hill behind the graveyard. I assumed it was part of a ruined castle - but it turns out to be quite a well preserved Dovecote from the old Bruton Abbey.
Scroll down to see what it looks like now!
As you can see - the results look better than any of us could have hoped for and the job came in under our budget! The grey stones and plastic underneath were paid for by my 3rd cousin Betty Jones (Nee Saxon, descended from George Saxon the Artist) from S.Wales who visited to make sure that no damage was done!
At this point we are uncertain if we will try to have further maintenance performed every 2 years. The initial work was carried out using donations from myself and several others - plus a contribution from the reunion fund. So it may be that we will ask the group for donations in the future if we decide to go ahead with regular maintenance every two years.
Here's another picture
We hope everyone will agree that this was a job well
And if you would like to do something similar for a grave in England - I don't think you could do better than to contact Michael Maynard at The Headstone Cleaning Company (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and check out his web site at www.headstoneclean.com
John Saxon 19 Apr 2007