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Crich village cross

Feet of clay

The name CLAY is one closely associated with the Crich area.

What follows is an extract from a manuscript written in about 1760 sent by Stuart Hill (whose ancestors were residents of Crich and Wessington for over 400 years).

A Description of Crich Parish Church in Derbyshire

A transcription of the 18th Century manuscripts of John Reynolds

That Tomb on the left hand is for one Claye of Crich and his family, on the top is drawn the portraits of a man & his wife and 3 Escutcheons. That on the SW corner being Argent, a chevron ingrailed between 3 Trefoils slipt sable. Claye.

The colours in the arms upon this Tomb are not distinguished. This Tomb is so much worn with Boys clambering upon it, whilst the Churchwardens suffered one Joseph Mather, a lame ignorant person, to teach school in the Chancel (which infamous practice was continued till about the year 1732) that most of the writing is obliterated. What I have been able to make out is as follows.

  • Heere lieth [John Clay gentleman and Mary whom he first] did wive
  • With her [he lived near eight years space in which god gave them] children five:
  • Daughter to William [Calton] Esquire who [was unto that Ky]nge of fame
  • Henrie the eight [chief cockmatcher] and [servt. of his hawkes] by name.
  • And as shee had a former match Charnell [Swarston in] Lestershire
  • So shee deceast, this Clay did take the widow of Gorman Poole, Esquire
  • Daughter of Edward who was son to Sir John Ferrers of Tamworth, Knight
  • Shee lyes entombed in this church with him to whom she first was plight
  • And nowe this Claye is closed ��in clay, the fairest flesh doth fade like grass
  • He had an sister who unto Stuffyn �.. of Shirbrook married was.
  • For Deathe gyve an end to all and now this Clay shall reste herein
  • All claye to claye shall com at last by Death the due reward of synne.
  • Thou Deathe, his Deathe, thy Deathe is he whose soule doth live with Christ for aye
  • The stinge of death can no one fle, then greatest monarchs are but Claye.

Other extracts from this fascinating manuscript will appear in subsequent magazines.