Retaining wall of stone rubble incorporating a stone inscribed 'S.M. 1643', recording the burial here of one Sam Mather. There is also a direction obelisk inscribed 1730. (1)
'At the junction of the roads leading from Knot Cross and from Tansley to Brackenfield, is a spot called Mather's Grave, where a poor fellow of this name was buried about the year 1716. He committed suicide in an old barn not far from Brackenfield Green. From various entries in the Morton registers, it may be concluded that owing to the cloud which hung over him on account of the birth of an illegitimate daughter, who was burdensome to the ratepayers, he terminated his existence. Tradition relates that the was drawn to his grave by two bullocks, and on the way to his resting-place a raven ominously settled on the body, when the oxen came to a stand. Some years ago, at the widening of the highway, the body was found and re-interred beneath the wall bounding the cottage garden close by. A large stone is inserted in the wall with the initials "S.M'" (Samuel Mather) to which a spurious date has been recently added'. (2)
The guide stoop is built into a high, stone wall, facing south, that retains the garden of a house called Mathersgrave. The stoop is therefore not in its original position, but possibly was only moved a short distance from its original site. Its height appears greater than average as the slightly bulbous bottom section, which is normally buried in the ground, is exposed, set into the retaining wall. The stoop is of gritstone, approx. 35cm square and 187cm high. It is inscribed on three sides: 'ALFRETON ROAD 1730', 'MATLACK ROAD' and 'BAKEWELL ROADE'. To the right of the stoop is an (incorrect) 1643 datestone (30x15cm) under the initials SMR, which refers to Samuel Mather, who committed suicide in 1716. He was buried at the roadside as in those days suicides could not be interred in consecrated ground by law. When the lane was widened, his bones were relocated under the wall and the spurious datestone installed. (3)
Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. Un-numbered record, with photos.
Article in serial: Kerry, C. 1897. 'Miscellanea: Wayside Interments', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 19, pp 101-104.
Bibliographic reference: Smith, H. 2000. The Guide Stoops of Derbyshire. 2nd and Revised Edition.. X3, pp 106-107.
Index: Higgins, J (The Milestone Society). County Milestone Survey.
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Centred SK 35959 58978 (6m by 5m)
BRACKENFIELD, NORTH EAST DERBYSHIRE, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Jun 22 2011 9:43AM
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