Saturday, 24 March 2007

Spooky Goings On

By way of information obtained from another Genes Reunited member C, I have discovered that my husband`s ancestors are buried in the grounds of the 11th century church in Newcastle upon Tyne. On a very cold wet day I decided to cut through the graveyard on my way into town. I glanced left and right at all of the stones on either side of the path, there were Trelawney`s, Griffith`s, Atkinson`s and Ellison`s. Some of the incriptions were delightful!!!!!! He whose form lies mouldering here below (shudder)

I noticed a table top kind of style memorial, but couldn`t quite read the text, so i stepped onto the earth, which was covered in old leaves, as i made my way around the side of it, i fell into a hole. My God, i thought I was heading for the crypt, I scrambeld out, my heart beating like a drum, and had a quick look around, nobody there, If I had made a descent, who would have known, I had visions of toothless skulls glaring at me. I hurried on down the path, determined to hightail it out of there, when I noticed a man walking out of the church in shirtsleeves. I asked him if he knew anything of the history of the church and who was buried there. He said that he had a record which was compiled by one of the past Bishop`s, and invited me into the vestry, I asked if he was the Verger, to which he replied "That`s just a posh name for a caretaker." (I liked him already)

We passed two tramps who were having a kip (Sleep) in the pews. He said "Hoy lads, get up, you`ll have me shot." He explained that there was no harm in them, he made them a cup of tea.
He kindly photocopied 5 pages of burial records and among them were many Young`s which also held dates of birth etc, lots of good information. I admitted that I had lived in Newcastle all my life and was ashamed to say that I had never stepped inside the building, he offered to give me a tour. I found out that the hole I had fallen into was a recently discovered grave of a glass engraver named Ralph Beiby, he had once owned a shop on Amen corner in the town. The grave had been a flat slab kind, and through the years had sunken into the earth. Because it had filled up with old leaves, I was unable to see it.

He explained that the area clear of stones had been a mass burial place for so called witches and wizards "When it`s been raining heavily, bones come to the surface....oh look, a tooth!" (Enough.... guess who was not going to sleep that night?") There poking out of the ground was a very large molar staring at us, further along he pointed out a ball joint standing upright. Inside the church once more we made our way to the front near one of the altar`s, lots of inscriptions were carved into the floor. Apparently, Adam Deathol was buried in a vault just in front of the altar, the words were becoming very worn, so they put a rug over it to protect it. A medium had visited the church and the first thing she said was "There`s someone covered up in here and he doesn`t like it." The vicar had the rug removed. I was also told of the policeman who regularly comes into the church to sit near the altar, he reported that something had grabbed his leg. As we stood there, a string which held messages pinned on with pegs started to whizz around, nobody had opened a door, we moved off.

The caretaker remarked that he could have let me take a look in the tower, but one of the tramps must have took a shit in there, so he couldn`t. By this time, with all the spooky reportings, I think that I would have declined his offer anyway, as it was, it was going to take some time for me to get over my near brush with middle earth.

This very interesting man, full of information, showed me out again, we passed the vicar`s car, must be a fun kind of guy, the registration was REV 1.

When i returned home, i was interested to find out about Beilby, he had apprenticed Thomas Bewick the engraver and also made the glass for Grandfather clocks. I wondered if my husband`s family had dealt with him, they were jewellers in the town and had crafted Grandfather clocks with shepherd and shepherdess scenes. Isn`t it curious, my friend`s daughter`s wedding was held at Close House, where Bewick had once lived. I suppose that the town was so small then that everyone would have passed eachother at some point, now we would be most likely to pass people at a Starbucks, Macdonald`s or Pizza Hut, what would our ancestor`s have thought of that?

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