James Lye’s Grave Discovered

We always knew James was buried in Market Lavington churchyard, from the parish burial register (deposited at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre) but extensive searches of the graveyard had failed to locate his grave. We learnt that recently a book containing positional information for some burials had been given to Market Lavington Museum, which may help in locating James’s grave.

We contacted the museum prior to our visit to Market Lavington on the 23rd April 2016 and when we arrived we learnt that some of the Museum helpers had been out earlier in the day to try and find his grave location.  Which by all accounts wasn’t easy, but with a bit of persistence and some lateral thinking they discovered the location of his grave and to their surprise there was also a gravestone.

When we arrived at the museum, we were met by the curator Mr. Frost. He took us across the graveyard and we stood in front of a grave on which you could not read the inscription due to the Crustose lichen growing on it.  Mr Frost informed us that this was James’s grave.

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With the assistance of some water and a toothbrush from the museum, I started to clean the headstone to reveal the wording which had been hidden from us in the past.
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The cleaning of two faces of the gravestone revealed the following wording: “In loving memory of James Lye who fell asleep February 3rd 1906, aged 75, “Blessed are they who die in the lord for they rest from their labours” on the right hand side face was “Also of Maria his wife who died January 1909, aged 79, “Them also which sleep in Jesus god bring with him”.
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Considering we had searched the churchyard on previous visits without any success, we had come to the conclusion that James and his wife had no gravestone, what a great surprise that with this recent museum acquisition and a bit of detective work we have been able locate James’s grave and gravestone a 110 years after his death.

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