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The original top-stone of the Watchmaker's Tomb at Lydford

The original top-stone of

George Routleigh, watchmaker

©Richard J. Brine

The original slate top engraved with George's epitaph has been removed and now hangs on a wall inside the church. It has been restored to the point where, in a well - lit position, it can just about be read. The following is a transcription of the epitaph:


Here lies in a horizontal position

The outside case of

George Routleigh, watchmaker, 

Whose abilities in that line were an honour

To his profession.

Integrity, was the mainspring,

And prudence the regulator

Of all the actions of his life.

Humane, generous and liberal,

His hand never stopped

Till he had relieved distress.

So nicely regulated were all his motions

That he never went wrong,

Except when set a-going

By people

Who did not know 

His key.

Even then he was easily

Set right.

He had the art of disposing of his time

So well, that his hours glided away

In one continual round of pleasure and delight

Till an unlucky minute put a period to

His existence.

He departed this life

November 14, 1802

Aged 57, 

Wound up

In  hope of being taken in hand

By his Maker

And of being thoroughly cleaned and repaired

And set a-going

In the world to come.


A few years ago, a considerable amount of research was done by those who considered themselves the descendants of George Routleigh. This epitaph seems to have first been published in a Derbyshire newspaper in 1786; it then reappeared in an American almanac for the year 1797. 


The family believe that George Routleigh may have worked as a watchmaker in Launceston and then moved to Lydford where his brother, Edward, was a churchwarden. They also believe that he had a daughter, Mary, and that she married a Thomas Taverner. This wedding is recorded in the register as having taken place in 1799 and both husband and wife were said to have been from the parish. They had a son in 1811 who they named George Routleigh Taverner. 


At least one clock made by Routleigh is thought to have survived. Its exact whereabouts is not known but it is believed still to be in Devon.


The tomb of George Routleigh in the churchyard at Lydford

The tomb of George Routleigh in the churchyard at Lydford

© Richard J. Brine



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