Issue 28

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Arthur Richard Stentiford

Stentiford's Circulating Library

Passing thoughts


Roy Hewitt is a regular contributor to these pages but this month, he is joined by his wife Pat for a joint project - a piece of real detective work which has given Roy's own family history a new twist. You do have to ask why people are drawn to follow one particular trail over another as Pat and Roy try to piece together the past  and we hope you enjoy their story of Arthur Richard Stentiford - or should it be Arthur Reginald Stentiford?

Our local radio station has been trying to track down elderly people who are still active in their communities and, to mention just a few, they've come up with paper boys in their 80s and a Girl Guide leader aged 94 who still goes camping regularly with her troop! It was very different a century ago when few people lived to be 65. For our second article this month, we return to Ashburton which we first visited in Issue 5. How did  people cope with death intervening in their lives with such regularity? In a few brief years, Mary Ann Stentiford lost two husbands and two children before dying an early death herself. Her will is far too long to reproduce in these pages for the simple reason that she tried to cover every conceivable circumstance in a desperate attempt to provide some kind of security for her two remaining young children. Yet, in spite of all her efforts, the guardian she chose for them was himself dead within a few years, aged only 42 and her young son and daughter were left to fend for themselves. 

Geoff Ledden wanted everyone to know that the collection of epitaphs he has sent to us is the work of an e-mail group - he can't identify every contributor but we'd like to  thank each and every one of them for a good laugh. Epitaphs of this sort are a unique form of revenge by the living on the dead - money has to be spent on the stone and on having the message inscribed so someone really meant it! We leave you with this one from Sutton Parish Churchyard:

"Here lies my poor wife,

Without bed or blanket,

But dead as a doornail,

God be thankit."


Keep in touch,

Muriel and Richard


Link to Office of National Statistics for information on how to obtain copies of Birth, Marriage and Death certificates.

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Arthur Richard Stentiford

Stentiford's Circulating Library

Passing thoughts


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