Grave slab of Edmund Ramsbotham, c1697, later inscriptions added in C19.
Reason for Listing
The Ramsbotham grave slab, c1697, in St Mary's churchyard, Prestwich, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Early date: It is an increasingly rare survival of a C17 grave slab with an original inscription that remains fully legible
* Historic interest: It illustrates the extensive history of the St Mary's churchyard and the original Prestwich-cum-Oldham parish, once one of the largest and wealthiest parishes in the country
* Socio-historic interest: The grave slab was re-used by the same family in the C19 and interestingly its inscriptions demonstrate how family names change and develop over time; the original C17 surname of 'Romsbotham' becoming 'Ramsbotham' by the C19
* Group value: It has group value with the Grade I listed St Mary's Church and the other listed monuments and structures in the St Mary's churchyard
St Mary's Church, Prestwich, dates to the C14 with later alterations, and the oldest extant grave marker in the churchyard dates to 1641. However, the topography of the churchyard suggests a much older burial ground. The churchyard has been extended many times, including in 1827 when boundary walls were constructed. Prior to these walls being erected the churchyard was enclosed by a ditch and hedge created in 1706, and subsequently by the planting of beech and fir trees in 1763. Further extensions of the churchyard occurred in 1864, 1886, 1924 and 1950.
The western section of the churchyard contains, amongst other graves, the unmarked burials of thousands of inmates of the County Asylum Prestwich dating from the mid-C19 to early-C20, although several communal graves for the asylum's attendants and some inmates are marked by grave slabs. In 1801 a hearse house (altered in the mid-late C20) was constructed to the north of the church.
Located in the centre of the main footpath to the north side of St Mary's Church, close to the north-west porch. Large sandstone grave slab with inscriptions to the top part. Deep incised carving including a border incorporating raised semi-circular head to the centre top of the slab above the inscriptions, and scrolled design containing a diamond to the foot of the slab. Initials 'TR' in shallower incised lettering (probably added in the C19) above and left of the scrolled design. Top inscription with widely spaced lettering in Early Modern English reads 'Here Refteth the Body of/ Edmund Romfbotham of/ Pilkington buried june ye/ 8th 1697'. Later inscriptions below added in the C19 read 'Also Thomas Ramsbotham who/ departed this Life June 13th 1821,/ Aged 56 Years. Also Margaret/ his Wife who departed this/ Life March 5th 1839 Aged 66/ Years'.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.