Grave slab commemorating James Scholefeild and Thomas Scholes, c1670, re-used by another family in the C18.
Reason for Listing
The Scholefeild grave slab, c1670, 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 and decorative incised carvings
* 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
* 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.
Sandstone, rectangular grave slab with incised carving including a border. Triangle motif to the centre of the head of the slab, and scroll and diamond motif at the foot of the slab. Inscription in widely-spaced lettering reads 'HERE RESTETH THE BO/ DIES OF JAMES SCHOLE/ FEILD OF PRESTWICH WHO/ DYED APRIL THE 11 1670/ AND OF THOMAS/ SCHOLES WHO DYED MARCH/ THE 14 1672'. Later inscription below following the re-use of the grave reads 'Alfo Thomas Crompton/ of Pilkington Buried/ June 17th 1717 Aged 87/ Alfo Thomas Crompton/ of Clifton who departed/ this Life June 9th 1789 aged/ 70 Years'.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.