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James Grimshaw Grave Slab in Churchyard of Church of St Mary, Prestwich

Description: James Grimshaw Grave Slab in Churchyard of Church of St Mary

Grade: II
Date Listed: 21 February 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1406337

OS Grid Reference: SD8109503663
OS Grid Coordinates: 381095, 403663
Latitude/Longitude: 53.5293, -2.2866

Location: 36 Church Lane, Prestwich M25 1AJ

Locality: Prestwich
County: Bury
Country: England
Postcode: M25 1AJ

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Listing Text


Grave slab of James Grimshaw and family, c1686.

Reason for Listing

The James Grimshaw grave slab, c1686, 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
* Design interest: The slab incorporates an original incised scrolled fleur-de-lys motif and a verse added in the C18 following the grave's re-use by the same family
* 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 deep incised carving including a border. Large scrolled fleur-de-lys motif to foot of slab. Inscriptions with differently styled lettering; some parts of words included above others or across the border to fit onto slab. Original inscription to top of slab with widely-spaced stylised lettering reads 'I.G/ 1686/ HERE RESTETH THE/ BODY OF IAMES GRIMSHAW/ HVSBAND OF MARY/ GRIMSHAW'. Next inscription starts on same line in smaller lettering and reads 'George his/ Son Sexton of this Church was/ buried April ye 12th 1708 aged 51'. Inscription below in large, widely-spaced lettering reads 'Alfo the Body of/ Mary his Wife who/ Departed this life AP/ 17th 1724'. Inscription in smaller lettering reads 'alfo George/ Son of ye Above George Grim/fhaw was Sexton of this Church/ and buried March ye 14th 1761/ aged 68, Sarah his wife was/ buried April 27th 1750 aged 48'. Italicised verse (added in C18) carved over scrolled part of fleur-de-lys motif to foot of slab reads 'Afflictions sore long time they bore/ Physicians were in vain/ Till God did please Death should them seize/ To ease them of their Pain'.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.