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Diggles Table Tomb in Churchyard of Church of St Mary

A Grade II Listed Building in Manchester, Bury

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Latitude: 53.5291 / 53°31'44"N

Longitude: -2.2863 / 2°17'10"W

OS Eastings: 381117

OS Northings: 403643

OS Grid: SD811036

Mapcode National: GBR DWGM.TM

Mapcode Global: WH983.VKGC

Entry Name: Diggles Table Tomb in Churchyard of Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 21 February 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1406298

Location: Bury, M25

County: Bury

Electoral Ward/Division: St Mary's

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Manchester

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Prestwich St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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Table tomb of Mary Diggles, c1804, re-used in the mid-late C19.


Sandstone table tomb. Incised border and lettering. Six short, square pillar-style legs supporting a rectangular table with a large, textured and recessed panel to the upper part. Panel incorporates a relief depiction of an angel blowing a trumpet at Judgement Day, set underneath scales bearing hearts and flanked by urns. Panel also includes the relief initials 'RMD' (probably referencing Robert and Mary Diggles). Original inscription reads 'In memory of (large italicised lettering)/ Mary Wife of Robert Diggles,/ departed this Life Jan 7th 1804/ aged 21 Years./ O cruel Death that would not spare/ Nor yet thy Dart remove/ Thus to divide a happy Pair/ Whose Days were spent in Love'. Tomb re-used in mid-late C19 and inscription to James and Jane Wallwork added above original inscription, and inscription to Abraham Bramwell added below. Stonemason's signature 'Sarah Patefield/ Sp Pendlebury' to bottom left of table.


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.

Reasons for Listing

The Diggles table tomb, erected for Mary Diggles in St Mary's churchyard, Prestwich, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Design interest: It is richly detailed and possesses a high level of decorative treatment including a textured, recessed panel containing an unusual relief depiction of an angel trumpeter set underneath scales bearing hearts and flanked by urns
* Inscription: The inscription incorporates a poignant dedicative verse from Robert Diggles to his wife
* Social interest: In a rare occurrence, the tomb was produced by a female stonemason
* 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

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