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Mason Family Grave Slab in Churchyard of Church of St Mary

A Grade II Listed Building in Manchester, Bury

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.5293 / 53°31'45"N

Longitude: -2.2869 / 2°17'12"W

OS Eastings: 381076

OS Northings: 403667

OS Grid: SD810036

Mapcode National: GBR DWGM.PK

Mapcode Global: WH983.VK56

Entry Name: Mason Family Grave Slab in Churchyard of Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 21 February 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1406322

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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Prestwich

Summary

Grave slab of John Mason and his family, c1671, continued use by the same family in the C18.

Description

Sandstone, rectangular grave slab with incised carving including a border. Large incised scroll motif containing a diamond at the foot of the slab. Inscription to the top of the slab in large, widely-spaced lettering reads 'Here Resteth The Body/ of John Mason Who Died/ March The 27 1671'. Further inscription in slightly different lettering reads 'Also Mary his Wife who/ died Aprl the 7th 1680'. Inscription to the centre of the slab reads 'Richard Mason His son/ Who Died janvary The 14th/ 1670'. Two inscriptions below in standard, smaller lettering illustrating re-use by same family in the late C18.

History

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 Mason grave slab, c1671, 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
* 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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