These two sad epitaphs in the Cuckfield churchyard are to be found in David Arscott's book 'Dead and Buried in Sussex'.
It was in 1775 that Edward Jenner made the study of cowpox which was to lead to the smallpox inoculations still in use today (as we've seen, there had been earlier, less successful attempts), so it's something of a coincidence that 38-year-old Phillip Jenner should have died 'of the smallpox' in Cuckfield on April 25 in that very same year The opportunistic writer of his epitaph treated the headstone as a kind of advertising hoarding. Let's hope his efforts were successful:
Kind reader stop and drop a tear
for him who now lies sleeping here
a husband, loving parent kind
a friend and neighbour good you'll find
his widow left in great distress
with six small children fatherless
but may God of his goodness send
to them a kind assisting friend.
There is surely no Sussex epitaph more touching than the lines written for Martha
Feist on a table tomb:
She died on September 26,
1818, at the age of 25, leaving not only
her husband but her little ones behind:
Oh husband dear my time is past
You remain while life doth last
And now for me no sorrow take
But love my children for my sake.
Dead and Buried in Sussex, incorporating What the Vicar Saw, by David Arscott, Pomegranate Press 2007. There are other Cuckfield epitaphs in the book as well.
Contributed by Malcolm Davison.