Being a family historian I spend much of my time exploring churches and churchyards, and fairly frequently I come across a child’s gravestone which always saddens me. It’s unusual though to find a ledger stone in the floor of a church specifically for a child, as these are usually for manor families who have some influence in the church or for deceased clergy.
Recently I came across one of these ledger stones set into the floor of the nave of a now disused tiny country church. This is where sadly four babies of the same family were buried in the mid 1700s.
These babies were deprived of a childhood, as each one died when only a few months of age…It made me wonder if today’s advanced medical techniques had been known then, if some, if not all of these babies would have survived into adulthood. I would like to think so.
It’s hard to imagine the anguish the parents of these poor little mites went through…to have the joy of a new baby snatched away from them, time after time. after time….
Health conditions were precarious in those days for young and old, rich and poor alike...and death made no distinction.
The ledger stone gives no indication as to the status of this family, but I suspect it wasn’t an ordinary peasant family or the babies would have been buried outside in the churchyard, with probably no lasting indication for anyone to know they had ever been born.