St Mary’s church in Clifton, Nottingham has a lovely setting. Tucked away at the back of the old village it stands in front of Clifton Hall which itself overlooks the River Trent and Clifton Grove.
Whilst I was studying History at the Nottingham Trent University campus next door to the village, we had a class visit to the church to see the building and consider its development over the years, but I hadn’t realised back then that I had ancestors buried in the church yard.
Spending time in the Nottinghamshire Archives this summer I had traced my Oldham family back to Clifton, so a couple of weeks ago I revisited the church to see if there were any family grave stones. To my delight I found my 7x Great Grandparents Gervas & Mary Oldham just in front of the church door.
Gervas was born in Clifton, the son of John and Elizabeth, and had been baptised at St. Mary’s on the 24 Oct 1731. He married Mary Clarke in the same church on the 24 Dec 1751.
Going through the parish records in the archives I had found seven of their children; their second son William being my 6x Great Grandfather. I also knew their eldest son Thomas had died in 1767.
Mary died in June 1793; Gervas died in October 1811 aged 82.
“Sacred to the memory of Jarvis Oldham who departed this life Oct 4th 1811 Aged 82 years.
Mary his wife who died June 11th 1793 aged 61 years.”
But I was shocked when I read the inscription at the very bottom of the gravestone:
“Likewise Nine of their Children who died Early in Life.”
The records in the archives had given me no idea that Gervas and Mary had had to bury so many of their children. They can’t have had an easy life. My next step might be to find out a bit more about the social conditions of Clifton in this time, to see how they lived then.