Warehousemen, Clerks and Drapes Schools – Purley and Addington – Commemorative Tomb-Stone (Stele) – Churchyard Gardens – (St Mary’s the Virgin Church) – Beddington Park (14.11.2021)

Between St Mary’s the Virgin Church-yard and Beddington Manor House – exists a number of eye-catching (low-lying) brick and flint walls (dating from the 1600s – perhaps the time of the English Civil War) which not only mark the original boundary of the sanctified burial ground around the Church – but also generate a definite sense of ‘security’ and even ‘self-containment’! This article features a stele-type ‘tomb-stone’ commemorating the deaths of the senior and junior teaching staff (and/or their off-spring) at local schools which served the children of working-class families. This may well have been the consequence of the progressive and enlightened attitude of Charles Hallowell Carew (1805-1848) – the Lord of the Manor and ‘Royal Navy’ Captain who believed working-class people should be treated with respect (as a good Captain treats his crew on a ship), and that working-class children should be given an education at the expense of the employer(s).

The oldest part of the Church-yard lies to the South and West of the Church – but the as original burial ground was reaching its capacity toward the end of the 20th century – a decision was taken to ‘respectfully’ extend the sanctified burial ground across the nearby Church Road and into the adjacent nearby field around 1975, and lay-out a ‘new’ graveyard. This building protect including the extending the low brick and flint wall – marking a ‘new’ boundary. Today, the area is very picturesque and designed to attract family groups and individuals to enjoy the very good landscaping, country seats (including the ‘talking chair’ whereby those sat on this particular park bench are obliged to ‘talk’ to anyone who wants to discuss any aspect of life), and to observe a number of interesting monuments, grave-stones and commemorative plaques, etc. I am not sure as to the context of the twenty-six names and dates (which run over a sixty-nine-year-period between 1868-1937) recorded on this stone. As the stone states ‘In Memory of’ it would seem to be a recording of death dates but not of ‘birth-dates’ – why would this be the case? On the other hand, if could be a record of individuals who taught at the schools in question, and the years within which they ‘retired’. Again, if this is the case, why is there no ‘start-date’? Only one entry – that of Edger O Townsend 1917 – appears during WWI, whereas the entry for ‘John W Marshall 1937’ appears during the era of the ‘Spanish Civil War’ (1936-1939). Of course, Purley is not ‘local’ to Beddington Park and is situated around 4 miles Southeast of Sutton (and 2.5 miles South of Beddington), whilst ‘Addington’ lies 8.5 miles East of Sutton (and 5 miles East of Beddington)! Furthermore, Purley lies 5 miles Southwest of Addington! Purley and Addington was probably a local Council, Borough or Constituency demarcation in the past that appears unfamiliar to use now. Of course, when working-class children were lucky enough to be provided with an education, it was quite often the case that young children would be expected to walk five or ten-miles a day without question by their parents, regardless of the deficient state of their foot-wear or even complete lack of shoes!

The Inscription Reads:

Warehousemen, Clerks and Drapes Schools – Purley and Addington

In Memory of:

Louisa Cruickmann – 1868

Assistant Governess

Henry Comes

Son of the Head-Master

James Garnett 1877

(Head-Master)

Frank Ayles 1880

(Son of the Head-Master)

Elizabeth M Groven 1887

(Matron)

Charles Barnett 1867

Sarah J Neals 1868

Edith A Baggs 1875

Elizabeth Douglas 1875

Ada J Lewis 1875

Thomas Ashton 1876

Hannah M Weatherly 1876

Allan C Smith 1880

Isabella L Ashton 1882

Alice E Stone 1885

Frank S Hines 1886

Alice A Ashby 1886

Frances G Trainor 1886

Herbert F Dagger 1893

Margaret A Whitlaw 1894

Charles T Birgham 1894

Bessie M Edwards 1898

Eric L Shead 1901

Edger O Townsend 1917

George Swann 1926

John W Marshall 1937

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