Memorials for Repair 2022

Before the end of 2022, the Friends hope to have a handful of memorials repaired around the cemetery. Given the number of memorials we've already repaired in the Church of England side of the cemetery, this year we thought we would concentrate on the Non-Conformist side. Three memorials will improve the view along the 'Old Ground' of the non-conformist section, between the main path and the Pantomime Society Wall. Two more will improve the paths and junctions of the middle part of the Dissenter ground.

So you can learn more about the stories of those remembered by these memorials, we have made their biographies available for everyone to read - usually available only to members - so follow the links below. Other memorials are planned for repair on behalf of private individuals, so you will see a fair change within the cemetery by the end of the year. The repair of these memorials will cost the Friends a substantial amount, so please find at the bottom of this page a link for you to donate to the effort, if you are able. Every penny helps us, even just the price of a coffee for the volunteers would be appreciated. Otherwise consider becoming a Friend here.

Here are the Memorials for Repair 2022:

Plan 2, memorial 4, HARRIS

Memorials for Repair 2022 Harris

This is a large gothic tombstone, currently laid flat on the ground. It has been earmarked as it is a large stone that will help improve the tranquil 'Old Ground' along the sandstone wall. Raising the memorial will also prevent damage from the mowers. The inscription reads:

In Loving Memory of Mary Ann Harris the beloved wife of Isaac Harris, died January 11th 1882 aged 58 years. Also SA Harris died May 17th 1858 aged 4 years. Not lost but gone before. Isaac Harris. Died January 17th 1895 aged 71 years. Thy will be done.

Isaac Harris was a shoemaker of Friarn Street, Bridgwater. He was originally from Charlinch, and the family were Congregationalists. He married Mary Ann Jolliffe, and you can read their full story here.

Plan 2, memorial 10, JENKINS

This is another large stone, not far from the Harris memorial above, and its repair will help improve that part of the cemetery. This one has a delicate carving of the Angus Dei, the Lamb of God. The inscription reads:

Sacred to the Memory of Maria beloved wife of James Jenkins who departed this life May 7th 1862 aged 49. Also of the afore named James Jenkins who died June 25th 1894 aged 81 years.

James Jenkins was a butcher, farmer and Baptist deacon. He was quite a character, constantly getting into grief with the authorities.

He married in 1834 to Maria Sainsbury and they came to run a butchers shop in the High Street. Eventually they moved out to Rexworthy Farm in Enmore, although ultimately Maria's health failed and they moved back to Bridgwater.

Their story can be read here.

Memorials for Repair 2022 Jenkins

Plan 3, memorial 9, SKINNER

Memorials for Repair 2022 Skinner

Next, a little further on from Harris and Jenkins, but aiming to improve the same row, is the memorial to Emily Skinner 1838-1869. The inscription reads:

9/460 In memory of Emily the beloved wife of Thomas L. Skinner who died April 8th 1869 aged 28 years.

She was born in Tangier Place, Taunton. In October 1867, Emily married Thomas Lowday Skinner in the Wesleyan Free Church in St Mary Street (now Bar 27). On the first of April 1869 Emily gave birth to a healthy girl, but Emily herself succumbed to infection, as so many women did after childbirth. 

The baby survived, Emily Lowday Cordelia Davis Skinner, who would marry Thomas Bale in 1907. She lived to 1950.

We think this memorial was home-made by friends of Thomas Skinner, who worked as a carpenter. We assume this little triangular obelisk was taken from a building site and re-used as a memorial. Emily's full story can be read here.

Plan 7, memorial 65, CROCKER

Next is a little further away, the Crocker memorial, which is at the junction of two paths. This should be in the form of a boulder and scroll, with an ornate rugged cross coming out the top. Unfortunately a holly tree has popped out of it and knocked the whole thing over! The inscription reads:

65/1004 In Loving Memory of George Reginald Crocker the dearly beloved son and only child of George & Emily Crocker who gently fell asleep May 5th 1895 aged 27 years. Burial records show. Emily Rhoda Crocker buried March 27 1899 age unknown. Also George Crocker buried March 7 1919 aged 83 years.

George worked as an accountant and administrative clerk to the Poor Law Union. Their stories can be read here. You can also read about George's parents here.

Memorials for Repair 2022 Crocker

Plan 10, memorial 46, NEWSWAG


Finally we have the toppled cross of Augustus Marinus Thomas Newswag 1866-1900, who was a Royal Marine and Policeman. The memorial joins a path and will help improve that walkway considerably.

In Loving Memory of my dearly loved husband Augustus MT Newswag who fell asleep July 4th 1900 aged 34. Gone but not forgotten. Also In Loving Memory of Augustus James Cook beloved husband of Lydia Cook who died August 11th 1927 aged 73. In the midst of life we are in death. Also Lydia Cook who died October 20th 1938 aged 73.

Augustus enlisted in the marines in 1882 and was present for the fierce, hard-fought battle of Tamai on the 13th March 1884. He left the army in 1891 and in mid-1892, he married Lydia Slocombe, the daughter of a sawyer. Their story can be read in full here.

These stories for the Memorials for Repair 2022 have been painstakingly researched by Jillian Trethewey, Hilary Southall and Clare Spicer. We hope you enjoy learning about all these very different individuals.

Are you able to help? Use this button to donate to Memorials for Repair 2022 fundraiser:

The Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery are part of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends.