The Smith Obelisk B3/119

The Smith Obelisk was repaired in October 2013 by Fine Memorials for Dr M. Kerr-Peterson and cleaned by Dave Webb for the Friends

Smith Obelisk
A photograph of the Cemetery in the 1880s, which shows the Smith obelisk between the two old chapels.
The memorial in 2012, having long been toppled.
The memorial during restoration in May 2013. Unfortunately a small ledge which sat upon the block and below the obelisk shaft could not be reinstated, although the memorial still recaptures its former grandeur.

The Smith memorial is one of the oldest in the Anglican section of the Wembdon Road Cemetery. The inscription reads;

Richard Smith died 15th Dec. 1856 aged 75 years. Thomas Hellier Smith died 3rd May 1858 aged 8. Sarah Hellier Smith widow of Richard Smith died June ... 1894 aged 82.

The book on the memorial is now indecipherable. However, a description of the memorial from August 1858 tells us what was there:

Monument to the Late Richard Smith Esq.
A handsome marble monument, executed by Tyley of Bristol has just been erected in the Cemetery at Bridgwater, to the memory of this gentleman. On a panelled pedestal surmounted by an obelisk is placed an open book, with the following quotation: - 'I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.' St. John xi.25 26. Above the book is worked a plain cross in basso relieve. The inscription is engraved upon one of the panels as follows: - 'Richard Smith, died 13th December, 1856 aged 73 years'. The ground on which the monument stands is enclosed by four small marble pillars, over which a light chain is extended. The whole has a chaste and quiet effect. 
(Supplied by Andy Slocombe)

Richard Smith was described at his death in 1856 as a gentleman of Friarn Street. His father was also a Richard Smith, a gentleman of Porlock, who also owned the Ship Inn in Bridgwater, but had it run by tenants. The maiden name of Sarah Hellier Smith was Rowely, and she was a resident of Eastover, her father was a butcher. She was Richard's second wife and they were married in St. John's Church.

The memorial was chosen for restoration for its prominent location and towering design. The work was very ably and generously carried out by Fine Memorials of Bridgwater and subsequently tidied by the Friends. Mr. David Webb made a considerable effort cleaning the marble to its brilliant white.

The memorial after the marble was thoroughly cleaned.
The memorial after a kerb was installed. This was very kindly made by Fine Memorials from pieces of uninscribed scrap kerbs which had been dumped nearby. The old plinth from the memorial was rested within this to form the base for an urn. A store-bought black chain was installed to repalce the lost and rusted sections, but it was decided that this was too small to be appropriate for the memorial. It was decided that this would act as a temporary measure until the old survivng section of chain could be conserved and appropriate replacements for the other three to match this could be found. In the background is Mr. Dave Webb who spent a considerable amount of time and effort cleaning the marble.
Next a membrane was fitted round the memorial, between the kerbs. This was in advance of laying down chippings.
Smith Obelisk
The slab was thereafter cleaned, chippings laid out and a discarded urn put it place.
Smith Obelisk in situ.