Tomb at Bovey Tracey (Transcript)

Devon Notes & Queries, Vol. 4, Part 2, (1906) p.49.


Rev Walter Benjamin Vere-Stead, MA

Prepared by Michael Steer

In 1628 King Charles I appointed a fiery Scotsman and ex-army Chaplain, James Forbes to be vicar of Bovey. He was ejected during the Commonwealth and made his feelings known to the Parliamentarians and the 'intruder parsons'. In the tower entrance are two tablets recording the opinion of what Forbes calls the "bloody Parliament 1642." He returned at the Restoration [1660]. His wife Maria is buried in the churchyard, and there are some curious carvings on her grave. This letter from Rev Vere-Stead, Bovey's vicar (1897-1908), describes the tomb and provides information about it from the parish register. Google with the Archive Organization has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. The Internet Archive makes available, in its Community Texts Collection (originally known as Open Source Books), books that have been digitised by Google from a number of libraries. These are books on which copyright has expired, and are available free for educational and research use. This rare book was produced from a copy held by the Michigan University Library, and is available from the Internet Archive.

18. I send you a photograph of a tomb in Bovey Tracey churchyard, which you might consider interesting enough to insert in Devon Notes & Queries. It was erected to the memory of "Maria, daughter of Thomas Gardyner of Grove Place in the county of Buckingham, Esqre., and wife of James Forbes, vicar of this parish, who died 16th of June 1655". Such is the inscription on the tomb. It is ark shaped, with three pinnacles, on one a rose with "Surgam", the next a mermaid with "Vivam", the third a thistle with "Canem". There is an inscription below, but only a word here and there can be made out.

I find the following entry in the Parish Register in connection therewith:

"Maria the wife of James Forbes, Vicar of this Parish and Chaplaine to King Charles the First, the daughter of Thomas Gardyner of Grove Place in the Countie of Buckinghame Esqre., who died sextene of Juni, nere noon, and buried Thursday the twentie one, anno dom 1655. So subscribes her sad husband, Ja Forbes".

A long account of James Forbes will be found in Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy.

W B Vere Stead.