As in the past three years, we took the opportunity this year to celebrate Memorial Day (albeit a week late due to workload at the office on the actual holiday) by visiting the resting place of our dead. I described our previous excursions in the following posts: Our Dead, Our Dead II, and Convert Ancestor.
This year we visited the resting place of some of my wife’s ancestors. Before her Sutton ancestors became Mormons, they were Anglican vicars. She is the great(n)-granddaughter of the Vicars of Leire, a village of Leicestershire. As such, their tombstones have the honor of being prominently displayed in the village churchyard of St. Peter’s of Leire.
Our girls were impressed with all the gravestones, both of their ancestors and otherwise. They were able to find tombstones in the small cemetery of people who had shared all of our first names except Allison’s.
We took a few moments to soak in the quiet atmosphere of the tiny village and to contemplate the generations of service that Sutton/Seagrave vicars had consecrated to their flocks here in the heart of England.
Standing in front of the 14th century tower of the church looking across at the equestrian village with its horses leisurely jaunting up the street, their young riders amused at the strange photo opportunity, we caught a glimpse into the tight life that had been enjoyed here through the ages, since 20 families were counted in Leire on Domesday, to the 90 or so families living there under the pastoral care of Sutton/Seagrave vicars in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to the present day, with a booming population of about 500 souls. (As witness to the quiet life of the village, the pub across the street from the church — The Queen’s Arms — was still closed by the time we were ready to leave around 5:00 p.m. so we resorted to a favorite Malaysian-Japanese fusion restaurant for a late dinner just outside the Epping Forest on our return home.)