Tablets weigh a Tonne
Two 18th century stone memorial tablets to members of the Hardyman family have been moved from the nave of the church into the newly conserved south porch. It might seem a little strange to be moving memorials, but these ones had been installed on top of historic wall paintings, parts of which survive under layers of lime wash. The picture in this space told the story of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, much of which is still visible today.
Each tablet had to be carefully removed so as not to cause damage, not an easy job considering they weighed over a tonne.
The tablets were erected in memory of Jane and Walter Hardyman. Jane died aged just 47 in 1761 and her husband a few years later age 69. The existence of their substantial memorial tablets in a church so dominated by the St. John family of Lydiard Park, shows the Hardymans’ high standing in the community. Walter is described as being ‘many years in the Commission of the Peace.’ His grandfather was Steward to Sir Walter and Lady Joanna St. John and would have managed the St. John’s estate and interests at Lydiard Park.
The south porch is an ideal location for the Hardyman memorials. There are four early 18th century grave slabs to the Hardymans laid in the original floor. As part of the conservation project the south porch will be open to the public for the first time since it was closed in the 1830’s.