MORE TOMBS, VAULTS AND LEDGER STONE DISCOVERIES

13th September 2019
Leatherhead Parish Church

When contractors removed the woodblock floor and the concrete base from the nave & aisles this month, a tomb, two vaults and several ledger stones were discovered. The archaeologist was immediately called back onto site to excavate and record the excavations.

In front of the Chancel steps there was a ledger stone dedicated to a previous vicar of this Parish, the Rev Robert Laxton d. 1783. The tomb next to that vault had illegible ledger stones, which were lowered to accommodate the foundations for the new floor. 

Cholmondeley and Clarke Vaults

The second ledger stone uncovered in the South Aisle appears to be that of Harriot Cholmondeley, who tragically met her death when thrown from the carriage of the then Princess of Wales on their way to Norbury Park. A memorial on the wall shows the date of Harriot’s death as 1806; the last three visible digits of the inscription are 806.

Two vaults, similar to those already explored in the transepts earlier this year, have been discovered. In the south aisle, in front of the war memorial, a large one that the Victorians broke into and filled with rubble, so we’ll probably never know who was buried there.

The other, from the early 19th century with three coffins of the Clarke family, is located in the centre of the nave at the West end: husband (William d. 1843), wife (Charlotte d. 1847), and a child aged 7 (Wigram d. 1812). There are two memorials to the parents elsewhere in the church and a floor slab inscribed to all three is located against the Tower wall.

These vaults will be dealt with in the same way as completed in the transepts, by taking the roof off, bracing and covering with steel shuttering.

Finally, two additional ledger stones have been revealed. We will hopefully discover more about the first when the font is moved.

The second is a very large 3m x 1m ledger that is 15cm deep. The archaeologist has said that there is evidence that this would have been covered with brass work. Only a faint crown cut into the stone and an outline of what would have been a person made from brass remain. All we can say with confidence is that the ledger belonged to someone very important.

So, our discoveries and research continue to leave some questions unanswered!

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The Parish Office, Parish Church Hall, Church Road, Leatherhead,
Surrey, KT22 8BD