Sunday 26 April 2020

Tombstone Lane

Tombstone Lane branches off Longdrag Hill towards Frogwell. From Harding, vol. II (1847), on page 127 the following tale is told:
In this neighbourhood is an estate called Loosley Farm to which a tradition is attached that in 1643 John Shapcott, the resident tenant, is supposed to have murdered a pedlar who had sought his hospitality, and was buried in a field on the property, where a stone was afterwards erected 25 feet high and six wide, on which was engraven that portion of the 103rd Psalm from the 6th to the 14th verses, both inclusive. The remains of this stone, which is nearly in the form of a triangle, is leaning against the hedge in a lane called Tombstone-lane; and Richards, in his Apportionment, describes the field adjoining as Tombstone Field. The mound over the grave, which lay between the hedge and lane, at right angles, has been removed within a very few years. On this stone there is the evident appearance of letters, which, in its present state are illegible. An attempt will be made, however, to clean the stone, and ascertain by that means what is engraven thereon; and if successful the result will be given with a few other particulars, at the end of this book¹. The remaining part of this tomb, said by Dunsford to have been broken off in a fit of rage by John Shapcott, (son of John Shapcott, the supposed murderer), about thirty years after, accompanied by some blasphemous expressions, and swearing at the same time the stone was a standing reproach to his family, has been carried away. John Shapcott's hand is said to have become useless from that time, and it gradually withered away; which circumstance obtained for him the name of "Scrammed hand Shapcott". In an old rate of this parish, bearing the date 1723, Loosely is described as late the land of Daniel Shapcott, which may have been a son of John Shapcott; but there appears no probability of gaining any very authentic particulars of this occurrence.
¹ The stone is not mentioned again, so we assume the attempt to clean it was unsuccessful!

1 comment:

  1. Went up there today but could not see any stone remaining.