Norwich – Earlham Cemetery (Richard Badcock Mayes)

This is the grave of Richardson Badcock Mayes (along with Eleanor and Richard) and is located at Earlham Cemetery in Norwich. The first mystery here is why the grave has the name Richardson, as this wasn’t his name, which was the more simple Richard. I can only assume that it’s a nickname or similar, although the probate record gave his name as Richardson.

Richardson (and I’ll call him that on the basis that it’s what his wife put on his gravestone) was born in around 1840, but I can’t find any records of this birth. I know that he was born in Norfolk, but despite trying all manner of differing spellings of his name, I can’t find him. Nor can I find his marriage to Eleanor that would have taken place in around 1860 and nor where they were living in 1861. It’s fair to say that this isn’t ideal….

The children were both baptised at the same time, at St. Martin’s Church in Norwich, which is located opposite to the entrance to the modern gateway to the Bishop’s Palace. I’m not sure why baptisms were done as a job lot like this, but this happened to other families as well. Anyway, the children were baptised on 21 August 1864 and Richardson’s profession was noted as being a stonemason. Richardson at last appears on the official record, by way of the electoral registers, in 1868 when he lived at Barn Road.

At the 1871 census, the family lived at Barn Road although this street has been substantially altered since then. It was once a relatively quiet road which led up to the railway station, but the road is now part of the inner ring-road and the station has been demolished. George Plunkett has several photos of what Barn Road once looked like and the type of house that the Mayes would have lived in. At this census, Richardson was 31, Eleanor was 28, Richard was 9 and Arthur was 7.

Richardson died on 16 May 1878 at the age of 38. Unusually, the gravestone mentions his employers and how he worked for them as a foreman for 17 years. Such a mention would usually suggest that the employer paid for the stone and this is especially likely as Richardson worked for Mr JB Childs stonemasons. It certainly wouldn’t be bad advertising for a stonemason to get his name on the grave, although since his occupation isn’t mentioned, I can’t imagine that there was any commercial imperative here.

As for the other members of the family, Eleanor lived until 21 June 1918, when she died at the age of 78. Their son Richard had been living alone at 54 Lothian Street in Norwich following a career as a general labourer and he died on 18 March 1948, at the age of 81. As an aside, Lothian Street is located just off of Barn Road, and is visible on the map above. And as for Arthur, he had married Phoebe and had two children.

There’s not much of a story here since the first half seems to be missing, but I do wonder what it must have been like for Richard to have stood at the grave of his mother in 1918, just over 40 years since he stood there to bury his father. Richard was about 16 when he stood there for the first time and it must have been a strange situation to be there again after such a long time delay.