Dereham – Church of St. Nicholas (Robert Larner)

Located in the churchyard of Dereham Church is this gravestone commemorating the life of Robert Larner. He was born in 1819 and was married to Sarah Yull in 1847.

At the 1851 census, Robert lived at Toftwood Common, along with his wife Sarah, who was five years younger than him. They had two children at this time, Richard who was aged 2, and Matilda, who had only just been born, with Robert working as a farm labourer. Matilda was married in 1879, sadly after the death of her father.

Robert died on 17 May 1868, at the age of 48, and was buried on 21 May 1868. Unfortunately, the words at the bottom of his grave are no longer readable and his age in the church’s burial book states that he was 49.

So, there’s not much that I could find out, but I can almost imagine a 19-year old Richard and a 17-year old Matilda standing there on a Thursday afternoon (and I checked, it was a Thursday….) burying their father. And on 6 August 1879, Matilda would have no doubt have walked over to the gravestone when she was married in the same church, to a William George Hall from Hove in Brighton. I think my imagination is getting a bit vivid with the stories I’m creating in my mind here…..