Norwich – Rosary Cemetery (Elizabeth Arthurton + James Arthurton)

Since I’ve been grounded again by the Government, I thought I’d meander around the Rosary Cemetery located near to me in Norwich, in an attempt to see what stories lie there. It might not be the most fascinating blog content, but it’ll keep me quiet for a few weeks….

This grave  rather stood out given the amount of text on it, including the marriage date which is a little unusual. But, Elizabeth and James Arthurton were married for over fifty years, so I imagine that James was very proud of that and wanted it to be remembered. Those last words spoken by Elizabeth were written by Nicolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf, with his works translated by John Wesley.

The details of Elizabeth’s life are handily put onto the gravestone, so we know that she was born on 27 June 1799, that the couple were married on 11 August 1825 and that she died on 26 December 1876 at the age of 77. This makes it easy to discover that she was born in North Walsham as Elizabeth Woodhouse, with the couple being married at St. Stephen’s Church (the one next to the shopping centre formerly known as Chapelfield which a few years ago had a footpath ploughed through the middle of the churchyard to get to it).

At the 1841 census, the couple were living alone on Black Swan Lane in Costessey (which was listed as Cossey in the census, and is still how the location is pronounced) in the Forehoe Hundred. It was a slight faff to find this, the street was named after the now closed Black Swan pub and it took me a while to locate this, but it’s on the main street in the village, roughly where Folgate Close pokes through.

At the 1851 census, the couple were living alone on Mill Lane in New Catton, near to Norwich, and that James was working as a grocer. They were trickier to find at the 1861 census, as the transcriber has mis-spelt their surname, but they were living in Costessey again and James was working as a school-teacher. The couple were now living with two lodgers, William Fuller (a 69-year old retired grocer) and Edwin Garrington (a 66-year old retired clerk).

Just James is listed as living on Palace Street near to Norwich Cathedral in 1871, which is because by this time Elizabeth (listed now as a seamstress) was living as “an inmate” at the Great Hospital, which is a little way down the road on Bishopgate Street. Following her death at the hospital, a notice in the Norfolk News noted that “she was the zealous assistant to her husband in raising the Church Protestant Sunday and Day Schools at Cossey in 1836”.

And the picture unfolds enough here for this gravestone to make a little more sense (I’m sounding like the archaeologists in Time Team now, desperate to find enough of a story here to conclude with). This couple were married for over 52 years and had clearly gone through a long life together. In the final few years of Elizabeth’s life, they were separated and I can imagine James standing by the grave with perhaps no other family members. I’m guessing his wanting the details of their marriage on the gravestone was because he was very proud of their time together.

It’s a bit hidden behind foliage now on the stone, but James lived until 16 June 1882, when he died at the age of 77 at Bethel Hospital in Norwich. The gravestone also notes his date of birth, which was 21 July 1804, although I wonder who arranged to get his details added to the stone. As an aside, James voted for John Parry at the 1847 General Election, although he wasn’t elected. This was an interesting political movement, as Parry was standing for the Radicals, who were important in establishing the new Liberal Party from the Whigs.