This unusual monument can be found in the grounds of the church by the market place in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, which I gather is called St Mary`s.
The monument was erected as a tribute to William Longdon of Cotmanhay, described as "Sergeant of the East Derbyshire Yeomanry Cavalry and many years Guardian of the Poor, Collector and Asseessor of Taxes, Constable for the Parish of Ilkeston."
His death, we are told, was "hastened by his unremitting exertions" and "his afflicted widow has lost a kind husband, the Shipley Troop, a trusty yeoman, the Parish of Ilkeston, an invaluable officer and the whole neighbourhood a conservator of the peace whose name was a terror to evil-doers."
We are told that he died on 17 May 1821* , at the age of 41 or 42 and was buried in Ilkeston churchyard with full military honours, and that the monument was financed by contributions from his numerous friends.
He sounds a remarkable man and I`m sorry to say that his monument is beginning to look a bit weathered and overgrown. I suppose it is difficult to properly maintain these things - I don`t suppose I`d look so good if I`d been stuck in a churchyard for over 100 years !
*I was pretty sure he died in May 1821 at the age of 42, but I gather the relevant Parish Register has no corresponding entry for those dates, though it does record the burial of William Longdon, aged 41, of Cotmanhay on 20 May 1827. I`ve gather the local history society has also transcribed the inscription, and that they have it as 17 May 1827 and in the 42nd year of his life - see http://www.ilkestonhistory.org.uk/.
Here are some more pictures, which may prove easier to read for those with sharper eyes than myself !
I am but a simple dabbler in such matters. In an ideal world I`d like to know more about this man and it would be nice if this fascinating item could be properly preserved - but I have limited spare time and little idea how these things are done. Does anyone else now ?
If this article interests you, you may also like `Thomas Richardson MBE, of 12 Squadron Bomber Command and Later a Trade Unionist`, which I posted on this blog 29 Nov 2009 if I recall correctly.