After a considerable wait we received recently permission to investigate the grave space to see what, if anything, remained of the headstone or other memorial. So, on Thursday 2nd May 2013 trustees Chris, Sue and Robert set about the dig.
All we dug up were several pieces of broken plinth and there was no sign of a memorial stone. Clearing away the soil to the east side of the plot we came up against a large slab and decided to clear the soil away, just in case…
…and the slab turned out to be the ledger stone from Harry’s grave.
The inscription on the ledger stone is:
SURGEON OF THIS TOWN,
WHO DIED JANUARY 2ND 1856
AGED 68 YEARS.
THOMAS HENRY GEM
WHO DIED AT LEAMINGTON
NOVEMBER 4TH 1881,
AGED 62 YEARS.
ALSO OF ANN, WIFE OF
THE ABOVE NAMED
WHO DIED FEBRUARY 14TH 1888,
AGED 89 YEARS.
Although commemorated on this stone Jon Willcox, Harry’s father-in-law, lies nearby in Warstone Lane Cemetery. He shares a grave with William Harrison and Fleetwood and Catherine Webb but is not mentioned on that headstone.
Ellen Maria Gem, Harry’s widow, died in 1899 and is buried in the same grave as her mother Ann and husband Harry. Her name is not engraved on the ledger stone, perhaps because she and Harry had no children and therefore no-one to see to the task?
Photographs: © Chris & Sue Elks, Robert Holland
Click photographs to enlarge