070315.Bathampton, Murder Most Cruel?

March 15, 2007 at 1:58 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bathampton, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Chisel Marks, Flowers, Monuments and Memorials, somerset | 10 Comments

070226.086.Somset.Bathhampton.St Nicholas
Nearby this flower font in St Nicholas’ Churchyard is this tomb memorial. Who was the 26-year-old Elsie Adeline Luke (1865(?)-1891). The recent replacement stone was funded by the estate of Lucy Barlow. Who was Barlow? Did Barlow know of Luke, or was she caught by the “cruelly murdered” tag, which inspired her to preserve the memory of Luke instead of any number of other lost stones. I know some 36 or so 17th and 18th Century stones in the Old Dutch Burying Ground in Sleepy Hollow, New York were “conserved” by the Rockefeller family in the 1960s as a goodwill gesture to the community there since the Rockefeller’s lived nearby. These stones were not re-carved but had a cement backing poured on them to allow them to remain standing. I’m not sure if that’s good conservation since cement and conservation generally don’t mix well (…don’t bring up the pun).
070226.089.Somset.Bathhampton.St Nicholas.Elsie Adeline Luke


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  1. Thank for making this valuable information available to the public.

  2. Oh, your spring coincides with ours in Richmond on the James. Beautiful photos, fascinating stories.

    Thank you!!!

  3. J!

    Come on deary!

    That headstone SO looks TOTALLY shopped!!! šŸ˜‰

    And quit creepin’ me out…you’re too young to be wandering around cemeteries…that should be left for orb-seeking crazies like Moi!

    Love your story AND your snaps in spite of it all!

    Bristol or Bath–which one???!!!

  4. “cruelly murdered.” that is unique. Kudos to Lucy for preserving this.

  5. Well, shiver me timbers! Where is Sherlock Holmes, when we need him…

  6. are there ghosts there?

  7. hi James!! That’s a sad story about Elsie. I’ve featured you on today’s post at Cheltenham. Well, your blog, not you lol.

  8. Elsie Luke was a young woman in service at one of the large houses in Bathampton.The original stone which I just about remember, added that she was “cruelly mudered by persons unknown.”
    A local lay preacher was tried for her murder and acquitted. My great grandfather Richard Dolman, who was about 13 at the time and lived in the village remembered the case. He said most people were sure that the accused had committed the crime.
    Subsequently, I head a story that many years later in Australia a man made a deathbed confession to the murder..

    • Do you still live in Bathampton? We visited in 2014 and discovered Elsie’s grave and then visited the Hampton Down, said a prayer for her, and attempted more research in the Bath library. Would love all the info you can recall concerning this murder and history.

  9. We discovered Elsie on our trip in a longboat in 2014; we ate at The George and took a stroll… One of our young girls found the grave and her brother couldn’t get over the description – all five of our kids had to know what “Cruelly” meant.

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