Right next to the lych gate as you enter Old Whittington churchyard there is a large headstone with many members of the Brightmore family listed there. I was surprised how each family member had a different epitaph beneath their name. As I followed the family story it turned out the family endured quite a bit of sadness over the years.

First listed is Sarah Ann Brightmore, wife of Herbert.  Sarah Ann Higginbottom and Herbert Brightmore  married at St Bartholomews in 1857.  Herbert was a butcher in New Whittington, his shop was at the top of Wellington St corner of High Street.  Sadly Sarah Ann died in 1859 aged 23 years. Her epitaph quite fittingly mentions her young age ‘Behold my friends and cast an eye and go thy way prepare to die repent with speed make no delay  I in my prime was called away’.

Herbert remarried in 1862 his new wife was Elizabeth Dixon and the couple lived in Whittington next to the butchers shop.  On the 1871 census Herbert and Elizabeth have four children listed, Tom Herbert b 1863, Fred b 1865, Frank b1867 and Kate b1869, however there was another son George Henry who on the night of the census (2nd April 1871) was living in Sheffield with his Aunt and Uncle.

Herbert butchers shop in New Whittington was advertised on 20th March 1872 in Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 

Possibly because Herbert was ill,  he died shortly after on 15 April 1872 and according to the family grave he had been ill for some time. ‘Affliction long some time bore Physicians were in vain Til God did send peace ……….. and freed me ………… ‘ unfortunately  some of the inscription is now illegible.

The family moved to Prospect Road Old Whittington and whilst George Henry had moved back home by 1881 Fred had moved away.

In 1881 there would be more sadness for the Brightmore family when Frank was killed in an accident at the age of 14. According to the burial record, where he is listed as Francis, he was a chorister at St Bartholomews  and he was ‘killed by a railway wagon running over him’.

This excerpt from Sheffield Daily Telegraph 3 December 1881 gives more information.

Frank was buried in the plot with his father on December 4th 1881. 

The following year (1882) Elizabeth lost another son, Tom Herbert who died on September 8th 1882 aged 19.  His death was announced in the Derbyshire Times on 16th September 1882.

Tom Herbert was buried in the family plot on September 10th 1882. His epitaph reads ‘ O teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom’.  His burial entry is unusual, he was ‘ buried on a Sunday by Doctors certificate of necessity’.

Later in 1882 Elizabeth married Crossley Mitchell an engine driver from Sheepbridge who was a widower. The 1891 census shows the family living at Holland Road Old Whittington, Elizabeth, Crossley and Elizabeth’s son and daughter Harry (George Henry)  and Kate. 

Elizabeth lost another son in 1893 with the death of George Henry on 13 October 1893, he had married in 1891 to Mary Jane Barker from Sheepbridge, George was not buried in the family plot but is buried in Old Whittington churchyard.  His wife remarried and when she died  the obituary in the Derbyshire Times for 20 August 1943 mentions  her first husband. He had been a chorister and church worker as well as choir master.

Elizabeth’s second husband Crossley Mitchell died in 1896 and is also buried in Old Whittington churchyard.

In 1901 Elizabeth was living in Sheffield with her daughter Kate and her husband Albert Howard, she passed away in 1907 aged 72 years  She was buried with her first husband Herbert Brightmore and their children in Old Whittington churchyard.

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