Grimsley's of Oxford


Grimsley's produced decorated plasterwork and artificial stone gravemarkers during the mid to late nineteenth century.

Is anybody interested in this? Has anybody any information on Grimsley's & location of any of their gravemarkers? Somebody must know something about these. Please email me.

It seems that they were made by a Thomas Grimsley of St. Giles's, Oxford, or by family or company of his. Certainly there are two entries in the 1852 Gardner's Trade directory of Oxford for him:

 

Manufactures, &c., Various
  • Patent Roof and Terra Cotta, T. Grimsley, St. Giles’ street
Sculptors
  • Grimsley Thomas, 27 St. Giles’

 

Not much more is known as present, research is continuing. If anyone has further information or photographs we will be very interested.

 


This page links to the Grimsley Gravemarker Photographic Catalogue

Composition

It seems these markers were cast into a two or more part mould (the main seam of this can be clearly seen on many markers), but we do not know what material they were made from. We assume from the variation in colouring (some have a distinct pink tinge) that they were then fired in a kiln, but we do not know this for definite. Whatever their exact manufacturing process, some of these have lasted for 140 years.

There are many designs, some incorporate a marble or other stone plate, some are plain where it is assumed the inscription would have been painted or otherwise applied. Some examples have an impressed inscription, suggesting it was applied while the marker was still soft. No markers have been found with the inscription in relief, which could only have been produced by moulding.

We have not found any examples of Grimsley markers in Lincolnshire, and the furthest North so far have been in Tickhill in South Yorkshire (just south of Doncaster).

 

Below are some examples of markers we have found.


 

Construction

Here is shown a damaged Grimsley gravemarker lying in the hedge bottom. This view shows clearly the hollow construction of these markers.

Photograph: GRIMSLEY001

Church of St. ???
Beenham
Berkshire.


Typical Grimsley Wheeled Cross in Good Condition

Left is shown a typical artificial stone gravemarker, here found in the churchyard in very good condition. It takes the form of a "chunky" wheeled cross with religious symbols in circles on the spokes and IHS in the centre.

There is no evidence of any inscription, and the date is unknown.

"GRIMSLEY OXFORD" Stampmarks

Shown on the right are the stampmarks often applied to the shoulder of the gravemarker (sometimes upside-down).

Photographs: GRIMSLEY003
and GRIMSLEY004

St. Augustines Abbey Church
Ramsgate
Kent.


Decorated Scalloped Cross

Front, and below right, rear views of a "chunky" decorated scalloped cross design marker found under trees in the parish churchyard. Both sides contain leaf decorations and central IHS.

Photographs: GRIMSLEY009
and GRIMSLEY010

Church of St. Mary.
Shinfield, nr Reading
Berkshire.

This marker has an inscription:

IN
AFFECTIONATE
REMEMBRANCE OF
WALTER HORATIO STIFF
WHO DIED JANUARY 22:1880
AGED 1 YEAR & 2 MONTHS.
ALSO
FLORA KATE STIFF
WHO DIED JULY 15:1886
AGED 5 YEARS & 6 MONTHS.
PEACE LOV--- LITTLE SLEEPER
CLOSE TO THY SAVIOUR'S SIDE
HOUSED WITH THY TENDER KEEPER
SAFE ------------------------------------


Wheeled Cross with IHS and Lamb of God

Front and rear views of a simpler wheeled cross design, 'ihs' within the crown of thorns and the lamb of god depicted on opposite faces.

Photographs: GRIMSLEY006
and GRIMSLEY007

Church of ???
Kidmore End, nr Reading
Berkshire.

 


Wheeled Cross with Lily

Gothic-style wheeled cross design with a lily or rose draped.

Photograph: GRIMSLEY008

Church of ???
Kidmore End, nr Reading
Berkshire.

 


Simple Cross with Stepped Base

Front and rear views of a simple cross marker. The opposing central rounded diamonds contain "ihs" and the Lamb of God. The base has a three-layer step design.

There is no inscription. Date is unknown.

Photographs: GRIMSLEY013
and GRIMSLEY014

Church of St. Mary The Virgin
Tickhill.
South Yorkshire.


Simple Cross with Plain Base

Front and rear views of a simple cross marker. Due to Weathering it is difficult to tell what the opposing central designs were.

There is an inscription to an Elizabeth Baker, and the marker can be dated to approximately 1875.

Photographs: GRIMSLEY011
and GRIMSLEY012

Collegiate Church of the Holy And Undivided Trinity.
Stratford upon Avon
Warickshire.


Decorated Gothic Arch Marker

This marker is decorated with ivy leaf designs around an "ihs" within a crown of thorns

There is no inscription, date unknown.

Photograph: GRIMSLEY005

Church of St. ???
Kidmore End, nr Reading
Berkshire.


 

 

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