In Memory of Jane, Wife of Thomas Jackson

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Gravestone in St. Cuthbert's churchyard, Wilton, North Yorkshire
Detail from page 45 of Weavers Thesis Book, Cooper Hewitt Museum, (accession number 1958:30:1)
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In the churchyard of St. Cuthbert’s, in the hamlet of Wilton, near Lazenby in the North Riding of Yorkshire, is a gravestone bearing the following inscription:

In Memory of Jane
Wife of Thomas Jackson
Buryed Oct br. ye 13th 1758
Aged 26 years

To those who for her loss are griev’d
This consolation given…

The rest of the epitaph is now obscured by long grass, but there’s no need to try to decipher it because it was also written down on paper.

Thomas Jackson, husband of Jane, was a weaver and the author, along with his father and son, both also called Thomas, of a manuscript now in the Cooper Hewitt museum in New York, where it is known as Weavers Thesis Book (accession number 1958:30:1).  The manuscript, a notebook of sixty-four carefully inked pages, is a unique and precious document providing insight into the life and practice of three generations of weavers in 17th and 18th century Yorkshire. It records details about the cloth they were making alongside family births, deaths and weddings. Life and work side by side.

We know from the notebook that this Thomas Jackson married Jane Scarth of Lazenby in 1754. They had a son called Thomas in 1755, and a daughter called Mary in 1756. Jane died five hours after giving birth to their second daughter, who would also be called Jane, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon of 13th October 1758.

In the book, Thomas wrote down three alternative epitaphs for his wife. The first reads as follows: 

To those who for her loss are griev’d
This consolation given
She’s from a world of woe reliev’d
And blooms a rose in heaven.