Bulcock Memorial

Last weekend, one of our members and I walked across the fields to inspect the Bulcock Memorial. This is rather incongruous stone monument one might expect to see in a Victorian graveyard rather than outside Clough Head Farm. The iron railings, though rusted, seem original; the words inscribed into the marble still seem to be laced with sadness.

Here is the grave of a son, Thomas Bulcock, buried by his father of the same name. A parent interring a child is always a tragedy, though a further source of pain is also recorded. Thomas senior states that his son, on account of his being a ‘non-resident’, was denied burial at Downham churchyard along with his predeceased mother. The father would sooner bury his son by his own house than in some other churchyard (Gisburn? Clitheroe?) away from his late wife. Old Mr Bulcock, though grieving two of his closest kin, retains a certain dignity and decorum, despite having been thwarted in his funerary plans by what he might have considered ecclesiastical red tape.

There is some verse on the memorial’s side unworthy of quotation here, as well as some intriguing scriptural references he instructed the mason to cite:


-which refers to Abraham procuring a grave plot for his beloved Sarah. Another face requests:


I dutifully obeyed old Mr Bulcock’s injunction:

23“Oh, that my words were written!

Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!

24 That they were engraved on a rock

With an iron pen and lead, forever!

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,

And He shall stand at last on the earth;

26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

That in my flesh I shall see God,

27 Whom I shall see for myself,

And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!

Not only does the text bespeak his heart-felt pain, but it augurs well this bleak, stone memorial. More significantly, it describes the hope of Jesus Christ and His gospel- a living Redeemer who promises life after death, hope after despair, resurrection after burial. I hope the choice of text was not just some saccharine Victorian sentiment, but a real faith in the God of Job, whose gospel provides for the reunion of all who died believing its truth, including Messrs and Mrs Bulcock.