Heversham Church: Repent in Time

I went to visit St Peter’s Church, Heverhsam, last week, the place of my 5x great grandparents’ wedding in 1793. Although much of it was rebuilt after a fire, many of the original medieval pillars and walls survive and the church boasts some surprisingly realistic corbel heads. I cannot vouch for my ancestors’ spiritual state; my knowledge of them comes from dry legal records and parish registers. Still, one of the graves, close by the porch by which the amorous couple will have passed, had been erected some 27 years before. William Docker, its occupant, would have been known to some still living. He had written upon his prominent, table-style gravestone:


All you that come my tomb to see

When you read it pray think on me

Repent in time make no delay

I, in my glory was snatcht (sic) away

Perhaps young James and Bella had no time for such morose thoughts on so pleasant an occasion. Having only eyes for each other, they may scarce have noticed such a warning, carved in its big thick letters. Yet they went the same way as he, for they too departed this life. That so many of us should marry our spouses and communally welcome our children among the graves and tombs of the deceased is a salient reminder of our shared fate:

For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. 2 Samuel 14:1 

The Lord Jesus, however, promises:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25

A surprisingly life-like corbel head, doubtless based upon the mason’s acquaintance