This is a continuation (part three) of the Fielding Legacy story.
While Joseph Fielding was in Bedfordshire he visited the home of his sister Ann Matthews. He recorded,
August 1st Called at Mr. Matthews; they were absent. I looked into the house, particularly I went into the Room where my Beloved Father died, on the 3rd of March, 1836. Here he had been nursed with all care and tenderness in his last days by his Daughter, Ann Matthews. He died in peace. I have often felt thankful that he and my Mother died even before the Message of the Covenant, being renewed, came to this Land, for as my Brothers & Sisters did not receive the Message, I fear they would also have rejected it through their Influence. (Fielding, p. 49)
He shared a similar sentiment when he visited their graves in the Colmworth graveyard:
Called at Colmworth to see the graves of my beloved Father & Mother. The Priest of the Parish has for his own Pleasure enclosed a Portion of the Church yard with a Quick, or Thorn Fence, and planted it with Shrubs and Flowers, and my Father & Mother and Sister Sarah are just in[side] the inclosure [sic]. Their grave Stones look well burnished by my Brother John, at least the 2 former. Mother died October 15, 1828, aged 61 – and Father, March 3rd, 1836, in the 77[th] year of his Age.
They died in Peace, but neither of them ever heard of the fullness of the Gospel. And as my Friends reject it, I am glad they died before it came, lest they should have been influenced by them to reject it also. (Fielding, 62)
The Reverend’s little enclosed garden mentioned by Joseph has been removed, but the three headstones are still there – the third being the grave of his step sister (?) Sarah:
This graveyard also holds a surprise burial spot. Just to the side of Joseph’s parents is the large tomb of the Reverend Matthews – Joseph’s brother in law.
Joseph does not mention this in his journal because…
- He was still alive then! Matthews did not die until 1845
- Even when he was buried it was not here. His tomb was originally erected outside his church in Bromham Road (now a night club!), but was moved here when the church closed down. Quite fittingly it now stands next to the place where he ministered for twelve years, and next to his in-laws.
The significance of Reverend Matthews will be revealed in part four of this series on the Fielding Legacy.