Health & Safety warning

Photo by Ron Harpham.

Here’s a health and safety message from a headstone in the churchyard of  St. Mary, Hartpury, Gloucestershire. It reads as follows:

In memory of John Hale of this Parish Blaksmith who Deceased Septemb: y g 1692. Aged 25 yrs. 4 Months.

Loe here’s interr’d the muses passive friend

Their noblest science – ringing was his end

His actions just, a martyr of that skill

Crusht by a bell ’twas Heavens sacred will

Melodious bells delighting him on earth

Exchanged terrestriall for celestiall mirth

This fatal stroke in haste did stop his breath

Lamented was his unexpected death’

The stone doesn’t say exactly how or why he was crushed but it’s worth a thought if ever you are tempted to fit muffles with the bells up.