In October 1903 the Rev Rudolph Davis, of Oat Street Unitarian Chapel, called upon 32 members of the public to donate five shillings each towards replacing the worn out headstone of George May and his wife Sarah and daughter Isabel. The cost of the new stone was to be £8.
The Rev Davis commented that George May’s best memorial was undoubtedly the valuable books he has given to the town, but wrote in the Evesham Journal: “I hope Evesham will not allow his grave to be neglected. It would surely be a matter of regret if this memorial to an Evesham worthy, to whom people owe so much, were allowed to disappear.”
A month later he writes that the appeal was successful with a donation of three guineas being given by George May’s son Theodore May who, although several of his children stayed in America, was at the time living in London.
In 1903 the gravestone was duly replaced and inscribed with the following
Wife of George May, bookseller, died September 27, 1838 age 37 years.
“Her native grace and gentleness, the inherent energy of her character, the calm devotedness of her affection embalm and consecrate her memory.
Esther (this is a typing error of the local newspaper as her name was Isabel)
Second daughter of Geo and Sarah May, after a short but severe illness thro’ which she was sustained by calm assurance of Christian faith, slept in the Lord September 13 1847 age 16 years.
Born at Bristol 17 April 1803,died in the Charter House, London 13 May 1871.
“A bookseller and printer in the borough for 22 years. He was zealous on all occasions to promote its welfare. He devoted himself to his historical studies and antiquarian research and will be remembered as the author of the Descriptive History of Evesham, published 1845.”
The remains of father and child rest beneath this stone.
Today, once more, these words are sadly obliterated. With the republishing of his book is it, perhaps, time for an appeal for another public subscription? What do readers think?
with thanks to Peter Stewart.