A historic grave

This grave doesn’t look out of the ordinary. Like many a grave it is a bit unkempt but an ivy growth on it has been cut away. It is in the Easterton church yard and stands close by the road just below the former jam factory and near the entrance from that side.

A grave in Easterton church yard

A grave in Easterton church yard

We need to enlarge and enhance to read its history.

It is the first ever burial on this site

It is the first ever burial on this site

It reads – In memory of William Doel who died June 9th 1875 aged 69 years. He was the first buried in this churchyard. Also of Joseph Doel who died Sep. 19th 1882 aged 82 years.

Now William is a hard chap to trace. We think he might be the 58 year old general labourer who was living in Easterton in 1871. This census said he was married but he seemed to be living alone.

If you have already done your arithmetic you’ll have worked out that being 58 in 1871 doesn’t match the age 0f 69 on the 1875 grave. But was he 69 then? The entry in the records gives a very clear age at death of 63 – a much better match.

How old was William when he died? The grave says 69. The records say 63!

How old was William when he died? The grave says 69. The records say 63!

Joseph Doel can be found earlier, living with his brother, John, in 1851 in Market Lavington.

We’d love to know more about William Doel, with that historic ‘first’ in Easterton.


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2 Responses to “A historic grave”

  1. mfw1948moses1948 Says:

    I was interested to read of William Doel and his being the first grave in Easterton Churchyard – I can tell you just a little more about him.

    He was born in 1812 or 1813 in Great Cheverell. In 1843 he married Sarah Ann Meade, born c1819 in Market Lavington.

    I can’t find a record of the 1851 census, but according to the 1861 census they were living with their son William, aged 15 and daughter Mahela, aged 3, at Ivy Cottage in Easterton. (Is Ivy Cottage still extant?) Two questions – why was there such a gap between the two children and why choose such an unconventional name, generally reckoned to be Native American? Sarah died in March quarter 1870.

    In the last quarter of 1871, widower William married Ann Wilkins, widow of my great-great-grandfather Aaron Phipp (or Wilkins). Aaron was born in Easterton in 1824, and married Ann Chapman on 15th May 1845. She was born in 1821 in Market Lavington, a great-granddaughter of David Saunders, the Shepherd of Salisbury Plain. Aaron died in 1866 in Salisbury Infirmary and was buried in St Mary’s, Market Lavington.

    William died in 1875 and Ann in 1900.

    I too would love to know more. I believe that William might be the son of another William, born in Great Cheverell in 1796.

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