SJ9888 : Thomas Brierley's Headstone

taken 7 years ago, near to Mellor, Stockport, Great Britain

Thomas Brierley's Headstone
Thomas Brierley's Headstone
The headstone of Thomas Brierley, who died in 1855, is carved with 'cipher-writings' and ornate and masonic emblems. He had it prepared and placed over his grave before he died (more information at LinkExternal link -Wikipedia).

The headstone is actually written in five pig-pen cipher LinkExternal link variations. The text at the head of the stone says "Thomas Brierley made his ingress July 16th 1785, His Progress was ____ Years And his Egress___". The headstone was never completed after his death (possibly because no one was interested and his father survived him only one more year and was of advanced age).

The cipher at the foot of the gravestone says "Holiness of the Lord".

The Pigpen Cipher was used by Freemasons in the 18th Century to keep their records private and surprisingly the cipher on Thomas Brierley's grave seems have a non-standard symbol for the letter "S". It is possible the variation in the cipher is a clue to or a key to documents that he dealt with as the treasurer. However, at the time of its placement in the graveyard the common impression was that it was purposefully written in Hebrew to defy objections to it being placed over the grave during Thomas' lifetime.

According to some, Thomas Brierley fell to his death from the church tower, but other sources disagree so this story may be an urban legend.

LinkExternal link Thomas Brierley (Wikipedia)
The Parish Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Mellor

The Parish Church of St Thomas was built on the crest of a hill overlooking the village of Mellor. It is situated within the boundaries of an Iron Age Fort, the remains of which have only been discovered in recent years.

The course rubble tower dates from the 15th century and is built on 12th century foundations; the rest of the church was rebuilt in the early 19th century. It is a Grade II-listed building (English Heritage Building ID: 441329 LinkExternal link British Listed Buildings)

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SJ9888, 52 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 23 November, 2014   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 26 November, 2014
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement  Religious sites  People, Events  Burial ground, Crematorium 
Camera (from Tags)
Panasonic Lumix TZ60 
Date (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 9817 8890 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:23.8156N 2:1.7391W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 98170 88898
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Other Tags
Headstone  Grave  Masonic  Freemason 

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