(April 2022) Until now we have been working on the basis of 33 surviving Belvoir Angel headstones in Hickling. We now know that there are 34. With the help of Ann Schmidt, her database and the English Heritage listings the headstone for Anne Hopkinson who ‘died in her first year’ has been found again and added to the Hickling list.
“To Anne daughter of John Hopk[…] by Mary his wife d. 1707 in her first year she was a twin Do not for me in tears remain I sleep but till Christ come again”
- Parish Registers record her baptism in Hickling on 6th March 1707 on the same day as her twin, Richard. Her parents are recorded as John and Mary Hopkinson.
- Parish Registers record her burial on 7th October 1707.
- This headstone isn’t recorded in the Heathcote book and we hadn’t identified it (until now) in our ongoing graveyard census project.
- However, the headstone is listed in Ann Schmidt’s database and it is grade II listed in the English Heritage database (ref. 1235667 1989) where the stone is described as, “Tiny, rectangular (broken).”
- It had been photographed in 2015 by Alan Murray-Rust and also by Ann Schmidt.
Very unusually, the Belvoir Angel forms the middle section of the headstone.
Anne Hopkinson’s headstone is very unusual; it is tiny (about 12″ high) and the slate is much thinner than any other examples in the churchyard. Although damaged it is complete, it isn’t a fragment – in other words this was its intended size. It is also unique (for Hickling) in that the Belvoir Angel forms the middle section of the headstone and, unlike some, the Angel’s expression seems quite benevolent. The detail is very simple but still there is specific mention of her being a twin.
The headstone faces west instead of east and it is tucked in behind another slightly later (and much larger) Hopkinson grave with two further Hopkinson headstones next to them (their family relationships are explored, below) – these two graves are now rather overgrown with ivy.
It is said that mothers often planted primroses, lily of the valley and violets on the graves of their children who had died young and that this is why these pretty wildflowers have colonised so many graveyards. Anne Hopkinson’s grave is surrounded by both primroses and lily of the valley with violets nearby.
Anne Hopkinson’s grave is one of four Hopkinson graves clustered together between the cherry tree and the yew tree close to the south edge of the graveyard and in a line from the south porch. Her grave is tucked behind the headstone for Joseph and Abigail Hopkinson; Joseph was Anne’s brother born four years after her death. All of those buried in this cluster were closely related and seem to be of yeoman class.
- “To Anne daughter of John Hopk[…] by Mary his wife d. 1707 in her first year she was a twin Do not for me in tears remain I sleep but till Christ come again”
- Anne’s twin brother, Richard, was baptised on the same day as Anne. He died in 1712 age 5; the Parish Registers don’t record a cause of death. He doesn’t appear on any of the surviving gravestones.
- “Here lieth interr’d the bodies of Joseph Hopkinson and Abigail his wife; he died October the 17th 1784 aged 72years. She died November the 8th 1786 aged 69years a tender husband and his virtuous wife free from the troubles of this mortal life Lies sleeping here in this cold bed of clay rest […]
- “Here lieth the bodyes of John Hopkinson and John his son both interred in one grave on ye 24th of April Anno Dom 1728, the father aged LII years the son aged 28 […] Staveley Melton Mowbray Sculpist”
- John snr is Anne’s father and John jnr is her brother and he would have been age 7 when she died.
- John snr and John jnr are buried on the same day and they share a headstone; there is nothing in the Parish Registers to indicate infectious disease in the village at the time and a cluster of deaths. Neither the Parish Registers nor the headstone explain why the two men died so close together but it is odd – perhaps an accident? – see generation 3, below.
- “to the memory of Joseph the son of Joseph and Abigail Hopkinson. He died December the 18th 1767 aged 10years. Let friends forbear to mourn and weep While sweetly in the dust I sleep this toilsome world I’ve left behind a crown of glory […]
The third grave is Anne’s father and her brother; however, there is no trace of her mother’s headstone in Hickling – there is a possible burial record in the Parish registers for Mary Hopkinson, widow, 21st May 1765. The Parish registers record a large number of Hopkinson family burials during this period of time but these are the only headstones to have survived.
Generation 1: Robert Hopkinson b. 1622
Married 28th November 1640 at Southwell to Millicent Daft (b. 1620 d. 8th April 1672) – daughter of George (shoemaker) & Sarah.
- Robert Hopkinson buried 30th March 1663 at Hickling
- Robert b. 1642, burial 27th July 1710
- John b. 1644, his burial is recorded as; John snr 22nd Sept 1712 – see generation 2
Generation 2: John Hopkinson 1644
Married 19th June 1669 at Hickling to Ann Butler
- Buried 22nd September 1712 Hickling – John snr
- Ann bap 1st May 1670 Hickling married 13th Nov 1692 Hickling to George Marriott
- John bap 1673 died 1675 (infant death)
- John bap 9th April 1676 Hickling died 1728
Generation 3: John Hopkinson bap 9 April 1676 at Hickling
Married 13th January 1699 Hickling to Mary Robinson
- John Hopkinson buried 24th April 1728, Hickling
- John bap 10th Nov 1700 Hickling buried 24th April 1728 (same day as his father) – no marriage record found.
- Mary bap 31st May 1702 Hickling buried 27th August 1713
- Anne bap 6th March 1707 Hickling buried 7th October 1707 (infant death)
- Richard bap 6th March 1707 Hickling died 1712 (Anne and Richard were twins and both died young; there is no trace of a headstone for Richard although his burial is recorded in Parish registers on 20th May 1712.
- Joseph bap 10th Feb 1711 Hickling died 1784 (see generation 4)
- Richard bap 3rd June 1715 Hickling
- Thomas bap 20th July 1718 Hickling buried 6th June 1722
John snr and John jnr are buried on the same day and they share a headstone; there is nothing in the Parish Registers to indicate infectious disease in the village at the time and a cluster of deaths. Neither the Parish Registers nor the headstone explain why the two men died so close together but it is odd – perhaps an accident?
However, John snr made a Will dated December 1727 which could indicate that he was ill at the time; his son, John, was named as an executor:
- John Hopkinson is described as a yeoman and made his will in December 1727, making his wife, Mary and his son, John executors. He left a house and over two oxgangs of land and his goods, farm stock and chattels which were valued at £130 13s 10d. The house and one and half oxgangs were left to John but with no further instructions this would have gone to Mary as surviving residuary legatee and it is not known what happened to this land. Joseph was left half an oxgang.
- John signed the Will and Mary, the only surviving executor, signed the administration bond.
Generation 4: Joseph Hopkinson – bap. 10th February 1711 Hickling
Married Abigail Langham by licence (dated 7th June 1745 and for a marriage at Ab Kettleby, although the marriage is not recorded in the registers there)
- When Joseph’s father died (1728, generation 3, above), Joseph was left half an oxgang in his father’s Will.
- Joseph Hopkinson died 17th October 1784; buried 18th October 1784 Hickling; the Parish registers note that he was a yeoman.
- Abigail Langham was baptised on 24th January 1717 at Asfordby, Leics. She was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Gamble) Langham.
- Abigail (Langham) Hopkinson died on 8th November 1786 aged 69years, two years after her husband’s death. She was buried with her husband in Hickling Churchyard.
- John bap 6 Jan1749 Hickling buried 11 Feb 1833 Hickling
- Elizabeth bap 30 March 1752
- Mary bap 15 March 1754 Hickling – married 8th Feb 1774 Hickling to Samuel Morley
- Children: Joseph Morley 1775; Abigail Morley 1776; Mary Morley 1779; Thomas Morley 1784 & William Morley 1788
- Abigail bap 30 May 1755
- Joseph bap 26 June 1757 Hickling buried 18 December 1767 age 10 (see headstone 4, above).
- William bap 8 Feb 1761 Hickling died 1808
Parish Registers in the early 1800s record that several members of the family were living in Loughborough but buried in Hickling.