Tomb Restoration 3

With the Blamy tombs finished we moved onto the tomb of Catherine Daw or should I say what was left of the tomb.  It had been totally destroyed by three large ash trees and it was guessed that this tomb had once been a table top tomb but with only the slate and a pile of bricks it was difficult to say exactly.

The tomb contained Catherine Daw 31st March 1829 wife of John Daw of Veryan and sister Elizabeth Martyn 27th November 1850 widow of John Martyn of Lower St Columb.  Both sisters were married in Colon and their surname was Williams.  It looks like Elizabeth came to stay in Veryan with her sister Catherine after the death of her husband in 1798.  I have not been able to find the death of Catherine’s husband John in Veryan or Ruan.  The only connection they have to Ruan is that Elizabeth was the mother of William Martyn who was farming at Gonitor.

Tracking a relative for this tomb was easy as I had already used the Martyn line for the Blamy tombs.

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A few years ago the trees were cut down to ground height and left to rot, so we hoped that the removal of the remaining wood would be easy.

Our first job was to carefully lift the slate off the pile of bricks and this took three people as the slate was so heavy and it was then laid on the ground clear of the grave.  We then sorted the bricks into whole, half, quarter and bits, with each category in piles.  Next we had to clean off the old lime mortar without damaging the bricks ready for reuse.  Having cleared the grave of bricks and vegetation we then started to look at how much damage the trees had done to the foundations, luckily we only needed to go down two courses on one side.  Removing the remainder of the tree stump, to allow us to rebuild the side proved very hard.  The stump had rotted at the top but not at the bottom.  Carefully using the chainsaw and axe we gradually chopped it away.  While doing this we found that the stump actually had grown around a number of bricks and stones.  Two chainsaw blades and a re-sharpened axe later it was gone.  The soil, roots and sawdust was cleaned off the in situ base bricks ready to be built on.  The first part course was lime mortared in place and allowed to set.  As there was no indication as to whether there had been a connecting inner wall just like the Blamy tombs, we decided to put one in to help strengthen the sides.  The next part course was laid to bring the total base up to ground level and the building of the next three layers began.  We finished laying the final three layers of bricks with lime mortar and when these had set, filled the void to just below the top brick.  The next bit of relaying the slate headstone was going to be tricky as it was so heavy (I couldn’t even lift one end), so we got three strong men to help.  A layer of mortar was put on the top bricks and then the men carefully lowered the slate into position, with this now bedded in, the final job was to point in the bricks.

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With this finished we moved onto the railed tomb and grave of the Peter family.