An old gravestone has been found in Walkhampton churchyard. It was discovered during a regular cleaning & clearing session. The stone, in memory of Robert Atwell, reads: -“Here lyeth the body of Robert Atwell gentleman of this parish who was buried the – day of March in the year of our Lord God 1636”
Sue Andrew has provided the following notes: - James Davidson visited Walkhampton on 15 August 1848 and recorded, in his Church Notes West of Devon, that the following gravestones were on the floor of the chancel:Here lyeth the body of Richard Atwell of this place, gentleman who was buried – Sept in the year of our Lord God AD 1674.Within this sacred dust doth lyeA son of Adam born to dyeMy state of life was sixty yearWhich being done you find me hereIn Christ I died, you that surviveMust dye in him to be alive-----Here lyeth the body of Robert Atwell gentleman of this parish who was buried the – day of March in the year of our Lord God 1636-----Here lyeth the body of Grace ye wife of Richard Atwell gent –who was buried ye 15 day of July AD 1657-----Here lyeth the body of Francis the sonne of Richard Atwell gent. Who was buryed the XIII day of Nov 1639-----Here lyeth the body of Matthew Atwell gent sonne of Richard Atwell gent who was buryed the 29th May 1667-----Here lyeth the body of John Cowbridge late vicar of this parish who deceased Sept the 9th AD 1642Death is my night – life was my dayMy grave my bed of restI did not falle but down I layBy sleep not death possest
So there were lots of stones that have since disappeared, presumably when the chancel was ‘embellished’ by the Lopes family in 1872. The Atwell memorial, which has recently been moved back into the church, appears to be the only survivor of these stones.