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John's Grave Marker
This marked the grave of John Lock,
who was a labourer from Croydon Common.
He was married with two small children.
John was 23 when he died
of chronic hepatitis.
He was buried in St James' Churchyard
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The inscription on John's grave
is read by an actor.
"Dearest wife and mother dear,
when passing stop and drop a tear.
Think of one a sleeping here
and pray be kind to my children dear"
Burying the poor
Wooden grave markers
were called 'bedstead' markers
because they looked like bedheads.
They were cheaper than stone tombstones
but they didn't last as long.
John's marker probably survived
because it was later used
to repair woodwork in the church tower.
John died young at 23.
In the mid 19th century
a man living in Croydon
could expect to live into his thirties.
Find out more
To find out more about life in Croydon
in the 1850s, you can visit the
The Research Room is on the
lower ground floor of the Clocktower,
It is open Tuesday-Saturday