Dedication of new gravestone for former Fincham rector

Dedication of a new gravestone for William Blythe, who was the rector for 40 years at St Martin's Church Fincham.'Some of the family members with the new gravestone and 2 other Blythe family gravestones in the church yard. ANL-151229-183322009
Dedication of a new gravestone for William Blythe, who was the rector for 40 years at St Martin's Church Fincham.'Some of the family members with the new gravestone and 2 other Blythe family gravestones in the church yard. ANL-151229-183322009

A new headstone has been dedicated to a former Fincham rector who was an influential figure in the village during Victorian times.

William Blyth served St Martin’s Church between 1846 and 1886 and for years the whereabouts of his grave have been unknown.

A chance meeting with a family member produced a drawing in a diary, from the early 20th century, of where the grave was.

It had deteriorated so much that the inscription was unreadable.

The family then had a new stone made exactly the same as the original and this was rededicated alongside the graves of two of his ten children.

At the dedication it was mentioned that one daughter, Ellen, died during the diphtheria epidemic in Fincham in 1863.

Stuart Waterstone, a member of the parochial church council at Fincham, explained: “We couldn’t find William Blyth’s grave.

“We knew there were graves for two of his children but we wasn’t sure where William’s grave was until a chance meeting with one of the descendants.”

The national school Mr Blyth had built in 1848 is now a private house and there is a magnificent stained glass window in memory of him in the chancel of St Martin’s.

Steven Blyth – one of the descendants – kindly donated £5,000 to the church which will be put towards repair work.