Silent Stones

There is not very much sadness at the Residency churchyard nowadays. It has become a refuge for  couples, stealing precious moments away from prying eyes, young love among the old dead. Giggles and whispered conversations, half hidden behind the stones, they sit and imagine their futures among those whose futures were cut short.
Sir Henry Lawrence and countless others slumber on this patch of land, which to this day, is probably the most complete memorial to 1857 still existing in India. Everyone who is buried here was attached in some way to the Lucknow Residency, this resting place is exclusively theirs. Their fates intertwined, in life as in death.
There are no signposts here, only tombstones. Some of the memorials have withstood time well, others have fallen prey to vandalism and neglect is starting to show it’s ugly face. The grass is cut and most of the bushes trimmed giving an overall neat appearance, but too many stones are now illegible or scribbled upon – a few have disappeared altogether.

Remains of the headstone for the Hale family

The grave of Mrs. Hale and her daughters stands close to the entrance of the churchyard. The monument is broken, their names lost. Mrs. Hale died of cholera, after only 3 hours of illness. Her daughter, Kate, was given over to the care of Major and  Mrs. Marriot, but she died “just before Havelock entered Lucknow.” (Bartrum, pp 25-26). The original inscription read:

“Sacred to the memory of Frances Ellen Hale, the beloved wife of George Herbert Hale, Lieutenant-Adjutant, 2nd Oude Light Infantry, who died in Lucknow Garrison on the morning of the Battle of Chinhut, 1857, aged 20 years. Sacred also to the memory of Kate Caroline Sophia, eldest child of the above, who died in Lucknow Garrison on the 23rd of September 1857. Sacred also to the memory of Henrietta Georgiana Frances, her infant child, who died at Secrora, Oude, on the 18th of April, 1857. The Lord is good, a stronghold in day of trouble and he knoweth them that trust in him. Nahum C.VII.V.I .”

Mrs. Thomas died of smallpox during the siege

“Sacred to the memory of Cordelia Ellen, the beloved wife of Captain Lancelot F.C. Thomas, Madras Artillery, who died during the siege of Lucknow, 16th July 1857, aged 22 years. Those that seek Me early, shall find Me.”  

Mr. T.W. Ereth was shot in the neck while reinforcing the guards at Innes Post on the 20th of July, 1857. A railway contractor by profession, he served as a corporal of the volunteers during the siege. Rees visited him in hospital and describes the scene:
“Poor Erith was lying still sensible, but unable to move, on a bed clotted with his blood. His wife was bending over him, weeping bitterly. She had been told that no hope remained. As I approached the poor fellow’s bedside he opened his eyes, looked at me, and calling me by name, asked if all was right at his garrison (Innes’s  outpost). Poor Mrs Erith, was so soon to be a widow, had only been married three months, and seemed devoted to her husband. Though I had become accustomed enough to these sights, I could not help being moved by the image of despair which she presented. Poor Erith! He died tranquilly during the night, and without pain.”
(Rees, pp 163-164).
His wife survived the siege.

A lost tombstone is that of Lieutenant James Fullerton and of his 9 month old son, Elphinstone. Very little remains but the chilling words: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Erected by his widow and mother.” Originally, the inscription had been much longer, and should have read thus:

” In memory of James Fullerton, born in Argyleshire, August 30th 1833, died in the Residency at Lucknow during the defence, September 15th, 1857, and of his child Elphinstone Fullerton, born November 28th, 1856, died August 7th, 1857. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Erected by his widow and mother. Titus, II, 13.”

Remains of the Fullerton headstone

It was one of the siege’s strangest deaths – James Fullerton walked out of an upper storey hospital window –  whether in sleep or delirium could not be ascertained. He was taken back to his bed, but he never spoke again and died shortly after. He was only 27 years old. Elphinstone had died of disease a month before his father. Like so many others, Mrs. Fullerton was left to grieve alone. In life, James Fullerton had been the son of Lord Fullerton, senator of the College of Justice in Scotland and he had been the Assistant Commissioner at Dariabad.

This is by no means intended to be macabre, almost voyeuristic account of horrible, tragic deaths. It is however, intended to convey some understanding for the people buried here. Although their deaths occurred so long ago and we only vaguely brush past their stones as we walk past their resting places, I cannot help but feel anger when I see the terrible disrespect paid to those graves. It is difficult for me to understand the pleasure which has apparently been derived in some of the vandalism that has occurred at the Residency churchyard – with this writing I am hoping to save, at least in this humble way, some of those whose stones are now lost. Worst of all, no repairs are being undertaken and I fear, as time passes, all that shall remain are unidentifiable piles of rubble.  Of the 39 memorials belonging to those who died during the siege, 37 are still visible, 2 have been completely destroyed. On 10 graves the plaques are missing. We cannot erase or change history by removing the physical evidence of its passing – the graves at the Lucknow Residency are as much victims of  these modern times as the people during the siege were victims of theirs – somewhere, there has to be an understanding reached that these graves represent, first and foremost people, loved ones who were cherished in life and grieved over in death. 

Their stories, no matter how small, have a right to be told and to be remembered like that of Thomas John Clancey.

Rubbed clean by time, words lost for eternity

The inscription originally read:

Near this spot are interred the remains of  Thomas John Clancey of the Chief Commissioner’s office Lucknow, who was killed during the siege of Lucknow of the 1st of July 1857, aged 28 years and 5 months.
“I shall go to him, but he shall never return to me.”
This tomb has been erected by his beloved wife, Elizabeth Clancey, and subsequently renewed by his sons John, Charles and Dominic James.  
“Requiescat in pace.

The Dashwoods and the Ouseleys were to face loss beyond measure during the siege,  as if their collective luck had run out. 
At the beginning of the siege, on the 1st of July, Miss Susannah Palmer was mortally injured by round shot in the Residency building – she was the 19 year old and the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer of the 48th Regt., N.I. She died following amputation of her leg, on the 3rd. She was the sister of 9 year old Charles Palmer, one of the smaller Martiniere boys, and of Elizabeth Anne Ouseley, the wife of Lieutenant Ralph Ouseley, Quartermaster, 48th Regt. N.I.  The Ousleys had two young sons, Ralph and Gore.
The family tragedy continued. Ralph and Gore soon fell ill and died within ten minutes of each other on the same day. Their poor mother never recovered from the shock – Anne Elizabeth contracted dysentery and died of complete exhaustion on the 14th of November.  
Unfortunately,  although the Ouseley plaque is still intact, the plinth upon which it lays has been severely damaged. There is no marked grave for Susannah.

The Dashwood family was equally unlucky. Lieutenant Alexander John Dashwood, 48th Regt.B.N.I. was injured early on in the siege – while recovering from his wound, he contracted cholera on the 9th of July and died less than 12 hours after the first symptoms appeared. It was a sad blow to his young wife, now alone with 2 small children to look after and one more on the way. Hers was not a happy fate. On the 19th of August, her son, Herbert John Garrett, “died at half past three this morning…One could not grieve; he looked so sweet and happy, the painful look of suffering quite gone..”(Harris, p.57).  In the face of such tragedy, some luck smiled on Mrs. Dashwood – her third son was born on the 31st of August and she left the Residency with two of her children. However, her husband’s brother was not so fortunate.

Ensign Charles Keith Dashwood, the brother of Alexander, was 19 years old when the siege began. He was “such a nice boy, a great favourite with every one, and such a tall handsome fellow (Harris, p.84). He fought in the defence in the Residency and miraculously escaped injury during battle. Off the field, he was not so lucky. A day after his brother’s death. Charles accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun – the wound was not fatal and he was back in the defences soon after. On the 4th of November, however, while making sketches of the Residency grounds, Charles was struck by round shot and lost both his legs. He died after the evacuation of the Residency, at the Dilkusha Park, on the 22nd of November.

One of the missing graves in the cemetery is that of Alexander Dashwood and his young son. During my visit in January 2011, I only found a partial plaque leaning against the broken memorial to the Ouseley family.

The partial plaque of Alexander Dashwood, leaning on the damaged grave of Mrs. Ouseley and her sons. The other graves are those of Georgiana Boileau and Mary Strangeways, both young children.

Originally, the inscription on the Dashwood memorial read: In Memory of Alexander John Dashwood, Lieutenant, 48th Regiment, Bengal Native Infanty, who died at Lucknow, July 9th 1857, aged 27 years. Also of his second son,  Herbert John Garrett, who died a Lucknow, August 19th 1857, aged one year.

The grave of Charles Dashwood in the Dilkusha Park

Time has wiped the words away – the plaque originally read:

“In Memory of Henry Stedman Polehampton, Chaplain of this station, born February 1st, 1824, died July 20th, 1857.  Also of Henry Allnutt, his only child born December 30th 1856, died January 3rd, 1857.  Enter thou into the joy of  thy Lord. Matthew, xxv, 21.”
The Reverend Polehampton left behind an unfinished journal, published by his brothers and called “Letters and Diary of the Rev.Henry S. Polehampton, M.A.” The book documents his childhood and schooling, his marriage to Emily Allnatt and their subsequent journey to India. The journey and his life in India are published in a series of letters written to family at home, personal and poignant. If one can look past some of the more laborious sermons published in the book and the ponderous preaching (he was after all, a man of the cloth, so it can be excused!) we get an small insight into the life the Polehampton’s lead before the siege. The description of their son’s death shortly after his birth would leave the most hard-hearted in tears. The diary covers the siege from until the 18th of July, 2 days before his death. Mrs. Polehampton’s recollections on the siege are included, as letters to her brother-in-law Edward in which she describes her “most precious hour” of the day: 

“…and that I spent at my darling Henry’s grave. I often wonder how I escaped as I did on these occasions, for the bullets were constantly flying thickly, close over my head as I was sitting at the grave, and several times shells burst within a few yards of me there. It seemed so strange that I should be the one to escape.”

“Sacred to the Memory of John Bensley Thornhill,  Bengal Civil Service,  born May 7th 1832,  died from wounds received during the siege of Lucknow, October 12th 1857. Also of Mary Charlotte Bensley Thornhill, infant daughter of John Bensley and Mary Thornhill, died September 1st, 1857, aged 6 days.
The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Aldourie Patrick Grant, 71st N.I. was not killed at the Lucknow Residency. He was an early victim of the uprising, killed by his own men on the 30th of May at the Muriaon cantonment, while on duty.

The grave of Patrick Grant, partially damaged.

Unusually, William Marshall is buried together with his mother-in-law, Mrs. Anna Sanson.  Both of them died during the siege, William in July and Anna in October. William was not a military man – he was an opium contractor and had been a long term resident of Cawnpore, nor was he young – in Rees he is described as “an old man of 60.”  Only a year earlier had he received the government contract for the sale of opium – his fortunes, it would seem, were looking up. Unfortunately for William Marshall, while defending Sago’s Garrison, he was shot through the face, the ball passed through his right eye and came out of his mouth. He died in great agony on the 13th of July.

The inscription on the grave reads:

Sacred to the memory of William Marshall, who died 13th July 1857, of a wound received while defending Sago’s Garrison. Also of mother-in-law, Anna Sanson, who died within the Residency entrenchment on the 24th October 1857. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord. This monument is erected by his disconsolate widow and daughter. 

Note: In order to provide the original transcriptions of the damaged graves, I have turned to “List of Inscriptions on Christian Tombs and Tablets of Historical Interest in the United Provinces of Agra and Oude” by E.A.H. Blunt, I.C.S., published 1911.