Thursday, June 16, 2016

The daddy of them all

Sir John St John and I will be celebrating Father's Day at St Mary's Church, Lydiard Park. Sir John commemorated his father with a stonking great memorial commissioned in 1615 and on Sunday you will be able to see it in all its glory.

The outer panels show the illustrious St John family history, opening to reveal a family portrait of Sir John, his wife Anne Leighton, his six sisters and, kneeling on a sarcophagus, his parents Lucy and John St John.

John Snr was born in 1552 and it was he who received Queen Elizabeth, his kinswoman, at an older version of Lydiard House, and earned a knighthood for his troubles.

Elizabeth St John, a modern day kinswoman descended from the senior Bletsoe branch of the St John family, gives us a glimpse of the life and times of Lucy St John, the youngest of the pictured six sisters, in her historical novel The Lady of the Tower available online through Amazon.

On Sunday, June 19 I will be taking a walk around the churchyard, telling the stories of a few other fathers remembered there. And for me, of course, the daddy of them all is Noah Ody.

The burial registers for St Mary's survive from 1666 and the first Ody burial is that of Richard Ody buried on February 21, 1749.

Noah was the son of George Pike Ody and his wife Mary, and was baptised with his sister Ann at St Mary's on November 14, 1790.

Noah married Sarah Clark at Brinkworth parish church on November 25, 1811 and the couple went on to have twelve children. Their sons became farmers and their daughters married farmers and this large family populated most of the local farms.

On the south side of the church stands a tilted, lichen covered headstone to Noah and Sarah, although whether Noah is actually buried their remains a mystery as there is no mention of his burial in the parish registers. His mother Mary Ody and his father George Ody are buried close by.

The church will be open from 2-4.30 pm with Strawberry Teas available at the Stable Room. Come and join Sir John and I as we celebrate Father's Day on June 19.

The St John polyptych

Elizabeth St John

Mary Ody

George Ody photograph published courtesy of Duncan and Mandy Ball

Noah and Sarah Ody photograph published courtesy of Duncan and Mandy Ball 

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