St.Mary's Church

The Bleeding Tombstone of St.Mary's Churchyard

the bleeding tombstone

St Mary's Church is the last resting place of Richard Smith who was killed on 12th April 1727, aged 20 years old. A recruiting sergeant for the army had come to Hinckley and was informing a crowd of potential new soldiers about the virtues of taking the King's shilling, when Richard started barracking him, making jokes and quips. The sergeant lost his temper and when Richard would not stop with his comments, the soldier gave the crowd a demonstration in how to use a pike in close quarter combat and killed Richard on the spot.

Upon Richards gravestone is the following inscription; 'A fatal Halbert his mortal Body slew, The murdering Hand God's vengeance will pursue From shades Terrestrial, though Justice took her flight Shall not the judge of all the Earth do right Each Age and Sex his Innocence bemoans And with sad sighs laments his dying Groans'.

According to tradition the gravestone is said to 'sweat blood' on the anniversary of Richards murder. A suggestion was made by F Bedford who researched the church and authored a guide in 1936. The gravestone used to be positioned under a block of red sandstone at the Chancel's East window and it was thought that the 'blood' being sweated was actually a due to some sort of chemical action on water dripping from this block.

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