Memorial Cards and Bookmarks

I was going through my collection of old Memorial Cards recently, and though this subject might make an interesting article.

For those not acquainted with the idea of the memorial card, these were specially printed cards, either sent out prior to a funeral, as an invitation, or given out on the day in remembrance of the family member who had died. The practice has been around for a long time, and is still a common practice even  today. Many of them are very touching, and usually have a short religious verse or poem on them. Some are quite colourful, and some are mournfully edged in black, but all have a story to are a few of them.

This first one is one of my Great-Grandfather Timothy Bancroft, who died on 6th May 1900, and was buried at Mount Zion Chapel, Ovenden. [note the misspelling of 'Zion'!]. Timothy and his wife Jane, ran the family farm called Nettle Hall Farm, [originally called Nettle Hole] which is where he died. This one item is what started me on my own family history research, after finding it in amongst papers and photographs left by my Grandmother, which we found after her death.
I think the verse  which went with it is quite touching:

'Farewell, dear wife and children all,
Your face I see no more;
Until we meet at God's right hand,
On Canaan's shore.'

 The next two are of husband and wife, Abraham and Martha Bancroft who died six months apart at Hebden Road, Haworth. Abraham had been a quarryman most of his life,and they had a large family of eight children. One can only guess why he died so soon after Martha....maybe he could not go on without her. The verses are however very poignant, and the heavily black edged border adds something to the meaning.

  'At times we find it had to part,
and sorrow seems to fill each heart;
But may we in thy footsteps run,
And ever say 'God's will be done.'

 'Farewell my children dear,
I've toiled for many a year;
I've struggled, had to do my best,
And now I'm gone to take my rest.

And here's another one, which is a little more simple in design, for Rebecca Bancroft the wife of Hartley Bancroft, who was a Quarryman, and later became a Quarry Owner, residing  at Spring Field Farm, Crossroads near Keighley,which is where Rebecca died.

Rebecca's card has a longer, two verse poem, with rather touching sentiments.

'We have to mourn the loss of one,
We did our best to save, 
Beloved on earth, regretted, gone,
Remembered in the grave.'

'Weep not for me, I'm free from pain,
My earthy suffering o'er,
I hope to meet you all again,
On a peaceful happy shore.'

This one has a more interesting verse, which pulls no punches, and refers to a young man called  James Bancroft, who died age 19years from Brow Top, Haworth. James was the son of Abraham and Martha, who are mentioned earlier in this article.

'No lying card shall tell of me,
The things that are not true,
For what I was and what you are,
The judgement day will show.'

Here's an unusual card, which was given out at the memorial service at Sutton Baptist Church of Joseph Greenwood Bancroft [1889-1915] who died  in WW1. As you can see, it shows the hymn to be sung at his service, and I wrote an article about him, which can be read by clicking here. 

Another one here of a Timothy Bancroft [1803-1890] who was originally a weaver and then went on to be a farmer, running a  60 acre farm called 'Cowlaughton' at Cowling and lived to the grand old age of 87 years. The verse on this one is a simple one line statement.

 'We all do fade as a leaf'


And finally, instead of giving out memorial cards, some families gave out  a linen bookmark, for future use, either with a Bible or Prayer-Book. Here are two examples of husband and wife, George & Maria Bancroft. George's just says 'At Rest' whilst Maria's has the well know verse, ofter used....' To live in hearts we leave behind, is not to die'

If you want to read more about George and Maria,I have written interesting  articles previously about both of them on this blog. The piece about George is called 'The Bancroft Brother' and Maria's article is called 'Maria's School Book of 1876'

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