Two of Elizabeth Gaskell’s daughters, Meta and Julia, are buried with Elizabeth and their father William Gaskell, at Brook Street Unitarian Chapel in Knutsford. Their daughter Florence is buried in London but members of the Gaskell Society were unaware of the location of the grave of Marianne their eldest daughter. However, it was known that, after the death of her husband Thurstan Holland, she had spent many years and her final days at Alfrick Court, near to the Malvern Hills.
In May 2014 Jean Alston led a group of members of the Gaskell Society on a 3 day Study Tour in the area. This included a visit to Alfrick Church where the group were able to see the written record of Marianne’s burial. However there was no evidence of the grave. Subsequent to the visit, a local resident identified Mariannes’s grave next to the porch of the church – at the time of the visit the grave had been completely obscured by valerian plants.
Now exposed, the grave is a fine one and shows well above ground level. There is wording which identifies it, however the growth of lichen makes the stylised Arts and Craft’s font very difficult to read.
The text is as follows:
To the memory of Marianne widow of E Thurstan Holland of Wimbledon and daughter of Rev. Wm and Mrs Gaskell of Manchester who died at Alfrick Court on September 17 1920 aged 86.
Thine eyes shall see the king in his heaven