“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Williamsburg in James City County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Tombstones

The Tombstones Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. Makali Bruton, October 23, 2016
1. The Tombstones Marker
The marker is made up of two panels

Since there is little natural stone in tidewater Virginia, tombstones were rare in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Almost all had to be imported, usually from England. Many of the people buried here after the 1680s were wealthy and their families could have afforded tombstones. Nineteenth-century reports indicate that many did and the graveyard contained many tombstones. Sadly most of these have been lost, stolen or destroyed by the ravages of time. Only twenty-five remain. Some of these are not really tombstones, but merely grave markers erected in 1901 when the A.P.V.A. conducted excavations here and found the graves.

The remaining tombstones and grave markers are indicated below. The epitaphs are reconstructed either from the original or from nineteenth-century reports. They are keyed to the small map.

1. John Ambler (1735-1766)
“John Ambler, Esquire, Barrister at Law
Representative in the Assembly for Jamestown and Collector of the District of York River in this Province. He was born the 31st of December 1735, and died at Barbadoes 27th of
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May, 1766.
In the relative and social duties – as a son, and a brother and a friend – few equalled him, and none excelled him. He was early distinguished by his love of letters, which he improved at Cambridge and in the Temple, and well knew how to adorn a manly sense with all the elegance of language. To an extensive knowledge of man and things he joined the noblest sentiments of liberty, and in his own example held up to the world the most striking picture of the amiableness of religion.”

2. Unknown person

3. William Sherwood (? – 1697)

“Here lyeth William Sherwood that was born in the parish of White Chapel near London. A great sinner waiting for a joyful Resurrection.”

4. Mrs. Mary Knight (1674-1733)
“Here lyeth the body of Mary the wife of John Knight who departed this life Febr[uary] 11th, 1732-3 in the 59th Year of her age. Waiting for a joyful resurrection.”

5. Unknown person

6. Unknown person

7. The Reverend James Blair (1656-1743)

“H.S.E. [Hic sepultus est] vir Reverendus et honorabilis JACOBUS BLAIR, A.M. In Scotia natus, in academia Edinburgensi nutritus. Primo Angliam deinde Virginiam venit; in qua parte terrarium annos LVIII Evangelii Preconis, e Britanni[a] Principum Conciliarii, Concilii Presidis, Coloniae Prefecti munera sustinuit.
The Tombstones Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. Makali Bruton, October 23, 2016
2. The Tombstones Marker
Ornavit eum oris enusti decus; [Accepit orn]ate, hilari, sine luxu, hospitali modo; Munificent issimo egenis [dedit] largo omnibus; Comi [animo] superavit. Collegio bene diversam bibliothecam fundaverat; Moriens bibliothecam suam ad alendum theologiae studiosum [et] juventutem pauperiorem instituendam testamento legavit. Ante Cal. Maii in die [XIV decessit], MDCCXLIII aetate LXXXVIII. Eximiam desideratissimi senis laudem eius nepotibus commendabunt opera marmore perenniora.”

Translation: “Here lies buried the reverend and honorable James Blair, A.M. Born in Scotland, educated in the University of Edinburgh, he came first to England then to Virginia in which part of the world he filled the offices for 58 years of preacher of the gospel, for 54 years of Commissary, of president of William and Mary, of a Councillor to the British governors, of President of the Council and of Governor of the colony. The comeliness of a handsome face adorned him. He entertained elegantly in a cheerful, hospitable manner, without luxury. Most magnificently he bestowed charity upon all needy persons. In affability he excelled. He had a well varied library founded for the College. Dying, he bequeathed his own library by will for the purpose of informing students in Theology and instructing the poorer youth. He departed this life the 14h day before the calends of May [April 18th], 1743
The Tombstones Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. Makali Bruton, October 23, 2016
3. The Tombstones Marker
The two-paneled marker is to the left, closer to the church's southern wall. To the right is "The Tombs of James and Sarah Blair" marker. The Jamestown graveyard and tombstones can be seen in the background.
at the age of 88. Works more lasting than marble will commend to his nephews the surpassing praise of a well beloved old man.”

8. Mrs. Sarah Blair (1670-1713)
“Memoria Sacrum [In sacred memory] Here lies in the hope of a blessed resurrection the body of Mrs. Sarah Blair, wife of Mr. James Blair, Commissary of Virginia, sometime minister of this parish. She was daughter of Benjamin and Mrs. Hannah Harrison of Surry. Born August the 14th 1670, married June the 2nd, 1687. Died May the 5th, 1713, exceedingly beloved and lamented.”
Here follows a long Latin manuscript [now lost] attesting to her virtues.

9. Unknown person

10. ________ Edwards (Found in 1901)

11. ________ Edwards (Found in 1901)

12. Unknown person (Found in 1901)

13. Benjamin Harrison I (? – 1645-1649)

There are three bodies in this grave.

14. Unknown person (Found in 1901)

15. Mrs. Hannah Ludwell (1678-1731)

“Under this stone lies interred the body of Mrs. Hannah Ludwell, Relict of the Honorable Phillip Ludwell, Esq., by whom she has left one son and two daughters. After the most exemplary life spent in cheerful innocence and the continual exercise of piety, charity and hospitality, she patiently submitted to death on the 4th day of April, 1731 in the 52nd year of her age.”

A Knight's Tomb (#23 described on the marker). image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. Makali Bruton, October 23, 2016
4. A Knight's Tomb (#23 described on the marker).
This tomb is just inside the rebuilt church from the south. Its nearby marker reads:

This grave stone, until they were stolen or removed and thus lost, carried “monumental brasses” (a helmeted knight in armor with inscription plate below, a shield and scroll, and a border). These brasses inserts were attached to the stone as the depression show in outline. It is believed to mark the grave of Sir George Yeardley, long time resident and leader at Jamestown (from 1609) and several times governor of the Virginia Colony. Knighted by James I in 1618, the next year, as Governor, he called the first representative legislative assembly to meet in the New World. It convened in the church that stood on this very spot. He died at Jamestown on November 12, 1627. This tomb with inlaid brasses is unique for an American colonial site.
William Lee (1739-1795) and William Ludwell Lee (1775-1803)

“In memory of Honorable William Lee son of Col. Thomas Lee and Hannah Ludwell his wife. He was born at Stratford Hall, Westmoreland County, Virginia, August 31st, 1739 and died at Greenspring, James City County, Virginia, June 27th, 1795.
He was the only American ever elected an Alderman of London where he also served as sheriff. He sacrificed these honors and a large mercantile business to follow the fortunes of his native country in the struggle for independence.
William Ludwell Lee son of William Lee and Hannah Phillippa Ludwell his wife. He was born at London, January 23rd, 1775 and died at Greenspring, January 24th, 1803.
A.D. 1936”

17. Phillip Ludwell (1672-1726)
“Here lies interred the body of Phillip Ludwell who died the 11th of January 1726 in the 54th year of his age, sometime auditor of his Majesties revenue and twenty-five years a member of the Council.”

18. Mrs. Ursula Beverly (1681-1698)
“Here lieth interred the body of Ursula Beverly, late wife of Robert Beverly, and daughter of the very honorable William Byrd, who departed this life the 11th day of October, 1698, being much lamented by all that knew her, aged 16 years 11 months and 2 dayes.”

19. Unknown person

20. Unknown person

The reconstructed Jamestown Church image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. Makali Bruton, October 23, 2016
5. The reconstructed Jamestown Church
The markers, tombstones and graveyard are to the right and behind the church and trees seen here.
Unknown person

22. “In memory of Elizabeth Harrison Edwards wife of William Edwards and Ann Mansfield Edwards wife of William Edwards. The original inscriptions on their tombs in this churchyard have been obliterated by the ravages of time.”

23. Knight’s tomb. Possibly Sir George Yeardley (1587-1627).

24. John Clough (? – 1684)

“Here lyeth interred the body of the Rev. John Clough, late minister of this place, who departed this life January 15, 1683-4 and waits in hopes of a joyful resurrection.”

25. Elizabeth Drummond (? – 1699)
“Here lyeth the body of Eliz. Drummond who departed this life the 2nd day of June Anno Domini 1699 Aetatis (Suae) 28.” Two lines, now undecipherable, follow.
This tombstone was moved here from Greenspring in 1905. While her age is given as 58 on the tombstone, that part of the engraving is from a date later than the original. An 1891 transcription gave her age as 28.

26. Lady Frances Culpeper Stephens Berkeley Ludwell (1634-1690)
Fragment of the tombstone of Lady Frances Berkeley, wife of Governor Sir William Berkeley. The tombstone has been moved several times.

In addition to these people, several others are known to have been buried here. Both their grave locations and their tombstones have been lost.

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1. Edward Ambler (1732-1767)
2. Mary Cary Ambler (? – 1781), wife of Edward Ambler
3. Jacquelin Ambler (1742-1797)
4. Edward Jacquelin (1742-1797)
5. Phillip Ludwell of Greenspring
6. Sarah Grymes Ludwell, wife of Phillip Ludwell
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionColonial EraSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is January 23, 1775.
Location. 37° 12.508′ N, 76° 46.696′ W. Marker is near Williamsburg, Virginia, in James City County. Marker can be reached from Colonial Parkway. The marker is at the Jamestown National Historic Site, just south of the Jamestown Church. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jamestown VA 23081, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Tombs of James and Sarah Blair (here, next to this marker); Church Tower (a few steps from this marker); The First General Assembly of Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); Jamestown (within shouting distance of this marker); Jamestown’s Churches (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Extension, Blockhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); 1608 Church (within shouting distance of this marker); The Barracks (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamsburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 1, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 30, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana. This page has been viewed 647 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 30, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana.   5. submitted on December 1, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana.

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Mar. 2, 2024