2 Dec 2019
I'm having difficulties of several sorts with a family connection in the Kentish villages of Bearsted and Thurnham, and your AGRA colleague Judy Lester has suggested that I should contact you - though she warned me that you are generally very busy!
Firstly, I'd like to establish whether there is a gravestone in the churchyard of Holy Cross church, Bearsted (and possibly a memorial plaque inside the church) to the memory of Jane Alison Stewart (b 23 May 1945, d 18 Jul 1959). She died of leukaemia.
Secondly, I'd like to establish the detailed inscription on a gravestone in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, in nearby Thurnham, to the memory of John Thomas Goodwin (b 3 May 1877, d 30 Jun 19XX) and his wife Margaret Ann Atkinson (b ca 1880). There is a picture of the gravestone on FindAGrave, but it's mostly obscured by lichen and weathering. There may well also be a memorial plaque inside the church. Alison (always known by her middle name) was their grand-daughter.
I live in Manchester these days and am no longer keen to undertake lengthy journeys. I wonder if you would undertake to consult the parish registers and take photographs, though maybe you'd rather wait until better weather in the spring?
Thu 6 Feb 2020
I was finally able to get hold of the parish office at Bearsted this morning and as the weather was good I made a trip over there this afternoon. I have taken the photos of the gravestones and the Bearsted burial registers (which include Alison's mother as well as her father, all three being buried in the same grave)...
I have included photos of the churches as well; both churches are historic and beautiful country churches, the one at Thurnham almost deserted but that at Bearsted on the edge of a village on the outskirts of Maidstone and part of an active church community.
In the case of Bearsted [Holy Cross] the grave is situated close to the bottom of the main churchyard with the back of the gravestone towards the church. In the photographs the church is concealed behind the trees at the top of the churchyard.
At Thurnham [St Mary the Virgin] many of the original graves in the main churchyard have been cleared but there are a few relatively modern individual graves around the edge of which the Goodwins is one. You can see the gravestone at the back of the photographs of the church, close to the boundary wall. Unfortunately the church at Thurnham was not open when I visited and I was unable to find out where to access the registers, but the details on the gravestone are clear. To read them you may have to zoom in on the final photo of the gravestone - the one which fills the frame of the photograph.
John Thomas Goodwin was born on 3rd May 1877 and died on 30th June 1961.
His wife Margaret Ann Goodwin was born on 30th Sept 1880 and died 14th Oct 1966.