A Little Local Mystery.

bizarre little local story of Victorian times which has concerned me for a long time now, has recently reappeared in my searchings but I am still to discover a true and full picture of the events of the time. The little I do know is very tiny indeed, thus frustrating, so I pass my evidence on in the hope that somebody out there might wish to put me out of my misery. My personal knowledge of the event commences on a day when I was searching the Redmile Parish burial records register and came across the following three entries which were dated August 19th 1853:

           Elizabeth Healy 22 years
           Sarah Healy 10 years
           Rebecca Frances Healy 14years
At the bottom of that page was annotated the disquieting footnote:
       ‘The remains of these, my children, were brought from Scalford for re-burial at Redmile.   
       (Signed) Rev. Healy’ – Aug 19th 1853.
All I have been able to discover of the matter was the recorded fact that the Reverend John Healy who was born in 1802 was employed at Scalford Parish from 1842 until1853 when his living was transferred to Redmile Parish where he would serve until 1870 when he was 68 years of age.  I have been told that there was a strong possibility that the three young girls had died very swiftly and suddenly from some form of illness and the distraught parents had been reluctant to move from Scalford without them and I can confirm that two of the girls, Elizabeth and Rebecca, did die within the same month as each other in the autumn of 1851, some two years before the family moved on.  I concede that I have not physically checked at Redmile for the presence of any physical evidence but it is likely here that the truth of the matter might still lie undiscovered, or in fact, be known and understood in local lore.

Parish Church of St Peters at Redmile, Leics. (picture by Richard A Higgins Photography.)

I was assured by some at the time of my research that such behaviour was ‘just a thing that they did in those days’, but I am not too sure.  The removal of bodies from sacred ground has always caused controversy and cannot usually be done at a whim or without official process – not a subject though that I wish to to dwell on right now.  Whilst on the subject of the Rev John Healy, a quick check through the local newspapers of the day confirm that the good reverend was kept pretty busy during his stipend in the County and worked hard right up to the end of his life. As I say, just a little mystery, but one worth bringing to notice.

I confess that I have not really made much research into this, so perhaps somebody has the story out there.

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