Richard Tristam's grave,

Hitchin, Hertfordshire

[Tristam's grave]

Richard Tristam, a Hitchin solicitor, was a contemporary of Henry Trigg and a member of the party who witnessed the body snatchers at work in St Mary's churchyard.

He also made plans to ensure that his mortal remains were protected from these people. He directed his executors to purchase some land for the express purpose of his interment and to make sure that he was laid to rest within the sound of running water.

After his death on the 16th November 1734, his son, also Richard, purchased four acres of land in the parish of St Ippollitts. Richard senior was duly buried within this land a short distance from the road and about 200 yards from Small Brook.

In order to ensure that this land was never alienated and his father's remains never disturbed, it was vested in trustees by an indenture of the 14th December 1768. This charged the trustees with maintaining the land for charitable purposes, distributing the profits each Christmas day amongst 16 poor people resident in the almshouses founded by John and Ralph Skynner.

When the parish was enclosed in the 19th century, half an acre was taken by the commissioners in consideration of it being freed from all tithes and expenses incurred towards the enclosure act.

In 1895 the land was sold and the proceeds invested in the names of the official trustees.

For many years a plain inscription adorned the grave:

M.S.
R.S.
ABAnno MDCCXXXIV
Requiescat in pace

Today the grave lies in a field on the east side of the Stevenage to Hitchin road between Kingshott school and the Hitchin Boundary. It is visible from the A602 unless hidden by seasonal crops.