18 July 2013

John Horsefield in Prestwich: Artisan Naturalists #1

In St Mary's churchyard, Prestwich stands the table tomb of the handloom weaver and amateur botanist (or artisan naturalist) John Horsefield, after whom the daffodil Narcissus Horsfieldii is named.

 'In Memory of
who died March 6th, 1854, in the
69th Year of his age.'

'Ye, who behold God's works in Nature's ways,
And find in Flowers mute anthems to His praise:
Who read the volume of eternal love,
In seeds of earth as in the stars above:
Here read a name whose fame shall long endure,
One of poor birth, but Gifted although poor:
God – unlike man – the humblest spirit lifts.
Nor asks his wealth before He sends His gifts!
Where'er Botanic science could be learn'd.
New links disclosed – new species yet discern'd
Where'er by wood or lane, or heath or hill.
God oped the book that taught Botanic skill.
There HORSEFIELD's foot from dawn to eve was seen
To learn – to teach – to be what he has been.
An honour to the soil that gave him birth:
A mind of truth – a heart instinct with worth:
Oh, may that spirit, for whose loss we grieve,
Our GOD accept – our Saviour, LORD, receive.'

The verse is by the poet Charles Swain (1801–1874), and the grave has been given Grade II listed status.

Included at the top of the gravestone is an engraved representation of Tigridia conchiflora, a lily first hybridised by Waterfield.
James Percival in Prestwich: Artisan Naturalists #2
Richard Buxton in Prestwich: Artisan Naturalists #3

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