Thursday, 12 April 2018

William Billinge

Yesterday we met family and friends at Longnor for coffee.  Afterwards we ventured to the churchyard to see the grave of William Billings.
 This was intended as a day to see the splendid scenery of the landscape, but mist and fog was the order of the day.  The gravestone is off to the right from the path to the church.
In memory of William Billinge who
was born in a cornfield, at Fawfieldhead, in
this parish, in the year 1679. At the age of
23 years he enlisted into His Majesty's Service
under Sir George Rooke, and was at the taking
of the fortress of Gibraltar, in 1794.  He after
-wards served under the Duke of Marlborough at
the ever memorable Battle of Ramillies. 
fought on the 23rd. of May 1706 where he
was wounded by a musket shot in the thigh.
He afterwards returned to his native country and
with manly courage defended his Sovereign's
rights at the Rebellion in 1715 and 1745.  He
died within the space of 150 yards of where
he was born and was interred here the 30th. of
January 1792 aged 112 years -
Billeted by death I quartered here remain,
When the trumpet sounds I'll rise and march again

The stone is not the original.  This is noted on the reverse;

This Stone
was placed here by public
subscription in 1903. And is
a facsimile of the original
Stone which was removed at
the same time being in
process of decay.

Rev. A. E. Brown, Vicar.

It is unsure if he was the oldest man in England at the time of his death, but he certainly had a memorable life.  This stone needs to be taken in context as there were no military pensions at the time and soldiers were generally stood down after battles, needing to find work in order to afford to live.

Records from Williams time are sparse, but some evidence of his life does remain.


Corners of my mind

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