Blink and you may miss it....
But tucked away innocuously in the south choir aisle is one of our most fascinating monuments which is dedicated to Susanna Barford (1642-1652), a monument for a child which is unusual to find in the Cathedral.
Here is her story...
Jonathan Barford, who was born in Leicestershire in 1613, became an apprentice of Adam Allsopp, a vintner in London on 7 October 1629, served his time and then became a vintner himself. He was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Vintners in 1636.
Soon after that, he met and married Alice Horne and they settled in Southwark, where they lived in "Boroughside - Street side from St Olave's", according to entries from 1638 in the Token Books of St Saviour's.
Their first child, Mary, was born early in 1639, followed by Frances in late 1640 and Jonathan in the summer of 1641. But in the autumn of that year the Plague visited Southwark and those three children all died.
Meanwhile, Alice was expecting her fourth child, another daughter, Susanna, who was born in May 1642. The next to be born was Alice, in August 1643, but she only lived for a few days. A sixth child, another daughter, also named Mary, was born in September 1644, and a seventh, named Elizabeth, was born in February 1648 but died less than a year later.
Their final child was stillborn in January 1650. All these children were baptised in St Saviour's church (now Southwark Cathedral) and those who had died were also buried there.
By 1650, in all Jonathan and Alice only had two daughters alive. Then, two years later, tragedy struck yet again, and Susanna died on 20th August 1652, at the age of ten years and thirteen weeks. Such was their grief that Jonathan and Alice had the memorial plaque, which we now see in the south choir aisle, erected in her memory.
Its words truly tell how grief-stricken they were at the death of yet another of their precious children.
Inscription on Susanna's Memorial
SVSANNA BARFORD DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE 20TH OF
AVGVST 1652 AGED 10 YEARS 13 WEEKES THE NON-.
SVCH OF THE WORLD FOR PIETY AND VERTVE
IN SOE TENDER YEARES
AND DEATH AND ENVY BOTH MVST SAY TWAS FITT
HER MEMORY SHOVLD THVS IN BRASSE BEE WRIT
HERE LYES INTERR’D WITHIN THIS BED OF DVST
A VIRGIN PVRE NOT STAIN’D BY CARNALL LVST
SVCH GRACE THE KING OF KINGS BESTOW’D VPON HER
THAT NOW SHE LIVES WITH HIM A MAID OF HONOVR
HER STAGE WAS SHORT HER THREAD WAS QVICKLY SPVNN
DRAWNE OVT, AND CVT, GOT HEAVEN HER WORKE WAS DONE
THIS WORLD TO HER WAS BVT A TRAGED PLAY
SHEE CAME AND SAW’T DISLIK’T AND PASS’D AWAY.