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Robert Mason is my 2x Great Grandfather. He died in 1890 from Phthisis, or T.B. I am descended through one of his daughters whom when she died left with her things a note which is assumed to be her fathers either, last words or more likely, headstone text.

I have emailed Holy Cross Binstead a while ago. But never received a reply. I'll try again after this post.

Here is a transcription of the two sided note and two accompanying scans below:

"In loving memory of my dearest father, Robert Mason. Who departed this life 30th July 1890, age 32.

Fare well dear wife and children. God would not let me linger here. In dreadful pain this world to roam, so join me in a happier home.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, come unto me & rest. Lay down thou weary one, lay down thy head upon my brest.

Thy will be done.

Buried at Binstead Church, Ryde, Isle of Wight."

Robert Mason note 1 Robert Mason note 2

How can I figure out what this note is and obtain a photo of his headstone if it exists?

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This does read like a gravestone epitaph, especially the line from the hymn "Come unto Me and rest".

There are a few resources for the Isle of Wight that would be my first ports of call.

The Isle of Wight FHS website contains two databases that are potentially useful in your case:

  • Monumental Inscriptions Index: The coverage page says that inscriptions for Holy Cross Church, Binstead is "1758 - 1900 (some)". Robert Mason cannot be found in the index for Binstead. However, this is not a complete dataset, so there are many reasons why he might not be found here.
  • Burial Cards Index: Only members can search this index, but you could use it to confirm Robert's burial date and place.

Ryde Social Heritage Group also has a database of graves in and around Ryde:

  • Cemetery Search: Robert Mason appears in this database:

    Mr Robert Mason
    Date of Birth: Unknown
    Date of Death: 29/07/1890
    Title: Mr
    Forenames: Robert
    Surname: Mason
    Plot Number: Binstead Old Cemetery Plot number not known
    Map Ref #: RSHG B014
    Grave Description: None
    Condition: None
    Condition text: None
    Any other information: Robert Mason, Mechanic, age 34, died at Binstead, buried 1 August 1890 - Source: Register of Burials... Ann completed date, source: Registrars and Probate records.

This would suggest that Robert was buried at Binstead Old Cemetery and not Holy Cross Church. Unfortunately the plot maps for Binstead Old Cemetery were destroyed by fire so records of individual plot locations do not survive.

This database also suggests that the gravestone - if one ever existed - is probably no longer there, or if it is, it may no longer be legible. However, it is impossible to know this for sure without searching the cemetery.

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