At the weekend, I received an email from Lorna Bushell, asking if I’d ever come across Purchaser’s grave. Purchaser and his fellow canine, Vendor, are buried in the grounds of a building that was home to a firm of solicitors for many, many years – hence the unusual pet names! Although I found the headstone marking Purchaser’s grave easily, the memorial to Vendor wasn’t as obvious and may even be missing altogether.
I can only make out some of the writing on the stone, which I think testifies to the dog’s ‘personable disposition’, endearing him to all who knew him. If anyone has better eyes than me and can transcribe the full epitaph, please do!
I’ve seen memorials to animals at several former country houses I’ve visited in the past including these headstones at Trentham Gardens last summer, and up at Brocton on Cannock Chase, there is a headstone to Freda, the mascot dog of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade during the First World War. Brownhills Bob visited the memorial a while back and wrote a lovely article on it here.
I’m being deliberately vague about the location of Purchaser’s Grave, as on leaving I was stopped by someone and quizzed about what I was doing in their car park. I’m assuming that they may not take kindly to more people traipsing around their property searching for a dog’s lost grave. Fair enough, I suppose, although it always seems a shame to me when parts of our history, no matter how big or small, are tucked away in unseen corners or hidden behind locked doors and gates, at risk of being forgotten about or lost for good. Down in London, there is a pet cemetery in Hyde Park – a fascinating piece of social history that few know about and even fewer get to see.
Back to Lichfield and if anyone does know any more about those solicitors’ best friends, Purchaser and Vendor, I’d love to hear about it.
With thanks to Lorna Bushell for the information