By the vestry door at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Lillington (by coincidence it is the Feast Day of St Mary Magdalene tomorrow), you will find a gravestone known rather uncomplimentary as, “The Miser’s Grave.” It is the grave of a certain Billy Treen who worked as a labourer and road scraper. He subsisted by living frugally (to put it mildly) and lived off things like potato peelings which he begged off neighbours. Not that it did him that much harm: he was aged seventy-seven years when he died in 1810. However when his estate was being sorted, he was found to be more than fairly well off. His gravestone had the inscription,
“I poorly liv’d and Poorly Dy’d
Poorly Buried, and no one Cry’d.”
It is said that this was put where parishioners could see it easily as a warning not to be so tight with money!
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