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The Rider Memorial

The altar tomb on the south side of the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church in Littlebury was uncovered in 2008 from its dense covering of ivy. It is constructed of a brick base covering the grave itself and topped with a rectangular stone table inscribed with the family names, railed on all four sides. This type of monument is relatively unusual in country graveyards on account of the expense and labour involved in its construction, and therefore was reserved for the well to do amongst the community. Joseph (1756-1829) and Ann Rider (1760-1827) lived in Littlebury where they raised their two sons, Charles and James. The older brother, James (1781-1864) lived to his 83rd year and was a gentleman of independent means. Charles (1788-1858) was a farmer and worked Green Farm in Littlebury Green for many years. He was resident for both the censuses of 1841 and 1851, and by 1861 the Rider name was so associated with the Green Farm property that the census notes the property simply as ‘Rider’s’, although he had died 3 years earlier. For most of his working life, Charles Rider was the farming tenant of the rector of Strethall, and is named in the insurance documents of 1835 relating to properties in the area. The rector was one of the wealthiest landowners in the district and owned properties in several parishes in the neighbourhood.

The earliest Rider will recorded in Littlebury was of James Rider, a yeoman who died in 1793.  A later descendant was William, a Littlebury farmer who died in 1835, winner of Lord Braybrooke’s allotment prize in 1829. There are several less showy graves of the Rider family on the North side of the churchyard also, no doubt cousins of those whose memorial we uncovered. Although there were many other family relatives bearing the Rider name in the surrounding area, neither Charles nor James appear to have had surviving children. The tomb is inscribed with the names and dates of Joseph and Ann with those of their two sons and a line from psalms.     

Oriel Williams