Heathcote Mausoleum

Despite having blogged about it here a week ago, I still failed miserably to sign up for any of the Heritage Open Day activities this weekend. We returned to Hursley this afternoon though for one that didn’t require booking. It’s a building that I’ve passed numerous times, generally en-route from work to the Dolphin pub in the village! It stands in the grounds of the church and is the mausoleum constructed by the Heathcote family (who built the main body of the current Hursley House) over 200 years ago.

The details indicated that it had space for 35 coffins on either side. Somehow, I had assumed that this meant it descended underground. It hadn’t occurred to me that they’d just be stacked five stories high! The plaque on the outside shown here indicates that Samuel Heathcote is buried instead in the churchyard, going to the lengths of being buried 12ft deep to ensure that no-one tried to exhume him to move him to the family mausoleum! He wasn’t the only one to prefer the ‘open air’ with eleven other members of the family being buried outside. The last ‘deposit’ in the mausoleum was in 1925 but there’s still plenty of space for more…

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