A postscript to Reverend Grainger of St Giles

Plaque to John Cecil Grainger in St Giles Church

In October, the Whitley Pump wrote about the impressive memorial to Rev John Cecil Grainger of St Giles, who died in 1857, and was buried in Reading Old Cemetery. His parishioners also erected a tablet in St Giles Church.

The tablet, produced by Wheeler’s, was unveiled in the chancel on 31 December 1858 [ref 1]. It can still be seen there, and the inscription reads:

ERECTED
BY HIS AFFECTIONATE PEOPLE
IN MEMORY OF
JOHN CECIL GRAINGER B.A.
FOR 22 YEARS VICAR OF THIS PARISH
IN SIMPLE FAITH HE PREACHED
CHRIST JESUS AS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF SINNERS
WHILST HE REASONED OF DEATH JUDGEMENT AND HELL
HE DELIGHTED RATHER TO PERSUADE MEN
BY PROCLAIMING TO THEM THE MESSAGE OF
MERCY AND RECONCILIATION
UNBENDING WHEN GODS TRUTH WAS AT STAKE
HE YET LIKE HIS MASTER DID NOT
STRIVE NOR CRY NOR LIFT UP
NOR CAUSE HIS VOICE TO BE HEARD IN THE STREET
AND HOW GREAT WAS THE INFLUENCE HE EXERTED
AS WELL AS HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY
AS BY THE SILENT TEACHING OF A HOLY LIFE
WAS THEN BEST KNOWN WHEN HE WAS TAKEN AWAY
ON THE 6TH DAY OF MAY 1857 HE ENTERED INTO HIS REST
AGED 55 YEARS

REMEMBER THEM WHICH HAVE THE RULE OVER YOU, WHO
HAVE SPOKEN UNTO YOU THE WORD OF GOD WHOSE FAITH
FOLLOW, CONSIDERING THE END OF THEIR CONVERSATION
JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY TO DAY AND FOR EVER

HEB xiii:7 & 8

After the inscription is a coat of arms. The coat of arms also appears on the cemetery obelisk. The motto in Latin says, ‘Defessus sum ambulando’.  Peter Kruschwitz translates this as ‘I am worn out from all this walking about’. He goes on to say that although it appears a ‘dispiriting’ motto for a parish priest it is not. The words are from the Roman play ‘Adelphoe‘ by Terence. In the play, Demea was sent on a wild goose chase to find Micio and after looking all around the town, he returns home, worn out, to find Micio at his house all the time. Kruschwitz says:

This may be the true idea behind the motto of John Cecil Grainger’s arms, then: not resignation, but the deeper lesson that the suspension of restless activity and planless business may in fact be the better way to achieving one’s aims [ref 2].


References

  1. Reading Mercury 1 January 1859
  2. The Petrified Muse. Rest and Peace: Terence on a Reading Cemetery

Links

  1. Katesgrovians in Reading Old Cemetery – John Cecil Grainger
  2. Peter Kruschwitz, The Writing on the Wall: an Anthology of Reading’s Latin Inscriptions
  3. The Petrified Muse
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