Richard Oliver Launcelot Jefferies (18th July 1883 – 16th March 1885) memorial – ceremony at St John’s Churchyard, Eltham on Friday 16 March 2012 at 2pm
Richard and Jessie’s baby son (known as Oliver) died, aged only twenty months old, whilst the Jefferies’ family were living at 14 Victoria Road, Eltham (now 59 Footscray Road).
The Eltham Society are placing an inscribed stone to mark where Oliver was buried in St John’s Churchyard in a grave that was once marked by a simple wooden cross.
Harold Jefferies (Richard & Jessie’s first born son) recounted the death of his baby brother as ‘a terrible blow to father. His suffering, which was far greater than that of the child, prevented him from attending the funeral, and mother and I were, I believe, alone in the coach to Eltham church. The agonised expression on father’s face, as he stood at the open door watching the little cortège slowly move away, haunted my mind for many years,’ (Worthing Calvacade, Richard Jefferies: My Father by his son, 1944, p.19-20).
The Eltham Society want to mark the occasion by holding a small ceremony in the churchyard to which, they hope, Members of the Richard Jefferies Society might join them and perhaps do a reading or say a few words. They have chosen 16th March for the event - the anniversary of the date the baby died. Whilst in the area, Members might also like to take a look at the outside of the house where the Jefferies’ family were living (it bears a memorial plaque), about a 15 minute walk from the churchyard.