R. H. D. Barham (1815 – 1886) was the son and biographer of Richard Harris Barham (1788 – 1845), the author of The Ingoldsby Legends. He retired to Dawlish from Lolworth, Cambridgeshire, in 1863 and according to the History and Guide to St Gregory’s Church was buried in the churchyard in 1886. In January 2010 I went looking for his grave there (see my previous post ‘R. H. D. Barham at Dawlish’) but was unable to track it down. After making some enquiries via the local history group I discovered that the guide book was mistaken and he was buried in Dawlish Cemetery. Teignbridge District Council were very helpful when I contacted them and made things easy by sending me a map with the grave clearly marked. In fact I could have found it on any of my previous walks around the plots – it’s in the first row that you come to when you enter by the main gates on Oak Hill, just on the left beside the footpath.
The cross has become detached from the plinth and is lying rather sadly on top of the grave, but it is otherwise in good condition and the inscription is sharp and clear. Richard Barham was apparently in delicate health when he came to Dawlish in search of a warmer climate than that of Cambridgeshire, but he was able to pursue his interest in geology during his retirement and occupied himself in searching the cliffs and quarries for fossil Madrepores. According to his obituary he presented his collection to the town – it would be interesting to find out if it’s still around.
Text and photos © Angela Williams, 2010