In a corner of the graveyard belonging to the Winchester Cathedral in England is a copy of a copy of a gravestone in memory of Thomas Thetcher.
The original gravestone from 1764 which was restored in 1781 was later destroyed. A replacement was created and installed by the North Hants Militia in 1802. Hampshire County Council designated it as a Hampshire Treasure of unique cultural meaning, and in 1966 it was moved for safekeeping to the Royal Hampshire Regimental Museum at Serle’s House in Winchester.
Medical professionals have proposed that Thetcher’s death was the result of “deglutition syncope”: a loss of consciousness during or immediately after swallowing which causes heart arrhythmia. This rare syndrome can occur when a particularly cold liquid is consumed on an extremely hot day.
In Memory Of
A Grenadier In The North Reg.
Of Hants Militia, Who Died Of A
Violent Fever Contracted By Drinking
Small Beer When Hot The 12 May
1764 Aged 26 Years.
In Grateful Remembrance Of Whose Universal
Good Will Towards His Comrades, This Stone
Is Placed Here At Their Expence, As A Small
Testimony Of Their Regard And Concern.
Here Sleeps In Peace A Hampshire Grenadier,
Who Caught His Death By Drinking Cold Small Beer,
Soldiers Be Wise From His Untimely Fall
And When Ye’re Hot Drink Strong Or None At All.
This Memorial Being Decay’d Was Restor’d
By The Officers Of The Garrison A.D. 1781.
An Honest Soldier Never Is Forgot
Whether He Die By Musket Or By Pot.
The Stone Was Replaced By The North Hants
Militia When Disembodied At Winchester,
On 26 April 1802, In Consequence Of
The Original Stone Being Destroyed.
And Again Replaced By
The Royal Hampshire Regiment 1966.