This gravestone is located in the churchyard of Saint Mary the Virgin in Nonington, Kent, England. The deceased, John Payn, was 22 years old when he died in 1872. On 2 April 1871 the national census recorded John as a journeyman grocer unemployed through ill-health. Poor lad died on 22 October the following year and was buried three days later.
John’s father, Richard Payn, died when John was only 11 years old. His mother, Mary Ann Saffery remarried the following year and the family, including brothers Thomas and Frederick and a sister named Fanny, lived with their stepfather, William Kingsford.
Rev. Sholto Douglas Campbell-Douglas, M.A. was appointed to the vicarage of Nonington in 1871 and resigned in 1872 when he was promoted to All Saints in Derby. He therefore only knew John for less than two years. With no information regarding the relationship between John Payn and the Reverend Douglas it’s unclear why he would erect such a lavish stone in his honour.
Erected by the Rev. Sholto D.C. Douglas, Vicar.
To the memory of John Payn.
Born April 7th 1850. Died October 22nd 1872
“He being dead yet speaketh”
The TWO ROADS.
Its Gate is wide – Matt. vii. 13.
Its Gate is strait – Matt. vii. 14
|Mark on this side you have
|And on this side you find
Along which of these two Roads are you hastening? for in one or other you most certainly are. Are you on the way to GOD and HEAVEN, or SATAN and HELL. A mistake if continued to the end will be fatal: “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.” MARK viii. 36.
JESUS CHRIST SAYS, “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER BUT BY ME. JOHN xiv 6. “HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME HATH EVERLASTING LIFE.” JOHN vi 47. “HIM THAT COMETH UNTO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.” JOHN vi 37. “I CAME NOT TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS TO REPENTANCE.” Mark ii 17. “THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH IS LOST.” Luke xix 10.
Where will you spend eternity?