This week I have had a focus on an American lady and a love story! Not a film I went to see, but a visit to our church. Last Saturday I opened up the church for Melanie, a nice lady from USA and over here on business. She was tracking down details of her relatives and wanted to see the memorials here in Holy Trinity.
To my surprise and pleasure these were the Wilson and Pudsey memorials and what a wonderful story that is. For those who are not acquainted with this then Jane Pudsey was married to Henry Pudsey and when Henry died she engaged a local stonemason William Wilson to design and create a tomb. As a wealthy and well connected family in the area, this is a very prominent tomb in the Vesey Chapel.
Jane fell in love with William who had then become an Architect, helped him get a knighthood and they got married and lived in Moat House, a lovely house which he designed and had built on Lichfield Road and is at the front of the Sutton Coldfield campus of Birmingham Metropolitan College, who now own it. But when Jane subsequently died and was buried in Pudsey tomb, her daughters from first marriage would not allow Sir William to be also buried there. So he arranged to be buried in a grave which was outside the church but the other side of the wall from the Pudsey tomb. He said that as a stonemason it would not be a problem for him to get through the wall to get together again with his old bedfellow!
Subsequently the church was again extended, and the north aisle and clergy vestry added over 150 years later. Therefore his grave became inside the church and a memorial to him features prominently on the wall in the vestry at the other side of wall to the Pudsey tomb. So Jane and William are reunited in all senses!
Returning to Melanie, although she is related to William Wilson II who left to go to America, there is unfortunately no record of Sir William and Jane having any children legitimate or otherwise, and indeed his memorial indicates he left no issue! A true mystery! Was it another William Wilson? The matter is still not closed, but unless any more light can be shed on this it looks like a disappointment for Melanie and her family. It was also a disappointment for me as this is a fabulous human story from the wide ranging history of our splendid church ... and my favourite!