The Story of Lady Anne Grimston

May 17, 2018

In a great house in Hertfordshire County, Lady Anne Grimston lay dying. She was a proud and obstinate woman, who had enjoyed her riches, her lands and the society of her friends, while she lived, and had cared nothing for the more important things which do not pass away. And she died as she had lived, with none of the comfort that comes to all good men and women when they leave their friend and pass out of this world.

Tewin house, where Lady Anne Grimston died

She believed that when she had passed away from her friends, when her houses and riches, and lands were gone, she herself, and the life that was in her, would be gone, too, gone forever, utterly destroyed.  Her friends tried to point out to her how terrible and impossible this was, how certain it was that she would live again, as the roses live again. Just as the trees and flowers in the field live again after their long sleep, so, said her friends to Lady Anne Grimston, she too, would live again, and the life that was in her would never end.

Her tomb, tucked between the trees, photographed in 1904.

But Lady Anne Grimston was proud and unbelieving, and she said to her friends. “I shall not live again. It is as unlikely that I shall live again as that a tree will grow out of my body.” Lady Anne Grimston died, and was buried in a strong tomb made of marble– buried and forgotten. But not quite forgotten; for one day, many years after, the marble slab over her grave was found to have moved from its position. The builders fixed it firmly in its place again, and left it, thinking it quite secure.

Pictured in 1908.

Again the heavy marble slab tilted slightly on one side, and in the middle was a crack, with a tiny bunch of leaves bursting through. The crack was closed with cement, and the slab put back again; but again the slab was lifted up, the crack opened wider than ever, and the thin trunk of a tree appeared. They repaired the crumbling tomb and built around it tall iron railings to hold the masonry together; but the young tree made its way, breaking the masonry in two, destroying the walls of the tomb, and tearing the heavy iron railings out of the ground.

Close up view of the cracked tomb of Lady Anne Grimston.

And today, growing right from the heart of Lady Anne Grimston’s grave in Tewin Churchyard, half an hour’s ride from King’s Cross station, at St. Peter’s churchyard in Herfordshire County, is one of the biggest trees in England, four trees growing from one root. The heavy iron railing are fast through the trunk of the tree and cannot be moved, the marble masonry of the tomb is shattered to pieces, and today Lady Anne Grimston’s grave is a heap of broken stone and twisted iron bars.

Crusade Magazine May- June 1978  Pg.16. Mentioned in “The Book of Knowledge,” The Educational Book Co., London, 1921.  

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 626

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