Mrs Becher's Diary


Richard Lacey, January 1937

Christmas saw the laying to rest of those who had lived the allotted span of their lives in Tylers Green and who died a stone’s throw away from the Church within a few hours of each other.

Richard Lacey, chimney sweep – known as Dick to his many friends in all walks of life, was in his 74th year.

At one time closely connected with St Margaret’s Church he had acted as Sexton and grave digger and had fulfiIled the duties of stoker. Before the churchyard was kept in the beautiful condition it now is, Dick was called in from time to time to scythe the long grass. No one else could do it as weIl as he was able to do it.

Was there a wasps’ nest in a dangerous place? Dick was the person to see to it and never a wasp remained after he had attended to the business. A familiar figure in his corduroy trousers strapped below the knee, and his kindly eyes, Dick Lacey was an institution in the village. For some time past he had been unable to follow his profession, but he was always ready to pass the time of day as one met him passing up and down the road, in his husky hesitating voice.

It was said of him that he could only sweep a chimney properly if he was drunk and his language was often unspeakable. The rent of his house was 5/- a week and on one occasion when in arrears he presented his landlord with a vegetable marrow. Being gently reminded about the little matter of the rent he went off to return presently with another marrow, larger than the first.

A selfish spoilt child with a disarming manner, and such perhaps is the best description of Dick Lacey, so often seems to inspire a wonderful affection in those whom he makes to suffer and it was true of him.

He returned from an exhibition where he had shown a selection of his honey [part sentence iIlegible].

I hear that his tiny cottage and the little garden where he kept his bees has now been reconstructed and nothing remains but the walls of the house which he shared with his wife and children and delight his orphaned grandson.

It will not be easy to forget the beautiful serene face of Mrs Lacey and the patient eyes which, tho’ she never uttered a word of complaint, yet betrayed a wealth of suffering which must have-been her lot down the years.

As she was carried to her last resting place there was placed upon her grave by those who knew her best, a magnificent wreath depicting the golden gates of Heaven opening to receive her.