1808 monument in parish graveyard as ‘an awful warning’

In the parish churchyard, near the back of the church at its eastern end, is a gravestone that tells of the death of three young children, who died after eating poisonous mushrooms.

In memory of Mary, Sarah, and Eliza the daughters of William and Elizabeth Atwood of this parish who were poisoned by eating fungous vegetables mistaken for champignons on the 11th day of October 1808 and died at the ages of 14, 7, and 5 years within a few hours of each other in excruciating agonies.

The father, mother and now alas, an only child, partakers of the same meal, have survived with debilitated constitution to lament so dreadful a calamity.

This monument is erected to perpetuate the fatal event as an awful caution to others – let It be too a solemn warning that in our most grateful enjoyments even in our necessary food may lurk a deadly poison and that when age and health are most apt to flatter us with length of days some unforeseen misfortune may snatch us in an instant to Eternity.

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