Monday, 15 February 2016
But at your feete tere doth his body lye.
His gravestone doth his age and death time show
His office by theis tokens you may know.
Second to none for strength and sturdye limm
A scarbabe mighty voice with visage grim.
Hee had interd two queenes within this place
And this townes house holders in his lives space
Twice over: but at length his one turne came
What hee for others did for him the same
Was done: No doubt his soule doth live for aye
In Heaven: though here his body clad in clay
Gravedigger Robert Scarlett served the city of Peterborough for most of his life, working at the Cathedral. He died in 1594, by which time he had buried two generations of residents. The average life expectancy at the time was around 45, but his outdoor work and regular exercise clearly did him good. He was 98 when his turn finally came.
His portrait is painted on the Cathedral wall and below it is the poem given above. The two "queenes" it mentions were Katherine of Aragon and Mary, Queen of Scots.