Jump to content

Grenadier Thomas Thetcher, North Hants Militia


Recommended Posts

The tombstone of Grenadier Thomas Thetcher of the North Hants Militia (produced by F. Frith & Co. Ltd, Reigate).

Thomas died a soldiers death........

In Memory of Thomas Thetcher

a Grenadier in the North Reg. of Hants Militia, who died of a violent Fever contracted by drinking Small Beer when hot the 12th of May 1764. Aged 26 Years.

In grateful remembrance of whose universal good will towards his Comrades, this Stone is placed here at their expence, as a small testimony of their regard and concern. Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier, Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer, Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall And when ye're hot drink Strong or none at all.

This memorial being decay'd was restord by the Officers of the Garrison A.D. 1781.

An Honest Soldier never is forgot whether he die by Musket or by Pot.

The Stone was replaced by the North Hants Militia when disembodied at Winchester, on 26th April 1802, in consequence of the original Stone being destroyed.

Edited by leigh kitchen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A photo from Wikipedia, & the entry re. Thetcher:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Thetcher

Thomas Thetcher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Thomas Thetcher (1737? - 1764), also known simply as The Hampshire Grenadier, was a grenadier in the North Regiment of the Hants Militia. He is known to the present day only through his gravestone, which stands in the graveyard of Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England.

His grave site was designated as a Hampshire Treasure by the Hampshire County Council. [1]

[edit] Inscription text

In Memory of

Thomas Thetcher

a Grenadier in the North Reg. of Hants Militia, who died of a violent Fever contracted by drinking Small Beer when hot the 12th of May 1764. Aged 26 Years. In grateful remembrance of whose universal good will towards his Comrades, this Stone is placed here at their expence, as a small testimony of their regard and concern.

Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier,

Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer,

Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall

And when ye're hot drink Strong or none at all.

This memorial being decay'd was restor'd by the Officers of the Garrison A.D. 1781.

An Honest Soldier never is forgot

Whether he die by Musket or by Pot.

The Stone was replaced by the North Hants Militia when disembodied at Winchester, on 26th April 1802, in consequence of the original Stone being destroyed.

And again replaced by The Royal Hampshire Regiment 1966.

[edit] Citations

Grenadier Thetcher's gravestone has been quoted and misquoted extensively in the centuries since his death.

Bill W., author of Alcoholics Anonymous (1931), the book which inspired the modern spiritiual anti-alcoholism movement, misquotes the gravestone on the first page, writing:

We landed in England. I visited Winchester Cathedral. Much moved, I wandered outside. My attention was caught by a doggerel on an old tombstone: 'Here lies a Hampshire Grenadier / Who caught his death / Drinking cold small beer. / A good soldier is ne'er forgot / Whether he dieth by musket / Or by pot.'" [2]

Writer Augustus Hare quotes the inscription in the appendix of his Epitaphs for Country Churchyards (1856). [3]

A dialogue of letters in the New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 341, No. 17, 1999) cites the inscription as a closing to a discussion of "deglutition syncope", the medical term for fainting when swallowing. It is triggered in certain sensitive individuals by cold liquids in the esophagus, especially on hot days. [4]

Strongs of Romsey, a Hampshire brewing company, used the slogan "drink Strong or none at all" until the 1970s. [5]

A reader of Littell's Living Age, a weekly periodical distributed in America from 1844-1941, sent in the full inscription for inclusion in the 8 November 1866 issue, along with a commentary. The unnamed reader wonders "that it has not hitherto appeared". He or she was very resourceful:

I copied it from an inscription on a tombstone in the churchyard of Winchester Cathedral, and a military friend then quartered there informed me that a statement once appeared in Fraser's Magazine to the effect that the quatrain commencing "Here sleeps in peace," was written by Dr. Benjamin Hoadley, sometime Bishop of Winchester. Now, as Bishop Hoadley died April 17, 1761, it is plain that he could not have written an epitaph on a person who survived him more than three years.

I have divided the lines exactly as they appear on the tombstone, and beg to direct your attention to the ambiguity of "when hot," which might apply to the "beer" or to its victim ; also to the disembodiment of the North Hants Militia in April, 1802, being assignable (owing to the "obscure language)[sic] to the destruction of "the original stone," and not to the peace of Amiens, which was ratified in March, 1802. The inference drawn by the poet that the grenadier was killed by the smallness of the beer, and not by its want of caloric, is as original as it is, doubtless, correct. [6]

[edit] Links and further references

A picture of the gravestone

Small beer

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Thetcher"

Categories: 1737 births | 1764 deaths | British Army soldiers

And the entry re small beer:

Small beer

Small beer[7] (also, small ale) is a beer/ale that contains very little alcohol. Sometimes unfiltered and porridge-like, it was a favoured drink in Medieval Europe and colonial North America where George Washington had a recipe involving bran and molasses.[8] It was sometimes had with breakfast, as attested in Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. Before public sanitation, cholera and other water-transmitted diseases were a significant cause of death. Because alcohol is toxic to most water-borne pathogens, and because the process of brewing any beer from malt involves boiling the water, which also kills them, drinking small beer instead of water was one way to escape infection. Small beer was also produced in households for consumption by children and servants. It was not unknown for workers in heavy industries and physical work to consume double figure (pint) quantities of small beer during a working day to maintain their hydration levels. This was usually provided free as part of their working conditions, it being recognised that maintaining suitable levels of hydration was indeed essential for optimum performance.

Small beer/small ale can also refer to a beer made of the "second runnings" from a very strong beer (e.g., scotch ale) mash. These beers can be as strong as a mild ale, depending on the strength of the original mash. This was done as an economy measure in household brewing in England up to the 18th century and is still done by some homebrewers and microbrewers such as Anchor Brewing Company.

Metaphorically, small beer means a trifle, a thing of little importance. The term is also used derisively for commercially produced beers which are thought to taste too weak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...