St. Michael’s, Madeley graveyard contains a wealth of fascinating monuments including the best collection of cast-iron tombs in the country. One of the most interesting monuments is the so-called ‘Turner Memorial’, a unique mosaic headstone commemorating the death of an eight-year-old boy early in the 20th century.
On 20th October 1906, Charles Arthur Turner was playing with friends near Meadow Pit of which the pit mound still survives next to the junction of Ironbridge Road and Glendinning Way. The children were playing in an easily accessible part of the mine which was inadequately fenced but housed the discharge pit for the hot water from the mine’s winding engine boiler. While trying to protect his younger brother from accident, Charles fell into the pit himself and was badly burned. After 17 days of what must have been agony, the eight-year-old boy died. The subsequent inquest recorded a verdict of death caused by ‘scalds accidentally received’.
The tombstone was painstakingly assembled by Arthur’s mother, a worker at Maws Tillery, using left-over scraps of tiles.
Over the years, the monument had deteriorated badly – largely because of environmental damage rather than vandalism. Eventually it broke up, but the pieces were collected carefully and removed to the church for safe-keeping.
In 2005, the Madeley Local Studies Group successfully secured a grant for £5,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund which covered the restoration of the monument and its reinstatement in its original position in the graveyard with an explanatory plaque telling the story of this unfortunate family tragedy.
The restoration work was carried out by Eura Conservation Ltd
A short ceremony to rededicate the memorial and unveil the memorial information plaque took place on 6th May 2005.