FANDOM


From the longer Wikipedia page [1]

Thomas Brierley was born on July 16, 1785 at Mellor to Joab Brierley and Betty Arnfield. He was also known as Tommy and some references call him Didymus - perhaps confusing him for an uncle of that name or as a common alternative to Thomas.

Thomas became a blockprinter at the mill at Strines Printworks where calico was printed and later a carter who plied his trade between Ludworth and Disley.

He had connections with Freemasonry.

He had a stone coffin made by Azariah Ollerenshaw. The lid was carved with some Masonic symbols and underneath the words, "I am belied," referring to the accusations of feigned illness. It lay there for some years and because quite a tourist attraction. However, it eventually created too much unwanted attention for the vicar, Rev. Matthew Freeman, who ordered it to be buried in the grave (and it apparently still lies there just below the surface).

Not to be frustrated, Thomas had a memorial headstone prepared covered with 'cipher-writings' and ornate and masonic emblems which was placed over his grave before he died. Subsequently, there was talk of burying him in his stone coffin but it was found to be too heavy to remove to the house and it was not done to take the body to the coffin in the grave. He was buried in a wooden coffin presumably beside the stone coffin.

The cipher on the headstone was presented as a mystery in books and newspaper articles right into the latter part of the 20th century. The headstone is actually written in five pig-pen (Wikipedia page [2]) variations. The text at the head of the stone says "Thomas Brierley made his ingress July 16th 1785, His Progress was ____ Years And his Egress___". The headstone was never completed after his death (possibly because no one was interested and his father survived him only one more year and was of advanced age).

The cipher at the foot of the gravestone says "Holiness of the Lord". The Pigpen Cipher was used by Freemasons in the 18th Century to keep their records private and surprisingly the cipher on Thomas Brierley's grave seems have a non-standard symbol for the letter "S". It is possible the variation in the cipher is a clue to or a key to documents that he dealt with as the treasurer.

However, at the time of its placement in the graveyard the common impression was that it contained the old charge against his fellows and it was stated to be purposefully written in Hebrew to defy objections to it being placed over the grave during Thomas' lifetime. Indeed, newspaper reports echoed this and one gentleman visiting the grave solemnly asserted it was Greek but when cornered in the subject admitted it was a kind of Greek that a University education had not acquainted him with.

According to some, Thomas Brierley fell to his death from the church tower, but other sources disagree so this story may be an urban legend. To add to the mystery, a bronze plaque was added to the stone in recent times with more cipher upon it, the cipher used being similar but not identical.

He is reported to have died in 1854 aged 69 years although Letters of Administration, after his death, granted to his father Joab states that he died on the 22nd of July 1855. He was interred in Mellor Churchyard.

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.