The Cross Roads (or Haymakers Story) (4)

The photograph is of Jay's grave, near Hound Tor on Dartmoor.  Mary or Kitty Jay was buried here, at the crossroads echoing Clare's story as told by Dame Goody.  More sinned against than sinning, the local church authorities would not have her buried on 'consecrated' land, so she was buried where parish boundaries meet.  Jay's grave always has fresh flowers upon it, winter and summer...

"Yes, miss, it be a grave sure 'nough," [...] " J's grave 'tis called. No, I can't tell 'ee how 'tis spelt for I never couldn't spell. Mary Jay was the poor maid's name. I heard my mother tell of it, when I was a li'l maid. It happened when her was a li'l maid herself. Her could just mind hearing tell of it." [...] "'Tis a suicide's grave, miss." [...] "Her was an orphan from the workhouse, 'prenticed to Barracott Farm between Manaton and Heatree. One day, when her was quite young, her tooked a rope and went to the barn there on the Manaton Road, and hanged herself from a beam. Her was quite dead when the farmer found her." [...] "Us reckoned 'twas the same old story, miss—a young man, who wadn't no gude to her, poor maid."

‘So as I sed next morn I heard the bell
‘& passing neighbours crossd the street to tell
‘That my poor partner Jinney had bin found
‘In the old flag pool on the pasture drownd
 ‘God knows my heart I twitterd like a leaf
‘& found too late the cause of sundays grief
‘For every tongue was loosd to gabble oer
‘The slanderous things that secrets passd before
‘Wi truth or lies they neednt then be strickt
‘The one they raild at coudnt contradict
‘Twas now no secret of her being beguild
‘& every mouth knew Jinny dyd wi child
‘& tho more cautious with a living name
‘They more then guessd her master bore the blame
‘That very morning it affects me still
‘Ye know the foot pad sidles down the hill
‘Ign'rant as babe unborn I passd the pond
‘To milk as usual in our close beyond
‘& cows were drinking at the waters edge
‘& horses brousd among the flags & sedge
‘& nats & migens dancd the water oer
‘Just as Ive markd em scores o' times before
‘& birds sat singing as in mornings gone
‘While I as unconsernd went soodling on
‘But little dreaming as the wakening wind
‘Flappd the broad ash leaves oer the pond reclind
‘& oer the water crinkd the curdld wave
‘That Jane was sleeping in her watery grave
‘The netterd boy that usd to tend the cows
‘While getting whip sticks from the dangling boughs
‘Of osiers drooping by the water side
‘Her bonnet floating on the top espyd
‘He knew it well & hastnd fearful down
‘To take the terror of his fears to town
 ‘A melancholly story far too true
‘& soon the village to the pasture flew
‘Were from the deepest hole the pond about
‘They draggd poor Jinneys lifless body out
‘& took her home were scarce an hour gone bye
‘She had bin living like to you & I
‘I went wi more & kissd her for the last
‘& thought wi tears on pleasures that were past
‘& the last kindness left me then to do
‘I went at milking were her blossoms grew
‘& handfulls got of rose & lambtoe sweet
‘& put them with her in her winding sheet
‘A wilfull murder jury made the crime
‘Nor parson 'lowd to pray nor bell to chyme
‘On the cross roads far from her friends & kin
‘The usual law for such ungodly sin
‘Who violent hands upon themselves have laid
‘Poor Janes last bed unchristian like was made
‘& there like all whose last thoughts turn to heaven
‘She sleeps & doubtless hopd to be forgiven
‘& tho I sayt for maids thus weigld in
‘I think the wicked men deserve the sin
‘& sure enough we all at last shall see
‘The treachery punishd as it ought to be
‘For ere his wickedness pretended love
‘Jane was Ill bound as spotless as the dove
‘&s good a servant still old folks alow
‘As ever scourd a pail or milkd a cow
‘& ere he led her into ruins way
‘As gay & buxom as a summers day

(lines 151-214)

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