'William and George Hetherington', George Lewis of Cheltenham

This monument is described below.

Accession number WAG8984

Along with the Stevenson monument| this comes from the demolished church of St Mary’s, Birkenhead. St Mary’s was built beside the ruins of Birkenhead Priory, hence the inscription which refers to the deceased being buried in ‘the Abbey chapel yard adjoining this church’.

William and George Hetherington were the sons of William Hetherington, owner of the Birkenhead Ferry and the Ferry Hotel. Both died of consumption and their mother, already a widow, erected this monument. Her second husband lived in Cheltenham, which explains the use of the most prolific firm of sculptors in that town.

Above the inscription a grieving maiden is shown leaning against a broken column and pointing towards tow fragments which have toppled from it. The broken column came to be used on countless 19th century monuments as a general symbol of death, but here it retains its original precise meaning, the breaking off of a family’s line of descent by the death of its only children.