I expect there are not many of us who don’t know the story of Sleeping Beauty. The tale of a young woman who was cursed at her christening by an evil old Fae who was over looked when the child parents a king and queen were deciding who would be god parents to her. The curse would manifest itself on her 18th birthday when she would prick her finger on a sewing needle and fall into a deep un-wakening sleep. The curse cam to pass and the princess did indeed fall asleep for 100 years only to be awoken by the loving kiss of a prince.

I have just come across the rather interesting story of Sarah Hare the last daughter born to Sir Thomas Hare of Stow Hall in the little village of Stow Bardolph, Norfolk. It is there that at the age of 55 she pricked her finger on a sewing needle and contracted blood poisoning which eventually took her life in 1744. Local rumour at the time spoke of this being a punishment from god for daring to sew on the Sabbath.

This in itself is rather unremarkable but it is what happened after her demise that I thought you, the dear readers of our blog may find of interest. You see, her will left some rather odd requests. Here is an extract from the document dated 1743:

“I desire Six of the poor men in the parish of Stow or Wimbotsham may put me in to the ground they having five shillings a piece for the same. I desire all the poor in the Alms Row may have two shillings and sixpence each person at the Grave before I am put in. This I hope my Executor will see firstly performed before Sunset…..I desire to have my face and hands made in wax with a piece of crimson satin thrown like a garment in a picture hair upon my head and put in a case of Mahogany with a glass before and fix’d up so near the place were my corps lyes as it can be with my name and time of Death put upon the case in any manner most desirable if I do not execute this in my life I desire it may be done after my Death.”

sarah hare 2

And that dear friends is exactly what happened. After her death wax moulds where made of her hands and face and her mortuary statue was created, incidentally it is the only one of its kind outside of Westminster Abbey and certainly the only one of its time and kind to be made of wax. After its creation it was placed in the Hare mausoleum along with her body, to rest eternally with those of her ancestors.