Thomas Starr (1769-1840) was a lawyer who worked for 37 years as cathedral auditor and Chapter Clerk (1803-1840). He and his wife Della lived in the precincts property known as the Oaks, and had at least 9 children between 1792 and 1810, of which several died in infancy. The death of one daughter, Susannah (1799-1810) after an illness of just two days, moved her parents to arrange for the erection of a simple shield-shaped stone at the top of the south aisle pilgrim steps (Image 1). The motif shows a flowering plant of which one flower bud has broken prematurely and died. This effective representation of death in infancy appears in other English churches, sometimes with the addition of a butterfly to denote resurrection of life.
What to see:
- a touching memorial to the 10 year old Sussana Starr
- the larger tablet above, erected in memory of her father (Image 2)
- a family tablet in the cloisters (Image 3)
Sources: Shirley (1938); also Kentish Gazette 12 January 1810 and 28 March 1840