In the Feb. 1995 issue of "Family Tree Magazine," published in England, I noted that a Daniel Benham, London businessman, suffered some ill health and spent two long summer holidays in Ilfracombe, Devonshire, England, in 1849 and 1852, with his wife and daughter. Mr. Benham subsequently keep diaries that included descriptions of people, places and walks around the town. He also recorded the memorial inscriptions he found at that time in the Holy Trinity churchyard.
A book has been written about this, "A History of Ilfracombe," by Lois Lamplugh, pub. by Phillimore and Co. in 1984. The "notes" at the end of her book are said to contain a great deal of information.
The original diary is in the Ilfracombe Museum, and Mervyn Palmer, the museum's first curator, had transcribed it for publication in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association, Vol. 75 pp 211-243 and Vol 76 pp 215-247.
A few years ago researcher Phyllis Matthews, Whittingham Road, Ilfracombe(who found information on her Thomas and Mary Rudd ancestors in Mr. Benham's information) subsequently checked the memorial inscriptions against the original diaries. While there were a few errors and some omissions, Daniel Benham had managed to transcribe data from more than 200 tombstones at Holy Trinity, Ilfracombe, Devonshire in 1849 and 1852 and six recorded at Braunton in 1852 and another six recorded at the Independents' Chapel, Ilfracombe in 1852, for a grand total of 246.
Ms. Matthews stated that a great value lies in Mr. Benham's records as many of the tombstones are unreadable or missing at this time. Forty-three of the inscriptions related to people from specific areas outside Devon and it is, perhaps, unlikely that their descendants would look for them in Devon. Also, some dates are from the period before civil registration.
I noted one inscription with a reference to Ireland:
Lt. Col. Thomas Purefoy of Ballysheeda Castle, Tipperary, died 1817, buried Holy Trinity Churchyard, Ilfracombe.