Talk will explore how art, history meet in Rockingham tombstone carvings

BELLOWS FALLS — Historian William Hosley will present “Where Art and History Meet - Rockingham Meeting House Burying Ground” on Wednesday, June 9, from 7 to 8 p.m. This is the fourth in a series of talks sponsored by the Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission in partnership with the Rockingham Free Public Library.

The free lecture will take place via Zoom.

Part of the grounds of the Rockingham Meeting House, designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, the graveyard has burials going back to the time of the American Revolution and includes the original town tomb.

Many of the older headstones were crafted by the Moses Wright family of stone carvers, who settled on farms to the north of Rockingham Village in the 1790s.

Migrating north along the Connecticut River Valley, the Wright family brought with them older Puritan-style headstone motifs but with variation that led Hosley and other scholars to identify a distinctive Rockingham School, the last phase of iconic early New England slate carving.

The presentation will look at this history with an eye to the need for ongoing restoration and conservation of the yard.

Hosley is an independent scholar who has written extensively about New England graveyards, including the Rockingham yard.

A graduate of Middlebury College and the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, he is a collector, photographer, and preservationist who specializes in cultural resource development and preservation services. He formerly worked for the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.

To receive an invitation to stream or phone in via Zoom, email [email protected] or call the library at 802-463-4270. Leave your phone number and email address.

The series is made possible through funding from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service.

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