New in Horsham Park

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855. The company now has a further three offices across the county – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and incorporates monumental mason J. Gumbrill to cater for customers’ stonework requirements. Recently, the team completed a stone to mark a special […]

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Annissa and Richard of J. Gumbrill stand either side of a stone in Horsham Park. The stone is inlaid with a slate tablet incorporating the coronation emblem of King Charles III. There is a newly planted tree behind the stone

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855. The company now has a further three offices across the county – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and incorporates monumental mason J. Gumbrill to cater for customers’ stonework requirements. Recently, the team completed a stone to mark a special occasion. Annissa tells us more…

In 2022, we were honoured to fulfil Horsham District Council’s request for a stone to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. I attended the unveiling in Horsham’s Carfax, and it was a lovely occasion. Our work is often admired quietly, as many of the memorials we create or restore are in churchyards and cemeteries – more private spaces which are visited regularly and with intention. However, this is something that people pass by during their daily errands, so it gets quite a lot of attention.

Having mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II later in 2022, the nation’s preparations for King Charles III’s coronation were already underway when I received a new request – the Council wanted to mark the occasion with another stone.

The coronation stone was to be sited in Horsham Park, near to another stone we helped to organise around the time of the Platinum Jubilee. The community had organised for a stone to go alongside the planting of a new tree, which was part of the national ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ initiative.

As with for the Jubilee, a logo had been designed for King Charles’s coronation, and the Council wanted this to be the basis for the new design. We worked together and agreed that we’d use a piece of Horsham stone – a nod to our own area, and to match the Queen’s Green Canopy base – inlaid with a Welsh slate tablet – also appropriate due to the length of time the King had served as Prince of Wales.

The design for the tablet was to be the official coronation emblem, designed by Sir Jony Ive KBE. It features a crown and a selection of plants and flowers, paying tribute to the fact that the King appreciates the natural world. It clearly unifies the flora of our nations: the rose of England, thistle of Scotland, daffodil of Wales, and shamrock of Northern Ireland. It also includes the date of his coronation – 6th May 2023.

Our craftsman sandblasted the design into the slate, before setting it into the stone, then painted it with a grey wash. This final stage allows the design to stand out clearly in all conditions – lettering can otherwise look as though it is unclear, particularly in rainy weather.

During the days prior to the coronation, I joined my colleagues in Horsham Park in order to witness the stone being positioned. Another new tree had been planted, and the stone faces a prominent pathway, so I’m sure that lots of people will enjoy it in years to come. Slate is also easy to care for, so from a maintenance perspective for those who look after the park, it should be straightforward to ensure that the stone continues to look as good as new!

I’m pleased that we were able to help with this project, in honour of an important occasion for our country. King Charles III is the sixth British monarch to have served since Freeman Brothers was first established – though his is only the fourth coronation that the company has witnessed – and with his mother’s reign being so long, it was the first time that many Horsham residents have been able to experience this kind of event.

If you’ve been inspired by this piece of work, and have questions about care for your own memorials, or would like to find out about commissioning a new one, you can get in touch via our website for a free, no-obligation chat.

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Written by Annissa Cole

Monumental Masonry Administrator

May 17, 2023

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