Thomas Player

Longivity – Mr Thomas Player 1876

The oldest man in Malmesbury is Mr Thomas Player – sexton at the Abbey Church, who is in his 94th year, being born in the year 1782. The old man retains the whole of his faculties to a wonderful degree. Having good eyesight he can read the newspapers, which he sometimes does without the aid of glasses, and possessing a remarkable retentive memory, he can relate many incidents in connection with the Peninsular War and the Battle of Waterloo with wonderful accuracy. In his early days he served in the second battalion of the Wiltshire Militia. He remembers “when he was a biggish lad, taking part in the burning of the effigy of Tom Paine, the great infidel, at the Market Cross.”

Mr Player is free from any ailment whatever. He eats heartily and sleeps soundly at night. He takes his daily “constitutionals” which sometimes extend over two or three miles. It is but a few days ago the old man “took hoe in hand” and walked to Shed-hill, nearly two miles from Malmesbury, hoed a patch of beans, and walked home again without being fatigued.” He partook of usual supper, smoked a pipe and went to bed and slept soundly all night and the next day walked another mile or two on the railway. He boasts of having remembered four monarchs, and that he took part at rejoicings at the coronation of three of them, and is quite jubilant at the idea of soon being able to take a trip by rail from his native town and then, he says, “I shan’t expect to do many more wonderful things.”

In Memoriam – Mr Thomas Player 1879

Death of an old inhabitant: In our obituary will be found the name of Mr Thomas Player, the oldest inhabitant of our town, who died on Friday evening of last week, at the advanced age of 97. Deceased was sexton of the Abbey for 36 years, which office he resigned about two years ago in favour of his son. During his tenure of office the late sexton consigned to the earth upwards of 1,000 human beings. On his 95th birthday he commemorated the same by ringing the bells in the steeple for devine service. At that time he appeared quite hale and humourously could dilate on many of his exploits when young, and the companions also of those days, who had passed away many years before him. For some weeks past the poor old man had showed that his time was drawing to a close having been confined to his bed, but he retained his faculties till within a few days of his own death. Mr Thomas Player aged 97 years.

6 October, 2017
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