"Six feet under? NEVER!"

In "Notes and Recollections of Stroud" (1871), Paul Hawkins Fisher recounts that John Hollings, a retired mercer and banker and a J.P., was appointed Captain of the Loyal Stroud Volunteers in 1798 when they were formed in 1798 as part of the nation's response to the threat of invasion by Napoleon.

However, Fisher gives the impression that Hollings was not universally popular. Indeed someone expressed the wish to live long enough to see him "safe under ground". Hollings' riposte was, "That you never shall".

To be on the safe side, Hollings gave instructions that if he did die before his adversary - which in 1805 he did - his coffin should not be interred but placed on the ground with a pyramidal tomb over it. It stands there to this day.