Point of connection
The connection bringing Clark Durant from Michigan, USA, to Bodmin in Cornwall is a 17th century memorial in St. Petroc’s Church.
The slate plaque, on the wall in the southwest corner of the church, depicts Richard Durant, an ancestor of Clark Durant, his two wives and children. Its inscription informs us that Richard was mayor of Bodmin twice during the 1600s.
Following in the footsteps of his father and sister Eugénie, who visited Bodmin in the 1970s, Clark travelled with one of his sons, John, and spent two days in Bodmin over the Jubilee weekend.
Photo by Paul Keneally (Bodmin Camera Club)
Clark and John met Revd Paul Holley and Bodmin’s current mayor, Cllr Phil Cooper, at the church and viewed the memorial.
Clark has a rubbing of the memorial, taken during his father and sister’s visit, which hangs in his study at home and provides a daily connection with Cornwall.
Clark is keen to keep the family history alive through his children and grandchildren and share the story of Bodmin’s ancient mayor with people in America and Bodmin, both locals and visitors.
John said: “It’s important to remember family history and where you come from. Hearing stories and seeing images is not the same as actually going to the place and seeing it in person. It helps you to realise all that came out of Bodmin and makes you think about what’s possible for the future.”
Clark said: “This visit is about discovery that leaves you wanting more.” He is planning to work with the church and historians to delve more deeply into the story behind the memorial and provide information for his family and anyone who visits St. Petroc’s Church.
“The slate memorial explains a lot but there is still more to discover. One point is clear: The Richard Durant of the early 17th century and his two wives all, as etched in the memorial, ‘departed this life in the faithe of Jesus Christ.’ My wife and I hope to do likewise. Thank you Bodmin for the reminder.”