Thomas Thetcher, a soldier in the North Hants Militia died on May 12 1764, and his tombstone 9near the West Front) is the only one which is well preserved and replaced when needed, of all the many memorials which once crowded the cathedral churchyard.
This is owing to the remarkable inscription, shown on this photograph.
Small beer: It sounds like a joke and it is a colloquial term for something insignificant.
In fact it was the result of a second brewing producing a weaker level of alcohol. In these days beer was safer than water which was frequently unhygienic to drink, as was the small beer. (see a discussion on small beer)
The stone is more than just an amusing memorial for it helped to inspire the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous – an American association now worldwide.
During the first world war Bill Wilson, an American soldier based in the enormous army camp north of Morn Hill (so large it stretched to Avington and was served by its own railway) saw the stone and wrote about it in the Alcoholics Anonymous handbook.
A good review of the stone’s history was included in the BBC History Magazine.