Grave Mapping and Autumn UpdateOn Saturday, 1st October 2011, a warm and sunny morning, a small team of Friends’ supporters, including two members of the council bereavement team, met at St. Mary’s to make a start ‘mapping’ the graves of people buried in St. Mary’s ancient church yard. The task was harder than we first thought due to thick brambles and overgrown vegetation covering many of the graves. We were therefore very grateful for the help of the bereavement team, strimming away foliage from the graves to reveal names and inscriptions. Some of our helpers had valuable information about the graves and the people buried in them which made the task more personal and helped build histories and stories, connecting church, parish, and deceased. We still need to identify graves resting under large swathes of brambles which we did not have time to cut back on this visit. Fortunately, we have been given a map dating back to the early 1980’s, and this may make our task easier. As soon as our map is complete, we will publish it on the website. While carrying out the mapping, we were pleased to note that no further damage to the tower or other parts of the church structure has occurred during the long summer holidays. This is good news indeed! The orange graffiti was still in evidence, although some had been removed by school children over the summer. However, the Bereavement Department has assured us that the graffiti will be removed by professional cleaners, for which we thank them. We noted also that the churchyard, hill top and lane were largely clear of rubbish and what debris there was, we collected and removed. The peaceful setting of the church on that lovely, sunny Autumn morning was reminiscent of times past; our grateful thanks to everyone who turned up to help and also to those who sent us information about the graves. Please keep checking the website for up-dates. Delia Jay
The mapping team at work.