Parts of St. Mary’s Churchyard are almost as old as the church itself, which
dates from the 12th century and is the oldest building in the village. From the beginning, the ground around the
church would have been a consecrated graveyard.
Over the centuries there have been hundreds of internments in this small area. There are
written records of all burials since 1543 and it is astonishing to record that there were 3,400 in
the 250 years between 1666 and 1919. No wonder the churchyard had to be extended in 1793,
1865 and 1918.
Unfortunately, over the years, as people came and went and families died out or moved away, some
of the graves in the far west corner of the churchyard became very overgrown and neglected.
Weeds and brambles were more than 4’ high in places and many of the graves and headstones were
completely buried in the undergrowth.
In 2014 an ‘Adopt-a-Grave’ scheme was launched, encouraging volunteers to take responsibility
for one or more graves to keep them tidy and weed-free. The scheme has been very successful and
volunteers right across the age range have come forward to be involved.
It was quite hard work, initially, because the area had to be cleared. However, this was also
very rewarding as headstones, previously unknown, were discovered amongst the brambles and weeds.
The area has been transformed and is now a welcoming corner for both visitors and wildlife alike.
The volunteers have found it very rewarding, to work as a team on this on the community project and were recently
filmed by Channel 4 for ‘The Best Village’ competition.
Volunteering is very simple and the commitment very small; at the most one or two visits a year for
about an hour each time.
If you would like to help by "Adopting" a grave please contact
us using our contact form.
Volunteers of all ages are very welcome