Saturday, 18 October 2014

This memorial dates to the period 1320-1350 - nearly 700 years ago!

 St Cosmas and St Damian, Stretford, Herefordshire
(Click on an image for a larger version)


This is a redundant church with just one service a year.
 
 
 These two figures date to the period 1320-1350 and are almost certainly Robert de la Bere and his wife Margaret. 
 
Visited - August 2013

All my new discoveries are published first on the social history group on Facebook so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening you will need to subscribe to the group by clicking on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/609806292391471/ 

Without looking it up, what is a "silent key"?

 Methodist Chapel, Welsh End, Shropshire
(Click on an image for a larger version)

 
The Primitive Methodists built this chapel in 1859 to replace an earlier one built in 1828. It is still in use today and has its own burial ground attached.
 
 
A Silent Key is a Radio Operator who has passed away and can no longer be heard on the air waves around the world. 
 
Visited - October 2013

All my new discoveries are published first on the social history group on Facebook so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening you will need to subscribe to the group by clicking on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/609806292391471/ 

Friday, 17 October 2014

A grave in the shape of a baby's cradle.

 St Mary, Dudlestone, Shropshire
(Click on an image for a larger version)


An ancient church dating from Norman times with an older Saxon preaching cross in the churchyard. The building commands spectacular panoramic views over Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire. We had an interesting chat to the man in the next door garden who is one of the team that keeps the churchyard tidy.
 
 
A grave in the shape of a baby's cradle.
 
Visited - September 2014

All my new discoveries are published first on the social history group on Facebook so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening you will need to subscribe to the group by clicking on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/609806292391471/ 

Martin and Claire Nicholson's Unusual Grave Project

Martin and Claire Nicholson's Unusual Grave Project
 
A bit of background information - The project started off with the two of us concentrating on recording the graves of people who reached the age of at least 100 years. We soon discovered that we were finding other memorials that were of particular interest or rarity and we decided that these too deserved to be recorded for posterity. The project began in October 2008 and in the six years since then Claire and I have visited nearly 1150 different locations. That is an average of about 15 sites a month.
 

One of the great joys of the work is that you never know what you are going to find when you walk through the gate. I still get a buzz of excitement when we arrive at a new venue and Claire turns left and I turn right. We have a strange tradition that we go "beep, beep, beep" when we find a grave of interest - providing of course the other person is in ear-shot! About 40% of visits are unsuccessful with no grave or memorial worth worth recording. This usually happens when there are only a handful of memorials to be surveyed.

Sometimes we are left puzzled, almost annoyed, by inscriptions that lack important details. It is not unknown for the surname of the deceased to not appear on the memorial and I well recall one stone that didn't included any of the names of the deceased just "Mum and Dad"! Almost as strange are the patterned stones with gold inscriptions that are unreadable within a very few years of being erected.
 
You might think that once we had examined millions of graves we would be immune to getting the proverbial "lump in the throat". This is absolutely not the case. It is not always the graves of babies that have a strongest emotional impact, for me it was grave of the young newly-wed Davida Anne Merrell who died in a road accident whilst on her honeymoon that felt the saddest of them all.
 
 
We do not under any circumstances take pictures of the complete modern graves of children for use on our website or blog. We always visit the graves to pay our respects but nothing else - ever.
 
 
The photographic archives - Right from the start of the project we have kept detailed records of the sites we have visited, when we visited them and, of course, what we discovered during our survey.

The definitive record of all our discoveries can be found on our 700+ page website. This is arranged by county with each successful visit having its own page. In the overwhelming majority of cases we have also included a general photograph of the church or cemetery with the pictures of the individual monuments appearing further down the page.

The highlights of the survey have been duplicated in our blog. At the moment, October 2014, this has 370 entries.


Facebook -  It was important to us that the results of all our hard work was made available to other people who shared our enthusiasm and interest in graves and graveyards. In the early days we relied on people finding our website via a Google search. This wasn't as successful as we would have hoped and it was unusual for us to get more than 100 "hits" per day.

Publishing photographs of interest in the various cemetery related Facebook groups and then linking these photographs to our blog was far more successful and we now get anything between 500 and 2000 "hits" per day. The weekends tend to be our busiest days with Tuesday almost always the quietest day.

I have attempted to support the activities of the many - some might say too many - groups. Most days I post at least one photo of interest to the busiest and high profile groups such as  Dark and Dreamy Cemeteries, Cemetery Oddities and The Cemetery Club. A couple of groups, most notably Cemetery Explorers, will not allow me to post. I don't know why!


Social History - I set up my own Facebook group to give me some extra control over how the archives are made available. I post a wide variety of material on a daily basis to the group. New discoveries tend to get posted there first so it is probably a good idea to join this group to get all the latest information.

If you are interested in seeing the bigger picture for which family history, genealogy and cemeteries are just two small parts why not join the social history group on Facebook?


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Richard Butler had three wives - Fanny, Anne and Anne.

 St Mary, Whixall, Shropshire
(Click on an image for a larger version)

 
The church is sited some distance from any centres of population and we wondered how far the congregation has to travel to worship here.
 

 
Richard Butler had three wives - Fanny died in 1871 aged 30, Anne died in 1880 aged 33 and Anne died in 1911 (6 days after Richard) aged 76. 
 
Visited - October 2013

All my new discoveries are published first on the social history group on Facebook so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening you will need to subscribe to the group by clicking on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/609806292391471/ 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Henry and Elizabeth Millichamp lost seven children in their infancy

St Michael, Brimfield, Herefordshire 
(Click on an image for a larger version)


A very noisy churchyard due to being within 200 yards of the A49.
 
 
 Henry and Elizabeth Millichamp lost seven children in the 1860s and !870s. - Elizabeth (3 weeks), John (2 days), Lizzie (3 weeks), Willie (3 weeks), Joseph (7 months), Ellen (13 months) and Annie (18 months). 
 
Visited - March 2011

All my new discoveries are published first on the social history group on Facebook so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening you will need to subscribe to the group by clicking on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/609806292391471/ 

Monday, 13 October 2014

The "grave" of a fictional character - a "tourist trap".

 St Bartholomew, Tong, Shropshire
(Click on an image for a larger version)


This is one of most spectacular country churches we have ever visited.
 
 
The reputed grave of "Little Nell" - a fictional character from "The Old Curiosity Shop" by Charles Dickens. 
 
Visited - December 2013

All my new discoveries are published first on the social history group on Facebook so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening you will need to subscribe to the group by clicking on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/609806292391471/