I am delighted to have found that Ashley at A Grave Concern has mentioned how nice a couple of my photos are. As far as I know this is the first time someone has written about this blog and put links to it so I am absolutely thrilled by this.
Thank you Ashley so much – you’ve really made my day, no change that, you’ve really made my week!! 😉
Because most of my family history research is in Buckinghamshire and particularly one village, Lower Winchendon (I think its ancient name of Nether Winchendon sounds so much nicer), I will be adding posts and photographs here at this blog concerning the churchyard etc., of St. Nicholas in that village.
According to the history of this village, the Church has probably formed a major part of village life for at least 1,000 years. The Church’s Parish Registers start at 1562 so although not too big a churchyard, there have been quite a number of people buried there!
Having visited this village and churchyard several times over the years (I live too far away to go on a regular basis) Nether Winchendon today is an obvious medieval village with a smallish population. It is lovely there, and it is as if time has stopped still. You feel like you have been transported back to the time your ancestors were there!! These days there is no pub, no shop, or school although the Censuses show the village had these then. The Church seems to be the centre of the community as it has probably always been.
The village’s name of ‘Winchendon’ is an original Anglo Saxon name, and means something along the lines of ‘hill at a bend’. Lower Winchendon and Upper Winchendon were both recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and were known as Wincandone.
Because of the family history research for my partner Paul, I am also interested in the fairly local to us churchyard at Mithian, Cornwall. Again, the interest mainly stems from the fact that some of Paul’s ancestors are at rest there, but I will also be including photos and details of graves, monuments and history etc., concerning all the others at rest there.
St. Peter’s Church, Mithian, Cornwall
Sadly, the church is now closed. I believe the roof was in a bad way and so it had become unsafe for anyone inside the church.
This is a much newer church compared to that at Lower Winchendon mentioned above, as the parish was formed in 1847 from the parishes of several places such as Kenwyn, Kea and partly from Perranzabuloe and St Agnes, because of the quickly growing population in the area. The church and churchyard can be found midway between the villages of Mithian and Blackwater. Mithian is considered to be one of the oldest villages in Cornwall.
Although St. Peter’s Church is fairly young (compared to many) there has been ancient chapels in Mithian from the ancient times.
A year or so ago, after the Church was closed there were plans to convert it to residential use!! I do not know whether this is still going ahead, but it certainly makes me wonder what will happen to the churchyard and all those resting in it? I am sure that if someone is going to turn the Church into a house they probably will not want to be surrounded by graves and the continuous comings and goings of those descendants and relatives of more recent people at rest coming to visit, tidy up, place flowers and so on.
I have always found this particular churchyard slightly wild as it has not been immaculately kept, but very pretty at certain times of the year. Springtime when the whole churchyard is covered in primroses is a delight to see. And it is always so peaceful there so I am hoping that maybe one day they can find the £800,000 + that they need to put the church right rather than have it turned into a house.
Even looooooong before I was bitten by the genealogy bug I was always interested in graveyards. I always found them peaceful places to walk around (and still do) and some of the stones and monuments were always quite fascinating. I stopped and read many inscriptions even though the people laid to rest there were not connected to my family at all.
Once the genealogy bug bit me, I had more of a sense of purpose for strolling around graveyards, still finding them very peaceful and interesting but of course I had the added incentive to discover my ancestors, transcribe any inscriptions that could still be read and if there was no stone, at least I knew which graveyard they were buried in and could still visit.
In more recent years it has saddened me to see so many graveyards turned to just grass with no tombs, monuments, headstones, nothing and where the obvious graves still exist it saddens me so much more to see that many younger people these days have absolutely no respect for those that went before us, because they really don’t worry about standing on an obvious grave, throwing their litter on it, and just trampling all over other graves. And some even vandalise graves!! Why!? I always tread very carefully so as not to walk over someone lying there and always utter a quick apology should I inadvertently step on a grave.
I talked to the Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire a few years ago when we were able to visit and told him that sometimes it was quite difficult to not step onto someone’s grave and I felt bad if I did that. He knew I was researching my family history and visiting ancestor’s graves and he just said to me that as I meant no harm at all then they won’t mind!! So since then I don’t feel quite so bad because I don’t mean to trample on any of my ancestors or anyone else’s, but I still utter a quick apology, that’s just me!!
So, why this Graveyard Rabbit blog?
Since moving and updating my general genalogy blog So That’s Where I Get It From, and joining Geneabloggers I have looked at many other genealogy blogs, which I find so fascinating and then I came across the Graveyard Rabbit Association and other Graveyard Rabbit blogs. They are wonderful and it is so good to see all those who are Graveyard Rabbits trying to inform, educate, preserve and generally try to “look after” their respective graveyards they are interested in. It made me think that I would very much like to do the same. So, that is why I have this blog, Ancestors at Rest Graveyard Rabbit!!