Today, as it was a beautifully sunny day, my other half Paul and I went to Gwennap Churchyard to search for some of his ancestors lying at rest there.
By the time we got there it had clouded over and dark rainclouds were forming!! It was looking so nice there with all the Spring flowers dotted about all over the place but it turned out to be a much larger churchyard than I had realised!!
We are going to have to come back several times to search for Paul’s ancestors as it is such a large churchyard. While there, I decided that it would be nice to add this to the churchyard at Mithian, Cornwall and the churchyard at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire that I am the Graveyard Rabbit for.
Many of the tombstones are very well preserved, some have very interesting designs, quite different from the majority of plainer ones at Mithian and Lower Winchendon and I noticed that it was very easy to read the inscriptions of most of those I looked at today.
This is the sign at the entrance to the churchyard. I think it must be the most attractive sign for a church that I have seen in a long time!! Most are usually past their best, with peeling paint or warped, tatty looking wood.
I will start adding some of the tombstones in this coming week, and of course, when we find those of Paul’s ancestors, if they still survive, then those will be shown here as well as at my genealogy blog So That’s Where I Get It From.
I am getting more and more amazed by the type of News Items I am receiving regarding vandalism and such things in churchyards. This link informs us that the Police have now received Dispersal Orders for two churchyards in Cornwall because of anti-social behaviour!
I think it is so very sad that any respect for those no longer with us seems to be disappearing these days. What will it all come to?
While we were mooching around at St. Peter’s churchyard, Mithian, Cornwall at the end of May, we took various photos of graves and I thought this one was particularly striking as it was virtually disappearing in the very overgrown plantlife there!
This grave is not for one of my partner Paul’s ancestors, but I transcribe it here for posterity as the Graveyard Rabbit for this churchyard.
It possibly states at the top: Sacred to the Memory of
died Nov. 18th. 1888
Aged 80 years
also of MARY ANN
wife of the above
died Oct. 6th. 1889
aged 59 years
(more here but unreadable)
I think it looks kind of nice with the ivy growing over the headstone, but somehow think that with the long grass and other overgrowing plantlife, it won’t be too long before it is completely covered! I will keep an eye on it and rescue it from being covered if it becomes necessary!!
Yesterday my partner Paul and I visited the churchyard at St. Peter’s Church, Mithian in Cornwall. This is where Paul’s Mother and Grandparents are laid to rest. We knew the church was closed as there were problems to the roof we believe and just maybe other problems to the building as well.
We’ve missed seeing how lovely the churchyard looks when strewn completely in the Spring with Primroses everywhere, but it still had a beauty of its own for when we arrived this time the churchyard was covered in Bluebells and white Garlic flowers. It kind of made up for the fact the whole place was really overgrown and neglected!
As you will see from the photos I add to this post though, it is very sad to see that it has come to this!!
This noticeboard should really be showing the Church name and other details and the message on the notice pinned to the board has now been weathered away – it’s at the entrance to the churchyard.
And then you get to the entrance gate:
You will see through the gate, that there is a notice on the Church door:
Okay, let’s just have a stroll around and see what’s happening in the churchyard:
The wild flowers bring some beauty to a very sad, neglected churchyard:
This is the main entrance to St. Peter’s Church for all the happy times and sad times and now to see it like this – and with a discarded Rememberance Day wreath too!
Danger Keep Out; Roped off; Fenced off:
And what if a descendant wants to lay flowers here?
Well, at least it is possible to take a break, have a seat … and wonder what will become of the church and churchyard!
There are some wild flowers spreading about in the churchyard – this will help create a haven for all sorts of creepie crawlie insects and wildlife – so that’s good!
And of course, this day and age, we couldn’t really expect anything else than someone showing some disrespect in a churchyard!!!
We plan on visiting this churchyard on a regular basis, particularly to see how it progresses with regard to what will happen to the church and therefore what will happen to the churchyard!! I will try and investigate what the plans are and hopefully there aren’t any to flatten the churchyard!! It’s a bit of a worry.
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!!