Grave Stones - Obligations and Rights (General)

by ajd1 @, Monday, April 23, 2012, 12:21 (2224 days ago)

Apologies if this has been covered - searched here but did not find anything beyond reuse of chapels.

On a recent trip to the Ross area, I discovered the gravestone my Gx7 grandparents from 1729 in a parish churchyard. Quite apart from being chuffed at finding it and touched that it existed at all (I assumed that, as they were not particularly wealthy, they wouldn't have a stone marker), it contained some valuable information (ages) that have helped tie them to baptisms.

The gravestone is in very good condition compared with some of its contemporaries. Unfortunately it has been moved from the grave and is now propped against a wall. No one at the church seems to know when this occurred and they are no known records or maps of the grave locations.

This leads me to some queries:

  • is anyone aware of gravesite mappings / memorial transcriptions etc covering South Herefordshire parishes? HFHS have transcribed many to the north of the county but not reached this far down as far as I can tell.

  • what, if any, are the churches' obligations to preserve and maintain graveyards? Is there specific law on the matter? For that matter, did people have to pay fees for burial in the 18th century and if so, do those ‘contracts’ convey any obligations? I have much later documents (19th & 20th century, municipal cemeteries) that do transfer rights to descendants.

  • what protection is available against the disposal / reuse / destruction of such stones, and indeed graves, by the church? Whilst I have no reason to think this is planned at this particular church, the clergy are mostly concerned with their living parishioners and mission rather than long dead parishioners and passing family historians on a mission. At least one parish church nearby is, due to lack of space, systematically reusing old (seems to mean mostly 1800's) graves. They don't seem to preserve the old stones and certainly not record them; the grave yard map that did exist is ‘missing’ (HRO confirmed this).

    Do we have any rights as descendants?

Thoughts and comments appreciated

Grave Stones - health and safety etc

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, April 23, 2012, 14:29 (2223 days ago) @ ajd1

[trying not to get wound up]

we touch on this at :-

and for a disused burial ground here:-

Ἀριστοτέλης A Gloster Boy in the Forest of Dean ><((((*>

Grave Stones - Obligations and Rights

by rookancestrybest @, Thursday, April 26, 2012, 16:04 (2220 days ago) @ ajd1

These are good questions, last year I discovered where some of my ancestors were buried (not the F of D branch I hasten to add) and was horrified to learn that a whole row of grave stones had been taken out in the 1960s or 1970s to widen the path at the cemetery. So, the plots are there but now the graves are unmarked, when I asked where they had placed the stones I was told by a man at the cemetery that they were disposed of rather than repositioned, I was angry as this is a loss of part of my family history. However, many of the graves had been photographed and transcribed since to prevent this from happening in future at the same cemetery.

Grave Stones - Obligations and Rights

by ritpetite @, New Zealand, Friday, April 27, 2012, 05:24 (2220 days ago) @ rookancestrybest

When I was visiting from NZ 2008 I was told by the Ross church that if I wanted to know where a particular grave was I would have to phone the Funeral Director.

It seems to be an unfortunate thing in some, I dont know if it happens everywhere, English graveyards that the plots have not been marked or recorded.

Perhaps they could adopt the attitude as we have in a lot of cemeteries here that the council keeps a record of the cemetery and in fact we are lucky enough to have the plots marked out online in some cases.

Of course we are a very young country and I guess we would not have the graves dating back perhaps further than early 1800's.

Good luck with those searches. I was not successful but hopefully you will be.


Grave Stones - Obligations and Rights

by unknown, Thursday, May 03, 2012, 01:31 (2214 days ago) @ ritpetite

I did visit the Gloucester Archives In Gloucester City Centre a few years ago and they have a thing about burials. I found my great great grandfather in there and it said on what date he was buried and which church (both these facts I already knew) but it also said the plot number and row of the actual grave. I visited the yard and searched very thoroughly all the stones that were standing and all the ones standing against the wall (that I could see) and I did not find my ancestor's but at least now I have the actual location. I did get in touch with the vicar who emailed me a few times about meeting with me and trying to find the exact spot with me but due to other factors I never did meet with him and I gave up on the quest.

As I say though the short version is maybe Gloucester Archives burial records can help with locating an exact spot that a person is buried under. They had my ancestor from 1897.

Grave Stones - Obligations and Rights

by ajd1 @, Thursday, May 03, 2012, 06:57 (2214 days ago) @ ritpetite

Thanks Rita

All does seem very hit-and-miss. I've put an enquiry to William Bevan, undertaker, in Ross (premises on my ancestor's street); no reply yet so I'll give them a few days grace then chase.


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