Thursday, 26 May 2016

Wednesday 25 May 2016

With summer fast approaching we turned up in our winter togs for another chilly day surveying the gravestones. The winds were too strong to allow for RTI so much of the morning was taken up using triangulation to measure in the locations of ledger stones in the Garden of Remembrance.

One of the problems with a churchyard is that apart from the church building and the lych gate there are virtually no other fixed reference points – trees, boundary walls, pathway lights – these can all be moved or even disappear within a generation, so cannot be used. Triangulation can be quite inaccurate once you are so far from the fixed points that the tape bows no matter how hard you try to pull the tape straight. This has been a bit of a problem with the gravestones. We have considered obtaining a laser such as estate agents often use, but by the very nature of churchyards there’s usually another gravestone or a tree in the direct line of sight which would break the laser beam. We also thought about using a GPS unit – but the hand-held units are not accurate enough – a margin of error of 2 to 3 metres is of little use to distinguish gravestones that are less than a metre apart. 

The answer would be a theodolite of course – but that’s beyond our budget. We may be able to borrow one sometime – it’s something we may investigate as it’s important to know exactly where each burial plot is when you are dealing with a still active church.

At least with the ledger stones, lying flat on the ground, we can lay the measuring tape along the ground and this ensures an accurate reading – although there is the danger of losing the occasional volunteer in the flower beds.

There may also be some undiginified clambering under table tombs!

Lunch inside the church was interesting – whilst sampling Jennifer’s delicious marmalade cake we managed to hold a conversation over the noise of the roofing work taking place above us. Despite the weather closing in the builders seemed to be enjoying themselves, with lots of laughter which kept us entertained.  
We tried in the afternoon to carry on with some recording work but after an hour or so the rain set in and we had to abandon ship.

Jane Lunnon. 

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