Monday, 23 January 2017

Saturday 21st   January 2017

We had a really good day today – good company, very interesting discussions, exchanges of ideas, new directions, and a pub lunch.
Sue puts Nicole to work on a newly revealed headstone
Gareth and Nicole Beale from the Centre for Digital Heritage at York University came over for the day, with Helen Petrie and friends from Greece. We spent the morning catching up, discussing how the project is going, and looking at some software. There were two applications to look at – one from Luxembourg, the other from Australia - designed for burial ground surveys, specifically to facilitate data entry while out in the field. By looking critically at these, a new app can hopefully be developed which is more appropriate to groups in the UK.

Going through these two programs gave us a useful opportunity to re-examine and review our surveying practices, and data collection methods. After the experience of the past year or so, learning as we go, we can now stand back and look again at the work flow that we have developed.

With the fresh viewpoint coming from Gareth, Nicole, Helen and her friend Jenny, we can begin to really appreciate how far we have come – our little team of enthusiasts has been able to combine a range of skills, knowledge, and interests to bring together a fascinating project with multi-faceted perspectives which happily complement each other nicely:
  • Updating and amending the parish church records
  • Raising awareness of the churchyard as a local heritage asset
  • Developing and sharing skills in RTI photography
  • Revealing and recording previously unreadable monumental inscriptions
  • Providing information in response to family history enquiries
  • Developing a successful working partnership between local people, church members and local heritage groups
  • Developing and researching specific interests – stone masons, iconography, cultural significance of memorials, changing artistic styles of local memorials
  • Engaging with the local primary school
  • Offering graveyard tours as a way of promoting interest in local history

Demonstrating our working methods in the churchyard

Now that most of the field work is done, we are working on the second phase - creating a detailed record of each memorial. This phase focuses on the individual graves, creating individual reference sheets for each.  

This will be followed by Phase 3 – data analysis – in which the memorials will be studied as a group, including analysis of form, style, design, changing cultural & social meanings of the iconography and epitaphs. This phase will be complemented by detailed genealogical research into as many of the people who are buried here as we can.
It’s an ambitious programme, but we hope the results will prove interesting for a wider audience.

Sue keeps the visitors in order
We are so privileged to be working with Nicole, Gareth and Helen, and really looking forward to testing their data entry app which they will be developing for groups like us to use in the field.  Also waiting in great anticipation to see what Helen comes up with for helping us with Phases 2 and 3 of the data collection and analysis.

It was an excellent, stimulating day. Thanks ever so much, Gareth, Nicole, Helen, Jenny and her husband! (Not forgetting Helen’s delicious ginger cake….)

Jane Lunnon. 

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