Thursday, 17 August 2017

Wednesday 17 August 2017

Summer’s always a busy time what with people being away on holiday etc. But we have been able to meet up most Wednesdays to type up a few more grave reference sheets and sort out anomalies that arise when we compare our data to the parish church records. Admittedly for many people this may seem to be the dullest stage of the process, but for those of us who have tackled the data entry, it has definitely proved to be so interesting. We find that as we type up the data we can start to see trends and patterns, we can ask all sorts of questions about the information we are gathering, and the whole project starts to makes sense. We can now see all sorts of possibilities with what we can do with this data. 

Our fascination with gravestones has only intensified as we realise what huge scope there is in investigating the social and cultural significance of design, iconography, the wording of epitaphs, the meaning of spatial distribution, and the production processes involved in creating the headstones. That and, of course, all the local and family history too! And we haven’t even begun to study the lichens and mosses growing on the stones yet.

Today was, at last, the first day when we could really take advantage of some summer weather – so we spent the morning taking a few photos that we missed before, and filling in a few other missing details on our survey forms. During the project we have learnt much, and we now realise that we were missing significant details in the early days of our survey.

In the afternoon, Sue and I – over some nice chocolate cake of course - had a long and very useful discussion about how we can share our experiences and knowledge with other groups, and how we can move forward with the data analysis. We have several options which we need to investigate – and this is perhaps the most exciting part of the whole project – sharing what we have done, and also taking it further into a broader context ; what we need now is a busman’s holiday, visiting other burial sites to compare our village churchyard to other places. 

Jane Lunnon