Monday, 25 March 2019

Last Wednesday we went over to Long Preston near Settle, to meet two photographers, from the Long Preston Heritage Group there, who have asked to be trained in the technique of RTI.

We met up with 5 members of the group who would like to see some kind of Churchyard Project take place in the village. Hopefully by photographing a selection of gravestones and setting up a small exhibition later in the spring or early summer they can raise some interest in taking it further.

We had a really good day discussing the potential of such a project. Part of the day was spent in the churchyard where Alan trained the two photographers, and the rest of us chatted to the others about gravestones and showed them how they can be looked at with a fresh eye, and in so many different ways. 
In the afternoon Alan demonstrated the processing of the photographs and produced a good result from one of the gravestones that is heavily lichen-covered.

We do hope that the Group can get enough interest going to do their own survey – hopefully the Settle project will provide additional encouragement.

Jane Lunnon

Monday, 4 March 2019

Thursday 28th February 2019

Some time ago we did some Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) photography on a 17th Century listed grave slab at Kettlewell churchyard, and the P.C.C. are now planning to put some of the results on an information board.

So we were invited over to have a chat with Di who is co-ordinating this and other plans for increasing appreciation of the churchyard and what it has to offer in terms of mindfulness (with a prayer walk), and biodiversity, as well as heritage.

It gave us the opportunity to have a lovely chat with someone who shared our enthusiasm, and to point out some of the ways in which a churchyard survey can open up people’s awareness of how gravestones can be a window into local and social history.

Take, for example, one particular memorial we spent a little time looking at more closely.
It was erected in 1834 in memory of a 2 year old girl. It is a very large memorial, over 5 foot in height, and broader than usual. Although not located at the east end, near the altar, nor facing straight onto a footpath, or another of the most prominent positions within the churchyard, it is nevertheless an imposing memorial, and must have been a very expensive commission.

The design is unusual, with a bold profile – the sides are slightly splayed outwards, and the top line is a strong diamond centrepiece over deeply scooped shoulders, flanked by rosetted wings. The imagery is neo-classical in design, probably influenced by the Adam style, although it is not as sophisticated nor elegant, suggesting this was not made by a highly skilled artist. But it is well-made, probably handcrafted by a skilled monumental mason. A surprising feature is that the urn and swag design is duplicated on the back of the headstone, although the inscription is only on the primary face, and is dedicated to the one burial.

Unfortunately it is difficult to read the epitaph with the naked eye – there is clearly a lengthy quotation or piece of poetry at the base of the memorial – another case for the RTI squad perhaps!!

This is an extraordinary memorial to a small child, and speaks volumes about the grief that was felt at her death. Indeed this is a good example of a memorial that says more about the bereaved and how they felt about their loss, than it does about the deceased.

Our thanks to Di for her interest and we wish Kettlewell P.C.C. every success with their project.

Jane Lunnon