Wednesday, 14 August 2019

13 August 2019

Another really nice summer’s day for us at Conistone again. We had a full house with 9 of us turning up.

Alan and Tony tried yet again to carry out some RTI on a particular table top gravestone which has been proving troublesome. Alan has today tried a new ball-head to clamp the camera to the horizontal bar to see if that helps frame the composition better and allow the camera to be held closer to the memorial. Let’s hope it works.

Lynne and I worked steadily along the final row of graves of modern burials. 
Lynne - dangerous with shears!
Although we didn’t manage to finish it we made good progress, most of our time as usual spent in preparing them for photography. This has the added advantage of helping to tidy up the gravesides in case any relatives visit. Indeed, the areas we cleared last time around another couple of rows – previously at least waist high in nettles, brambles and wild flowers well past their spring-time best – had now been lovingly dressed with bouquets of flowers by visiting relatives, adding a wonderful personal touch and bright colour. 
A few of the newly laid flower bouquets
We felt very moved by the sudden appearance of so many fresh flowers in the churchyard. It brought to the fore that vexed question again about the right balance between allowing churchyards to be nature reserves, paying the costs of maintenance as congregations shrink, and the need to cater for those who visit the graves of relatives and ancestors.

The rest of the team set to work in the far corner where the tall plant growth is known to be hiding several gravestones – although we had decided these would have to wait until the vegetation had died down in the autumn, the tantalising glimpse of the corner of a raised cope-roofed ledger stone was too much to resist. 
As all of the team had experience of archaeological digs, they enthusiastically set to in order to uncover the stone. 
It took pretty much all day – the going was tough – but also the stone was revealed to be just the centrepiece of a much larger family plot which was defined by large lintel kerbstones punctuated with large side and corner posts. To add to that there was another small memorial next to it – a single plot defined by more kerbstones. 
The double memorial finally exposed ; Alan prepares for RTI
The inscriptions needed some RTI photography, but enough was readable to show that it included a memorial to a young man who had died in the First World War. 
Measuring up for survey data
 We were also visited by the senior sidesman again, who helped clear up some grave-id queries. And by a local lady who was able to provide some family history on her relatives. Another lady also brought her little grandson to lay flowers on her grandparents’ grave and a couple of passing hikers popped in to visit the church too. 
A well deserved tea break

Jane Lunnon.

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