Tag Archives: churchyard

Picture Postcard Parade: Hailsham Church

28 Mar

With my current obsession with the GEERING family of Hailsham, Sussex it was inevitable that my postcard collecting interests would extend to the town of Hailsham before too long.

Hailsham Church

When I saw this wonderful postcard I just had to have it. It was published by Edgar Smith of The Library, Hailsham. It is unused and probably dates from around 1910-20.

Lots of lovely headstones to be seen, I wonder if any of my GEERINGs had a headstone, I know there were at least four buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s, Hailsham.

It reminds me of the description of the town in Pigot’s Sussex Directory of 1828 which singles out the church as the only thing of interest in the town,

The only object deserving of notice in this place is the church, which has a fine square tower, similar to that of East Grinstead; although extreme age may have shorn some of its beauties, still it bears the mark of having been, formerly, a handsome building, and presents an interesting object for the antiquarian.

I have promised myself not to go crazy buying postcards, so I will only be looking for postcards that will help illustrate the story of my ancestors. I would really like to be able to find a postcard of the High Street showing their shop, of course it will be many years after my ancestors had moved on, but it would at least take me back a bit closer to their time.

Tombstone Tuesday: Dorothy May TROWER

9 Mar

This is a Tombstone Tuesday post with a difference. I mentioned on Sunday that I had found the burial place of Dorothy May TROWER (née BATEMAN) my great-grandmother. The reason that I hadn’t found it sooner was because there is no headstone.

I already knew that Dorothy was buried in the churchyard at Sayers Common, Sussex from the memorial card pictured below, but didn’t know exactly where.

In loving memory of Dorothy May TROWER

As you can see Dorothy died in 1916 aged just 27 years old. She left her husband of less than five years with two daughters, Dorothy Annie (not yet four years old) and Eleanor May (under six months old). It is my belief that is was Dorothy’s death that prevented (or saved) her husband Henry John TROWER having to serve in the First World War, but I have no proof of this yet.

Dorothy’s exact burial place was revealed on a plan of Sayers Common Churchyard at West Sussex Record Office (WSRO PAR 478/7/8). The catalogue description for the plan was not very inspiring, something along the lines of “Plan of burial ground of Christchurch, Sayers Common”. I have often looked at the entry and wondered what the plan actually showed.

The plan itself is about one metre square and was marked with the outline of the church (before it’s extension) , the paths and boundaries and most importantly burial plots. The plots were laid out in a grid like pattern, with the rows labelled by letters.

Some of the plots had names written in them, some were readable, some weren’t. There was a variety of handwriting, ink and legibility. I checked the area of the churchyard where the known TROWER headstones are and next to them in rather blurred writing was the name Dorothy May TROWER. It wasn’t clear, but unmistakably the name of my great-grandmother.

I couldn’t believe that I had actually found her resting place, to be honest it wasn’t something I had been looking for, which made the discovery all the more rewarding. There was also the thrill that comes from knowing that I was probably the only family member that knew where she was buried.

I have been there many times, photographing the graves and cleaning them up, but had never known my great-grandmother had been laid to rest so close to the rest of the family.

The exact location is shown in the photo below (taken in last June). Dorothy May TROWER is buried between the grave in the top-left (Ruth TROWER) and the double grave in the top-right (not my family) behind the one in the middle (Mabel Annie TROWER).

Sayers Common Churchyard

Picture Postcard Parade: Nuthurst Church

22 Jan

I have been neglecting my postcard collection a bit recently. I’ve only made a few purchases recently on eBay, and I haven’t actually posted any of my postcards on this blog since the 1st January.

Nuthurst Church

This is a real photographic postcard of St. Andrew’s Church in Nuthurst, Sussex. The postmark on the reverse is not very clear, but it looks like this card was posted in 1915. There are no clues as to who the photographer or publisher were.

The church itself doesn’t appear to have changed a great deal, however the churchyard has changed quite a bit. Most of the headstones have now gone, as have most of the trees.

My family connection with Nuthurst Church comes from Henry and Catherine GASSON who passed through the parish around 1830-40. They had five children baptised here including my 3x great-grandfather Thomas GASSON.

Framfield Photos: Part Two

14 May

My wife thinks I am obssessed with photos of gravestones, and doesn’t think it appropriate for me to post them on Facebook! Hopefully here I will have a more appreciative audience.

This is a batch of general views of the churchyard at Framfield, Sussex taken last Saturday (9th May 2009). I was surprised at how large the churchyard was for such a small place, there was quite a variety of gravestones, some quite recent but also some quite old in appearance with unreadable inscriptions.

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