Over two weekends in September and October 2021 The Young Archaeologist’s Club for North Wiltshire visited St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze to undertake their own graveyard survey in collaboration with The Friends of Lydiard Park.
This combined a learning element for the Young Archaeologists in the tools and techniques for graveyard recording, followed by putting what they’d learnt into practice. This included the use of recording forms to make capturing key information simpler and more consistent and encouraging the inclusion of sketches, plans and comments on the condition of the memorial, along with the formal photographing of the tombs.
Some of the graves at Lydiard Tregoze have become extremely dilapidated, particularly several of the Grade 2 listed chest tombs which belonged to prominent local farming families. One has collapsed altogether. Deciphering inscriptions is not always easy when the stone has started to decay, and the growth of lichen, ivy and moss, have acted to obscure the lettering. The Young Archaeologists quickly understood the importance of not removing plant growth to avoid causing further damage to the stonework.
Local historian and Friends Trustee Frances Bevan was able to share her knowledge of and answer questions from the Young Archaeologists on the history and importance of the various families whose graves and tombs the children were recording.
Team leader Judy Thomson said:
‘Our visits to Lydiard Tregoze provided an excellent opportunity for the Young Archaeologists to engage with and contribute to a heritage project. They all acquired new archaeological skills and learned of the importance of studying and researching local history. More importantly the act of observing, discussing and recording the monuments allowed them to connect directly with the lives of the past parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Lydiard Tregoze.’
To see the project and young archaeologists at work visit: https://spark.adobe.com/page/0B6OHq7ue35xW/