A family history can be recreated from a variety of sources; one often overlooked resource is the memorial which can be found inside churches or in their graveyards.
Memorials in the graveyard are subject to the vagaries of the weather and over time they can become worn and unreadable. A digital survey has been undertaken to record the memorials in St Mary’s graveyard, Lydiard Tregoze and Hook Street Parish Cemetery, to preserve what information currently survives.
While much is known and recorded about the St.John family, Lords of the Manor at Lydiard Park, there is less information about the people who lived and worked on their estate and in the surrounding Wiltshire countryside. Graveyards are full of information which tell us more about the local community; it was principally occupied with farming and rural trades until the latter part of the 19th century when employment in the GWR Works drew some away from the land. Emigration also played its part, with young men and women braving the sea crossings to seek a more prosperous life in America, Australia, and New Zealand.
This collection is a taster of what is to come. Eventually there will be an index system to simplify identification and a plan to find the location of memorials and graves. There will also be photographs of the memorial tablets in the church and the chest tombs in the graveyard. If you have memorabilia or memories you would like to share of the People of the Parish, please email us at The Lydiard Archives.