Abenhall Churchyard History
Abenhall Lower Churchyard
By 1911 the graveyard surrounding the church at Abenhall had become full and a location for future burials was being sought. An orchard of about 1/3rd of an acre adjacent to the church was owned by Katherine Alice Barton who kindly offered to give the land to the church for use as a graveyard.
Miss Barton desired that land be sectioned off with about one third of the plot being used for new burials and the remainder kept as an orchard until required in what was believed to be 40 years' time.
The small section of land was consecrated on the 29th July 1911 but the first burial was not until 15th May 1912 and was that of Katherine Alice Barton. Of interest though is that in her Will dated 26th July 1910 she requests that she be buried amongst other family graves in Bratton Seymour near Wincanton in Somerset and that no one should go to her funeral because it would be too long a journey. In a later codicil to the Will Katherine changes her mind and asks that she be buried "wherever I may end my life"
The small plot of land became "full" after just 23 years, the railings were removed and the larger section was consecrated on the 21st July 1935 to form the Lower Churchyard that is there today.
Plans and Plot Numbers
Although only 100 years old, the churchyard did not start off with an orderly or logical burial plan. The first 55 burials that are in the completed burial book that ends in 1922 have various sketches of plot locations and sometimes numbers next to their entry that are in no particular sequence. These details and where there are identifiable gravestones meant that a small number of plot locations could be identified.
What has helped identify many more locations including unmarked graves is a partial old plan with about 100 plot numbers recorded on the document. The one difficult area to plot has been close to the wall where it curves away from the road towards bridleway. Here many infant children were buried, some without service in small and sometimes unidentified plots between others graves.
In the new plan each grave has its own new "plan number" and where the old "plot numbers" can be linked to them they have been recorded together.
David Drinkwater, Sept 2011
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