Recording the Inscriptions in St Margaret's Churchyard

St Margaret's Church, 2011

In 2005, concerned at the deterioration of some of the headstones in St Margaret's churchyard and because we are often asked to hep in locating family gravestones, we decided to update the list of monumental inscriptions.

The original burial plans are no longer kept in the Church and while searching for them at East Sussex Record Office, a slim volume was discovered entitled ‘Monumental Inscriptions of Ditchling Churchyard’ compiled in 1877 by Frederick William Town Attree. This quickly became an invaluable tool for checking inscriptions that are hardly legible today, more than 130 years later.


Plan of St Margaret's Churchyard showing the three phases of the development of the burial ground

After completing the listing of all the inscriptions, we were then curious to learn more about the names on the memorials, some belonging to long-established village families and others whose background and identity were a mystery. A new phase of research began as we uncovered many fascinating stories; some lives were cut tragically short or were to end in the workhouse or asylum, others passed contentedly into old age amongst family and neighbours. These stories, together with an account of the history of St Margaret's Churchyard, have been collected together to form one publication, 'In Memoriam: History and Design in a Village Churchyard' and 'Life's Work Well Done: a Collection of Life Stories'.

This is very much an ongoing project and we are constantly adding to our database as new information comes to light. Many of the research enquiries we answer bring in much new information. Write and let us know who your ancestors were and where and when they lived in Ditchling.

A selection of Life Stories from 'In Memoriam' are available to read in our online exhibition or alternatively, follow the link to 'In Memoriam' in our shop.   

In Memoriam: History and Design in a Village Churchyard

Life's Work Well Done; a Collection of Life Stories

  

An essential guide to all those researching their family history

In Memoriam:

History and Design in a Village Churchyard

Life's Work Well Done: a Collection of Life Stories

The end product of a five year long research project, this publication tells the history of St Margaret's Churchyard identifying many gravestones with lettering carved by members of the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic.

The book includes the complete listing of memorial inscriptions found in the churchyard and records the locations of many unmarked graves, making this an essential guide to all those researching their family history.

The book also features many life stories of the people buried here, from those whose lives were cut short or ended in the workhouse or asylum, to those who won awards for bravery and passed contentedly into old age surrounded by their friends and families. Attached to the back of the book is a CD containing extra research material on many more of the people buried in our churchyard.

A4 book: 142 pages, b & w illustrations, CD of additional research material

Cost: £12.50 plus p & p

To purchase your copy follow the link to publications or 'In Memoriam'.