Introduction to Church Inscriptions

Introduction to the Church Inscriptions

Church Records

Unfortunately the registers of Thornbury for baptisms, marriages and burials only survive from 1652. In this year new Registers were begun for the church and the first entry is the marriage of John Bragge and Katherine Tooker on 23rd November 1652.

In 1693 John Johns of Brendon married Elizabeth Cole and the oldest tombstone in the churchyard is a memorial to this Elizabeth and three of her children in 1702. It is situated near to the main church door and is designated at Grave 1003. Much of the inscription is extremely hard to read.

The graveyard

The graveyard is approximately triangular with the church sitting in the middle of the long side. It runs roughly north to south with the church aligned east to west as is usual. There are 345 tombstones in the graveyard and a number of unmarked graves. Not all stones are legible and there does not appear to be a record of the older burials although there is one for the newer ones. In addition there are 13 plaques inside the church and three dedicated windows as well as the Speccott tomb.

The oldest part of the graveyard is to the south of the church and here graves are roughly aligned in rows at the western edge but as you move eastwards the rows are more irregular and some are only part rows. At the extreme eastern edge the graves are more random. As convention dictates, the graves on the west side of the south door to the church have their headstones facing east whereas unusually, the majority of those on the east side of the door face to the west. On the plan this area is designated as area A and covers rows 01 to 14 on the schedule of graves.

The graveyard to the north of the church is in two halves. That on the west side adjacent to the road is more recent and is approached by way of a stone archway which was formerly the entrance to the village pound. These graves are in clear rows with the headstones facing east. This is designated as area B and covers rows 15 to 20 on the schedule.

To the east of area B is also an older part of the churchyard and again the rows are less well defined. Again the first rows face east but then the rows start to mainly face west with the odd one facing east and on top of another grave. One stone has been laid flat. As you get nearer to the eastern boundary the rows are poorly defined and reference to a row number has to be interpreted loosely. This is designated as area C and covers Rows 21 to 36. There are also some headstones leaning up against the rear wall. It is assumed that these stones have fallen in the past and have been removed here for safety.

In the corner between the north wall of the tower and the west wall of the north aisle is an area set aside for the scattering of ashes.  This is designated at Row 37.

Graveyard plan

Click on this plan to see the detailed layout of the churchyard.

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