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St. Mary's churchyard, East IlsleyThe project to record the Monumental Inscriptions of East Ilsley began with a survey of the churchyard in the year 2000. Once all the visible signs of burials were charted and numbered, those with inscripted stones were methodically recorded. This took about 18 months. Many stones were found not to be in their original position, and about 150 stand against the perimeter wall. There were problems connected with badly eroded or flaking stones, or those encrusted with lichen. When the recording was complete, all information was compiled in book form, each entry bearing a number, a description of the condition and shape of the stone or type of grave, and the inscription itself. To make the survey comprehensive graves in the small Baptist graveyard were also included. Quite a number of the occupants of unmarked graves have been identified by relatives and friends, these are also included in the survey.

From the beginning the project has grown, and there now exists a book running to about 150 pages, meticulously cross-referenced with other information from parish registers, census returns, wills, newspapers and other sources. Each entry has become a mini biography of the person named on the stone and their families. A typical entry looks like this:

174. Bevelled kerbstone grave with posts at corners and cross on tapering plinth and square base. h.56"

(wfe) In / loving memory of / JAMES DOVER / who died Dec 14th 1912 / aged 51 /Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest / also his beloved wife / MARY WINIFRED /died Dec 19th 1921 aged 54

[EIBR: James Dover, 17th Dec 1912. Mary Winifred Dover, 22nd Dec 1921]

1881 Cen: Church Hill Cottage. James Dover (56) trainer of racehorses, b. Birmingham, WAR. Emma, wi. (47) b. Bescott, STF. James so. unm (20) b. Hednesford, STS.

1891 Cen: Church Hill Cottage. James Dover unm (30) trainer of racehorses & farmer (Parents buried 170)

1891: James Dover (30) trainer, married Mary Winifred Lowe (24), da/o Joseph and Eliza, (See census 172) 23rd June.

1901 Cen: Montpellier Cottage. James Dover (40) trainer of racehorses, Mary Winifred, wi. (34) b. E.I. James Francis so. (9) b. E.I.

EIBR = East Ilsley Burial Register (ie date of burial) (wfe) = writing facing East  / = start of a new line of inscription

A booklet is available from the Society, which contains an index of those whose names appear on the gravestones.  A full record of monumental inscriptions, including a location map for each grave in the main churchyard, is now available on CD-ROM.


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Last modified: 10/21/14