St Nicholas' Church

The churchyard

By Jennifer Drury

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Photo:An undated postcard south west view of the churchyard: late 19th/early 20th century

An undated postcard south west view of the churchyard: late 19th/early 20th century

From the private collection of Jennifer Drury



Bronze age burials

The area around St Nicholas's churchyard has a long history of use as a place of burial. Bronze Age moulds (graves) were found near Church Hill and the churchyard is believed by some to mark the site of a Black Death plague-pit of 1348. By the south doorway, the base of an undatable, but believed to be mediaeval, church cross remains. The original cross was destroyed, but a new top was placed on it by W H Godfrey in 1934.

Earliest records 1588

It is impossible to be sure of the earliest burial dates; legible written records are held from 1588 but we have no way of knowing details previous to this date. As to gravestones, at the moment the earliest confirmed burial marker is that of Captain Nicholas Tattersall who is famous for helping Charles II escape to France; he died in 1674. It is very likely that there are earlier existing grave markers but they have yet to be confirmed. New methods of reading old grave markers are being developed but have yet to be applied at St Nicholas’.

Photo:View of the churchyard in 2012

View of the churchyard in 2012

Photo by Tony Mould


This page was added on 02/12/2012.
Comments about this page

The churchyard seems to be the only place for mentions of unusual events. Two that come to mind are a mock battle that was fought there as part of a military execise early in the 1800s (causing the spectators' horses to dump their riders and bolt) and the shot down German plane (or was it just its pilot parachuting to safety?) that ended up there in WW2.

By Roy Grant (09/09/2013)

During the War, I was solo choirboy and well remember the German plane crashing into the Churchyard in the middle of the night. In the morning I went with a friend to have a look. When we got there firemen were helping to recover the body of the pilot from a tree in Dyke Road. His parachute was open and it looked as though he had tried to jump too late. My wife and I were married in the Church in 1957.

By Bryan Kidd (21/02/2014)

I have a photo of the crashed plane in the churchyard!

By Peter Groves (22/02/2014)

Peter Groves, I would be interested to see that picture in connection with a series at St Nick's next year. Kind regards

By Norman Jacobs (25/03/2014)

Where have all the graves gone? Seems a lot more in the earlier picture than there are now. I can see the church from work and there is a recital held every Wednesday lunchtime (12.30 - 13.00). The standard is variable but can be very high. Well worth a visit.

By Ken Valder (28/03/2014)

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