Sedgefield Graveyard Panel will aid family history research
Family research in the old churchyard at St Edmund’s, Sedgefield, will now be easier than ever before – thanks to painstaking detective work by local historians and the skills of Fishburn artist and graphic-designer Kevan Stevens.
People searching for the final resting place of their ancestors will be able to access a new information panel listing those buried in the churchyard and the location of their graves.
The detail is based on a comprehensive survey made several years ago by members of Sedgefield Local History Society and subsequent development by a team from St Edmund’s working on Durham Diocese ‘Inspired Futures’ project which aims to make churches more accessible and user-friendly to the local community.
(Inset: Click to enlarge example of details as shown on the Graveyard Panel)
The information was then accurately reproduced on a large interpretation panel by Kevan, managing director of The Art Room North East Ltd, who has worked closely with the Inspired Futures team on several projects for St Edmund’s. The panel was installed in the entrance porch at St Edmund’s this week.
Churchwarden Brian Mutch, who leads the ‘Inspired Futures’ team, has described it as ‘a valuable addition to church and town records’ but admits that not all graves can be identified. “Not surprisingly, the carved lettering on some headstones has suffered from the ravages of wind and weather over a long period and can no longer be read,” he explained.
The earliest identifiable gravestone dates back to 1709 (William Walton). Two of the most interesting are a memorial to Sergeant Frederick Hardwicke (Bolton) who fell in the Heavy Brigade’s gallant cavalry charge at Balaklava in 1854 and a skull and crossbones carving on the 1711 tomb of John Rawling now lying flat on the grass near the church entrance.
Pictured examining the Information Panel are (l-r) Brian Mutch, Alison Hodgson and the Revd. Geoff Short.
Article courtesy of Ron Eyley
Page added 22nd April 2019