St Mary’s Graveyard

There are just over 1,100 photographs on this website of the gravestones at St Mary the Virgin from the years 1722 to 2000. In addition there are photographs of plaques for people whose ashes have been scattered in the Garden of Remembrance and a small number for memorials from inside the Church.

To find the photograph of a gravestone you want, first go to the alphabetical list of people buried there by clicking on the link at the end of this paragraph. The list is in alphabetical surname order. Married ladies are listed under their married surname but their maiden name is also given where it is known. Some people are listed more than once because there is more than one photograph of their grave. Find the person you want and make a note of the section and plot the grave is in plus the Image Number. The graveyard is divided into nine sections from A to I for administrative purposes. In order to make a photo easier to find they have been divided into the nine sections from A to I and two others for the plaques. Come back to this page and click on the section link shown below which will take you to the gallery of photos for that section. Scroll to the Image Number you want, this will start with DSCF….

List of St Mary’s graves by person

The first image in each gallery is a plan of the plots for the section concerned. This may be of help if you are visiting the graveyard and want to find the grave.

And, there’s more!
  • The oldest graves in the churchyard are near the church porch in sections B, C and D.
  • The church burial records go back to 1558 but those between 1728 and 1758 have been lost.
  • Sadly, none of the earliest burial records have surviving gravestones. The oldest surviving visible graves date back to 1722 & 1723 and they belong to William Creasey (1653-1722) and his wife Margaret, nee Riches (1664-1723). They can be found opposite the porch door. William was the village schoolmaster.
  • The oldest person buried in the graveyard is Judith Goose, nee Dove. She was 104 when she died in 1954. She was married to Benjamin and they lived at Rose Farm, Cess.
  • There was a spike in burials during 1873 which may have been caused by a smallpox pandemic which had swept across Europe from 1870 to 1874 and also spread to England. During this year eight infants were buried. The vicar at the time was Rev. George Pearse but the burials were entrusted to his curates David Hinderer and Joseph John Gurney or neighbouring vicars like Rev. Joseph Budd of West Somerton.
  • An indication of the relative wealth in some sections of the community during the 19th century may be indicated by the 10 sarcophagi in the graveyard.
  • In 1604 Roger Whittington, servant to Edward Westgate, died an untimely death when his empty cart rolled over whilst leaving the vicarage.
  • John Smyth, servant to Nicholas Coote, broke his leg playing football on 6th February 1619 which apparently led to complications because he died and was buried on 11th February.
  • An Act was passed in 1678 requiring everyone who was buried to be wrapped in a woollen shroud to support the wool trade. Entries in the registers from 1695 to 1713 often show a note saying “Affidavit made” which refers to a certification that the burial used a woollen shroud.
  • In 1688 Thomas and William, the sons of Thomas Myhill, were buried on 2nd September after they were killed together when an earth bank collapsed on them both.
  • A lady called Goody Bailey, recorded as being a pedlar women, was buried at St Mary’s on 21st August 1722.

Read the strange story of ‘Base born Biggs’ HERE

Read about the Burraway mystery HERE