Recent restoration activities

During a short break in the recent cold weather we had a visit from the expert masons from Sally Strachey Historic Conservation who last year repaired Joseph Sigmond's table tomb (see the December newsletter). Supported by a grant from the World Heritage Enhancement Fund, this time they repaired twenty of the most concerningly decayed headstones, as prioritised by a review from the conservation architect.

As well as protecting the worst of the weather-facing gaps in the delamination and stones themselves, James and Adam also were able straighten quite a few of them. As the headstones lean forwards and backwards due to settling of the terrain over time, pressure is put on them which can ultimately cause them to snap. So straightening them is a valuable conservation measure but it also makes the Burial Ground look somehow tidier and less neglected - in our view - and we hope you will agree if you can come on 2nd May or another Open Day
Supported by some of our ongoing Friends subscriptions, we have also been able to do a little more to begin restore the cottage to a condition where we can use it to serve a an informational resource about the history of the Burial Ground. The gable walls have already been excellently re-pointed in lime mortar, but the side walls were still full of concrete, so Fiona Henderson, our stonemason, has been busy digging it out and filing voids.

Our next priority is to restore the cottage to bring it back into use as a small visitor centre. We have applied to two charitable trusts for funding to reinstate the ceiling, lime plaster the east and west walls, replace the floor, install exhibition lighting and create displays. We have not heard the outcome yet but it is likely that we will also need to raise more funding as the work and materials are expensive. For example, the listed building requirements require us to use Blue Lias stone for the floor and this alone will cost over £2,000.