May 17th 2012 : A grave matter – Cotswold churchyards and tombs by Chris Hobson

Chris Hobson, who has a long standing interest in graveyards and church memorials, gave members a very interesting and informative talk on Cotswold graveyards. He covered the history of burials, the design and architecture of gravestones and showed examples from all over the Cotswolds. A special feature of the Cotswolds is the bale tombs which is a chest tomb with a semicircular capping stone, originally said to represent a wool bale but more likely to represent a funeral pall cloth which covered the bier.

In Fairford Churchyard there are 7,452 recorded burials since the parish register started in 1617, but there are only 2,624 gravestone commemorations. He also showed some of the more interesting memorials in the area and showed what could be found out about the deceased from information on gravestones.

St Mary's, Fairford
St Mary’s, Fairford
St Mary's Churchyard from the Church Tower
St Mary’s Churchyard from the Church Tower