The Burial Ground
Early Friends needed somewhere to bury their dead because the Anglican churchyards were closed to them. Rebecca Langle was the first Friend to die here and was buried in 1656 in, what was then, Richard Robinson’s apple orchard. Four more Friends followed and then, in 1660, the land was bought from Richard Robinson for the sum of 10 shillings (in our present decimal currency, 50 pence).
This burial ground is then perhaps the first piece of land purchased by The Religious Society of Friends. Since the 17th century some 700 Friends have been buried here although there are fewer than 100 identified plots. The raising of headstones was only sanctioned by Friends nationally in 1850 (the earlier dates on some headstones may reflect memorials being raised to Friends nationally in earlier years).
In keeping with the Quaker Equality Testimony, headstones are of a uniform size and shape. Many Friends now favour cremation, and the burial ground is often used for the scattering of ashes. Some Friends who do not have specific graves are remembered on the stone tablets mounted on the stable wall.
Burial Ground Management
We want to manage the burial ground in a way which will encourage wild flowers. We have implemented a mowing regime to encourage spring and early summer flowers in one area and late summer flowers in another. A main access pathway is kept mown at all times. We hope visitors will appreciate the reason why there will therefore sometimes be parts of the burial ground un-mown.