View Full Version : Quaker monuments

03-07-2008, 8:44 PM
Hello, I have 2 branches of the family who were quite well off and were Quakers. We searched in vain for their grave stones in a very overgrown cemetery which we thought was the most likely place they were buried. We had previously found out that Quakers don't have large gravestones as they don't want to put themselves above others, so we were looking for small stones.

On Tuesday, we went off to Churchill (village in Somerset) in search of other Quaker gravestones and immediately found what we were looking for because it was enormous, it must have been 10 feet tall ! Not only that, it was located out at the front of the church while almost everyone else got buried out the back.

I think I shall go back to the overgrown cemetery and look up instead of down !


Peter Goodey
03-07-2008, 8:59 PM
Is that a Church of Engand churchyard? What do you mean by the "front of the church"? Would that be the north side by any chance?

03-07-2008, 9:27 PM
Yes it is a C of E churchyard. I've had a look at Google earth and the monument, (which can just be seen) is south of the main church building, whereas most other graves are north of the building. Is there significance in this, I'd be interested to know ?

I mentioned the front of the church. If you are on the road alongside the church, you first see a lawn with the monument, then the church building. The main graveyard is behind the church.

As I write this, I am remembering learning at school why St Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol is laid out in a certain way. Unfortunately, I've forgotten what I learned all those years ago !


Peter Goodey
03-07-2008, 9:43 PM
Traditionally most graves were to the south of the church with the north side being treated as unconsecrated ground. I haven't done a survey though! Traditions have a habit of letting you down :)

03-07-2008, 10:15 PM
It seems that the residents of Churchill must have broken with tradition, either that or the north and south on google earth is all awry!

Peter Goodey
04-07-2008, 6:32 AM
Which is what I meant by traditions letting you down.

Guy Etchells
04-07-2008, 3:14 PM
I think you will find that most graveyards have graves all round the church unless physically impossible.

The north side was often thought of as the devil's side, and Lucifer would enter a church through a door in the north wall.

There was also the superstition that this door should be left open during infant baptisms so that any evil spirits could escape and hide in the shadows on the north side of the church.