CHURCHYARD – HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE:
St. James Church, Finchampstead, was built in the 1130’s and with it an imposing view over Berkshire & the Blackwater valley. In its earlier days the site is thought to have been part of a Roman earthwork predating the 12th century and, being close to the Devil’s Highway, might even be considerably earlier.
The current Churchyard is several acres and is divided into two main areas; the ‘upper’ medieval churchyard (approx half of an acre) that immediately surrounds the Church itself, and the lower churchyard to the east and south of the church. The upper Churchyard is now closed to all burials but the lower Churchyard area, developed during the 18th and 19th century, is still being used for burials and interment of ashes.
In the upper churchyard area the earlier memorials date back to the beginning of the 18th century and there are probably older graves, where no memorials now exist, and where the passage of time has long since decayed the wooden crosses and grave markers.
The main entrance to the Churchyard is at the north-eastern corner of the campus via two iron gates beside which is our local water tap. The churchyard is a peaceful and tranquil place in a rural setting. It has a mix of trees and shrubs and is maintained by the Helen Taylor Churchyard Trust who fund all the regular grass cutting and edge strimming. The Churchyard Gardening Club maintains the rest of the Churchyard including the re-landscaping needed from time to time as the trees and shrubs continue growing. It is a big garden and takes a lot of time. We also try to keep the memorials in good order and comply with Health & safety regulations.
The Gardening Club meet on the 1st & 3rd THURSDAY in the month from 10:00am to 12:00am (2 hours). Anyone interested in helping would be welcome to join the team either regularly or just when time allows.
The Gardening Club organiser will direct & prioritise jobs and tasks to match club member’s interests, skills & abilities and appropriate to the weather/seasons. Also please bring ideas on how to maintain its colourful flora and rustic landscape in keeping with rural peace and tranquillity.
Come and give us a hand – It’s a big Garden!!!
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Call Ed Sampson on 0118 973 2069