Saturday, 26 November 2016

Wednesday 23rd November 2016

It was bitterly cold but beautifully bright and sunny, with vibrant yellow autumn leaves still fluttering above us in the trees.

We got a lot of work done, and apart from 3 stones which need RTI photography the survey of the North side is now complete.
That just leaves some un-marked plots on the south to finish and we will have met our target to finish all the fieldwork by Christmas!

While we were having our morning coffee to warm up, a large class of children from Embsay Primary School visited the church as part of their First World War project – they came to look for memorials within the church and outside in the churchyard. They were so well behaved, and attentive to the teacher, and seemed to really enjoy hunting for the little memorials scattered around the place. We were very impressed with their enthusiasm combined with quiet and respectful demeanour.

Jane Lunnon

Friday, 18 November 2016

Thursday 18 November 2016

At the invitation of Long Preston Heritage Group three of us visited Long Preston today to tell them about our churchyard survey project at Embsay. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and were well fed with plenty of home-made cakes.

Members of the committee and a couple of other interested local residents listened patiently to our three presentations – Sue gave an overview of the way the project has been managed and evolved over the past two years or so; Jane explained how the data collected and photographic collection can be analysed for a broader understanding of the cultural and social significance of the gravestones; and Alan explained the technique of RTI photography which has proved so useful in the project.
Sue chats about the project while Alan sets up the RTI demo
For the afternoon, we had planned a practical demonstration of RTI but the persistent rain meant we were driven indoors. So Alan set up a demo of the technique inside the church where a very lovely Jacobean bench-seat provided a good substitute for a gravestone.
Alan, Sue & Tony run the RTI demo inside Long Preston church
Some of the Long Preston Group then came back with us to the village hall where Alan wowed them with a demonstration of the RTI Viewer software.

We hope very much that the Long Preston Heritage Group will be inspired to run their own churchyard survey, and look forward to sharing our experience with them if they decide to go ahead.

Our thanks to them all for showing such an interest in our project and giving us such a warm welcome.

Jane Lunnon 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Wednesday 16th November 2016

I know we’re always going on about the weather but we are  British, and churchyard surveying does mean working outdoors – if it’s cold, wet and windy you get pretty cold standing around in a graveyard!!

Rained off this morning, three brave souls among us ventured out in the autumn sunshine of the afternoon to continue recording on the North side. At first it was fine – a bit chilly, but fine, so long as we wrapped up warm with fleecy jackets, woolly hats, caggys and gloves.
Wrapped up warm!
We spent a little time inside the church in the rather unexpected pursuit of lifting a wet carpet to dry off the wooden floor underneath after a leak from the water boiler in the kitchen. Lots and lots of newspaper put down to soak it up.

Gorgeous autumn colours of fallen leaves
Back outside as the afternoon progressed it got colder, breezier and wetter – we finished our target of grave plots just in time – the sun had gone, the drizzle was becoming more like rain, and the wind was blowing our tape into curves, making triangulation rather awkward. 

Quite a good day’s work was done though.

Jane Lunnon. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Wednesday 2nd November 2016.

This was the first day since last winter that we could really feel the crisp, fresh autumn chill. But it was a beautiful sunny day – not ideal for RTI, but nice for general surveying and photography of the gravestones.

We had several visitors in the morning – a group of ramblers popped in for a quick look at the church, before they set off for their walk; and a couple came looking for the grave of a relative as part of their family history research. We had an interesting chat with them and were able to exchange information for each other’s genealogical databases.  

Surveying then continued, and we did well almost completing 2 more rows of grave plots, before the light began to go and the cold drove us back inside.

Jane Lunnon 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Wednesday 26 October 2016.
As Jane is away I have the pleasure of writing the blog this week.
Well just a select three today with Alan newly back from his travels in Iran, Tony and Me(Sue) on super cloudy day for RTI. It also meant we had lots of cake and Alan brought back some from Iran too. Sorry Jane you missed out!
We spent the day RTI’ing, you have to be fit for the kerb stone graves as the string holder (Me) spent a lot of time kneeling! As Jane was away there was no one to take any embarrassing photographs phew! Though I did manage to take a picture of my feet, not sure why! Tony and Alan did do some work, here is the photograph to prove this.
 The blue canister hanging from the tripod is filled with sand, Alan’s invention to weigh the tripod down when it is windy so it does not move, as this affects the RTI results.

We also surveyed a rather beautiful marble grave made by J Lowe of Skipton that dates from about 1907. The flower carvings are especially fine.
Our friendly Robin was absent today maybe too cold, but the owls have been busy judging by the number of owl pellets on the ground by the tower.

Only 60 more graves to survey on the North side, hopefully we will complete this by the end of November.
Sue Stearn.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Wednesday 19 October 2016

On Saturday St Mary’s Church, Embsay, held an Open Day  to tell the village all about our Heritage Lottery funded. To packed pews, Rev. Louise provided an outline of the project, including the roof repairs, followed by Sue Stearn, our indefatigable project co-ordinator, who impressed the audience with a whirlwind tour of the churchyard survey and RTI photography.
A really interesting talk was given by the stone mason, David Lamb, who had worked on the cross on the church roof – telling us how he developed his skills as a heritage craftsman. His display of craftsmen’s tools drew quite a bit of interest from people afterwards who went over to chat with him.
After an excellent buffet lunch, David Turner and I ran two churchyard tours which we think went very well. At least everyone stayed to the end!
The occasion also served as a book launch for the revised and updated history of the parish church

Today our weekly Wednesday survey day was a little different to the usual as we were joined for the day by Richard and Melvyn from nearby Long Preston. They had come to spend the day learning about our churchyard survey project at St Mary’s, Embsay. As members of the Long Preston Heritage Group, they are very interested in what we are doing, and so they had come along to find out just what a local churchyard survey involves.
We had a really nice day with them both – Richard missed out on the lunchtime cakes as he nipped home to visit his parents who live in Embsay – but otherwise we had plenty of opportunity to chat about the logistics of a survey like ours, the joys and the pitfalls, and how we hope to develop our current work at St Mary’s. 

They picked up the clipboards and tape measures and mucked right in, under the occasional watchful eye of our friendly robin who popped by a few brief times.
We are looking forward to running a workshop at Long Preston soon at which we hope to encourage the Heritage Group there to undertake a similar survey of their own churchyard.
We also had the pleasure of watching the stone masons at work on the roof, installing the new mounting for the cross which stands on the roof. David Lamb, the stone mason, is highly experienced in heritage work at churches and cathedrals, so St Mary’s is very lucky to have him working on the cross.

Jane Lunnon

Monday, 17 October 2016

12 October 2016

A chilly day - autumn definitely in the air now; and that means the wasps have disappeared at last, and we could get to work back in the middle of the North section. 

Some of the burial plots around here are little more than low kerbstones, without any headstone, so they were hidden under the grass. While Tony got the mower out to prepare the churchyard for the open day this coming weekend, David Eastwood got busy with the shears to cut away some of the grass obscuring the inscriptions on the graves we were surveying today. 

Despite the occasional spit and spot of rain, and some strong winds - which made triangulation somewhat difficult - we did manage to complete a fair few measurements and photographs. 

We missed the robin who didn't turn up for us today - perhaps it found the weather too inclement for its liking. 

Jane Lunnon