Saturday, 9 December 2017

Wednesday 6th December 2017

We had a lovely day today – chatting with Gareth and Nicole Beale about their exciting new project “Discovering England’s burial spaces”. We are genuinely really pleased that they have chosen us as one of their case studies. As they develop a model for community groups to adopt for graveyard surveys and recording, we hope our experiences and the lessons we have learned as a small local heritage group will prove helpful to Gareth and Nicole.

We had an interesting discussion about authority files for describing gravestones – physical appearance, condition monitoring and design features – as well as ideas on survey form structures, and the practicalities of using mobile apps over paper forms. A very important aspect of the project is that of affordable data storage and archiving which is something we are very concerned about. 

The recent CBA (Yorkshire) showcase for community heritage groups had made us very aware of the need for sharing good practice and project findings not only between local groups, but also with academics. Publication and dissemination is a vital component of research, yet local case studies are susceptible to being unnoticed and unappreciated beyond their local community.   
Ralph decidedly unimpressed with discussions on database modelling
  We look forward to taking part in the project.

Jane Lunnon

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Thursday 30 November 2017

We have just spent 2 days brushing up on our RTI photography in 2 burial grounds.

On Wednesday we went to Skipton – at the invitation of Jean Robinson, of the Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground we took a series of RTI sequences for 6 gravestones considered to be most at risk from weathering over this coming winter.

Erosion typical of Raikes Road Burial Ground
We were surprised that despite this burial ground being only 2 miles from Embsay, and opened at about the same time as St Mary’s churchyard, the nature and scale of erosion was very different. The main problem at St Mary’s, Embsay, is delamination, while at Raikes Road the stones are more likely to be weathered, the lettering blurred and fuzzy due to a powdery, friable granulation presumably caused by wind and rain. Raikes Road stands on a slope, facing towards the town. Perhaps this combined with a different quality of the stone used by Skipton masons has something to do with it – although some of the masons in Skipton also provided stones for Embsay churchyard. 

It was a cold, crisp day and the light was perfect for RTI. We finished off all 6 gravestones by lunch-time, and were able to get back to Embsay in time for a hearty, warming pub lunch at the Elm Tree Inn.

And so to Kettlewell Thursday. We arrived just after lunchtime, in order to avoid the very low temperatures of the morning. We took advantage of the brief “warmer” spell over the next couple of hours to set up our horizontal camera beam and have another go at the listed gravestone. We had taken RTI photos of this earlier in the year, but hadn’t been fully satisfied with the results. This time we didn’t try to fill the frame with the whole grave slab, but took two sets of photos to enable us to zoom in closer to the details of the carving. We also managed to avoid the bright sunlight of last spring’s session. Besides, this time when the sun did briefly shine, followed by a snow flurry, we were prepared with our umbrella attached to a tripod – although Sue did somehow manage to turn the umbrella inside out at first!

Using the horizontal beam for a ledger stone
Hopefully this will produce better results. The only problem is that we were unable to do anything about the ice embedded into the surface of the grave stone – it was so hard and thick that we couldn’t remove it without risking damage to the stone, so had to leave it in. It will be interesting to see how this new problem affects the results.

Jane Lunnon