All Saints Thelwall is the first church in the Chester diocese to invest in Atlantic Geomatics’ Burial Ground Management System (BGMS) – an interactive, web-based map using the latest technology to hold and protect burial records. The system for All Saints covers an area of just over 0.5 hectares that was digitally surveyed and mapped with all visible monuments photographed. Burial registers were scanned and details uploaded, recording 1687 names from 1784 – 2020. It is now publicly accessible at www.thelwall.burialgrounds.co.uk. The record will be updated quarterly by a member of All Saints’ PCC. The work to date was undertaken at a cost of £2813 as part of our wider church conservation and community heritage project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The BGMS now forms part of our Heritage Record that will help the PCC in churchyard planning and maintenance. While not the primary focus for the project it does complement the valuable work started by Memorials Group volunteers in February 2020, recording burials and researching family histories of those in the original churchyard. Using the technology and services that Atlantic Geomatics could offer during COVID lockdown, total coverage of core details within time and budget deadlines could be achieved.
The BGMS is an important resource for administration and public engagement, helping with:
- enquiries about the location of family graves
- church heritage guides and trails
- local and family history research
- school and youth group projects
The system would be invaluable to preserve the heritage of churches and burial grounds at risk of closure or physical loss through storms, floods, erosion and subsidence,
All Saints’ Thelwall will be sharing its experience of commissioning and using the Burial Ground Management System at a future celebration event for visitors, when restrictions allow. In the meantime, they would be happy to answer questions about how they went about it, the advice they received and the preparations necessary. Initial enquiries should be through Rev Douglas Black, Vicar of All Saints Thelwall at Revdouglasblack@aol.com