The Foxearth and District Local History Society

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Meetings, announcements and notices for the Foxearth and District Local History Society, and associated organisations. For details of our activities, and for more information on recent events and current programme, please contact Clare Mathieson 01787 311337 or Lynda Rumble 01787 281434.

Visit to Sudbury’s Cemetery and Chapel July 9th, 2019

On our meeting in June, 18 members and guests met at Sudbury Cemetery for a guided talk with Helen Richardson on a project to record Headstones & Memorials.


A team from the Sudbury & District group of The Suffolk Family History Society have been involved since 2005 in a large project to record Monumental Inscriptions in our local churchyards. Head and footstone information can often offer extra information not on burial registers, so helpful for ancestors when researching Family History.

Sudbury’s Cemetery and Chapel dates from 1859. and to accommodate both Conformists and Non-Conformists. Churchyards were becoming rather full so something had to be done. 

Every year the weather takes its toll on the stones so it is important to record information before it is lost. Volunteers work in pairs to decipher and record on to laptops for transferring to the burial index. Copies of these are held at the Cemetery, Record office, Library and by The Family History Society. 

Helen explained that they’ve found different methods to decipher some rather weathered information. We were shown a way to show up some otherwise illegible inscriptions: a small quantity of shaving foam spread over the lettering then scraped off showed clearly what would otherwise be missed. Great care is taken to wash the stones afterwards! The churchyard & stones are treated with great respect.

A map has been made of the cemetery with plot numbers on the plan to help find where a relative is buried.  Information is recorded with plot number, design, shape and description of the stone. All information detail / full name/ when they died/ age/ if an additional family member has been buried in the grave with inscription on the stone is recorded too. Every burial is recorded and the wording gives useful clues about our ancestors' lives & occupations. Sudbury Cemetery holds some interesting examples. 
 eg:
  • Esther, Wife of George Baker H.M. Inland Revenue 1884. 
  • Ronald Greenwood C.B.E.  West Ham United Manager, & English National Football team manager 1977 to 1982 
  • Clive Madgwick, local dentist and painter. (He depicted local pastoral scenes, farmers and fishermen at work. Some of his oil paintings are in the Queen’s collection at Windsor Castle)
  • Thomas Haywood Ticket Collector Sudbury station, fell onto the rails.
  • Joseph George, Landlord of Rose & Crown twinned with
  • William Bailey, landlord of The Four Swans.
  • Anthony Wheeler, Benefactor.


Helen and her team gave us tea, coffees & biscuits afterwards for a chance to discuss the project and see illustrations of the work. The talk and walk through the graveyard / cemetery was a really interesting insight into this valuable project.

If anyone is interested to join the volunteers with the monumental inscriptions work for an hour at a time or all day, no experience is necessary. For More information, please contact  Helen Richardson on 01787 376287

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