'Fading stones need rescuing'

PUBLISHED: 15:27 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:25 03 July 2010

Conservationists are said to be blocking moves to rescue old gravestones in Great Yarmouth's St Nicholas cemetery where once-ornate memorials are being eroded by seaside weather.

Conservationists are said to be blocking moves to rescue old gravestones in Great Yarmouth's St Nicholas cemetery where once-ornate memorials are being eroded by seaside weather.

Some of the once-striking reminders of lives lived are fading into anonymity with the weathering effects of sand and salt acting like a file on the faces of memorials.

Among them is a headstone to a child killed in the infamous suspension-bridge disaster. The tragedy is carved in relief but is today barely visible and totally missed by some who go to see it.

Canon Michael Woods said the vivid depiction which showed the bridge collapsing and children pouring into the water was being lost to the borough, along with two others which needed urgent restoration.

He said: “One child obviously had wealthy parents who had the foresight and generosity to erect the memorial and record the whole event. But over the years the headstone is being worn away by weather and it is becoming difficult to see, but we are not allowed to restore it. I would like to have it re-cut - what is the point of having a historic memorial that is no longer as it was in those days? There are three stones in all that are of particular concern but we have been told no, even though they are not over the bodies of the people they commemorate.”

Borough conservation officer Darren Barker said there was a group of seven chest stones and some individual ones that were listed by English Heritage. Among them are:

A stone commemorating David Bartleman who in 1781 nobly defended himself to his death against pirates.

A memorial to George Beloe, nine, who drowned in the suspension-bridge disaster of 1845 when people flocked to see a man being pulled along in a barrel by swans.

A 1834 grave to William Palmer with railings around it.

An early 18th-century limestone headstone with an angel and skull and illegible inscription.

Mr Barker said the erosion of headstones was a national problem addressed by English Heritage in its report Paradise Preserved. He said they advised against re-cutting as it removed original material and would need re-inscribing more quickly because newer surfaces tended to weather faster.

He said EH's policy was to preserve through photographs which could be displayed in the church. There were ways, he added, to slow down the process of decay but the general philosophy was to accept it was going to happen.

Senior conservation officer Stephen Earl said: “Historically they are incredibly important and tell an important story and we do not want to lose that information. It all adds to the benefit of highlighting Great Yarmouth as a historic town - it's not just about buildings, it's the people and events as well.”

Other News


A man who fought testicular cancer has walked a gruelling 60km with a ball and chain to demonstrate the mental strain of fighting the illness.


A shop worker from Norfolk is currently one of the front runners in this year’s Miss England competition.


A fundraising page has been set up for a wandering iguana found thin and thirsty in Gorleston.


The sister of murder victim Hannah Witheridge has described as an “absolute atrocity” the actions of a tormenter troll who set up a “dark and unusual” fake profile in her name.

Most Read

Wed, 12:29

Police are appealing for help to trace a woman following a theft in Great Yarmouth.

Read more
Tue, 13:10

The man who was killed in a fatal stabbing in Great Yarmouth has been named.

Read more
Norwich Magistrates Court
Yesterday, 14:16

A young girl left severely disabled after mistakes were made during her birth at a Norfolk hospital will receive an extra £600,000 in damages.

Read more
Wed, 12:20

Residents in Great Yarmouth will be able to enjoy having their favourite fast food orders delivered right to their doorstep thanks to a new delivery service.

Read more
Wed, 14:51

Homes are going up on a pub’s garden as it looks for ways to thrive.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 10°C

min temp: 8°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy