How you can help preserve historic tombs in Yarmouth churchyards

A PROJECT is currently underway to preserve historic tombs and monuments in the churchyard of Great Yarmouth Minster and the old cemetery – including that of the founder of the Hippodrome. Conservation work will start early next year and Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust volunteers have already cleared tombs and stones of intrusive ivy and saplings. Part of the conservation work will incorporate a training programme for local residents running from January to June.

The Trust hopes to have 20 people working in two groups of ten on the first module starting in the third week of January. One group on Mondays and the other on Tuesdays over 10 weeks. The first module will provide hands-on training in surveying and specification, including learning how to identify tomb and monument types, structures and materials, learning about decay mechanisms and repair methods, producing sketches, photographs and measured drawings, and archiving records.

The second module starting March 25 will deliver hands-on training in repair techniques, delivered by conservation specialists, and the participants will select and repair six monuments in the cemeteries. Anyone interested, can go along to an informal meeting on Tuesday, December 4 at 10.30am in the Middlegate Room at Yarmouth Central Library, to find out more and see if these activities might be something to enjoy.

The Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries began to survey the old St Nicholas churchyard on December 1. Amazingly, no measured plan exists, and the Friends will be measuring the site and referencing and plotting the tombs and monuments on the plans.

This will enable them to make a complete record and some of the Friends are interested in following this up with some research on wildlife, recording and conservation of monuments conservation.

For more information about the cemeteries project, how to become a Friend of the Cemeteries or join the conservation training programme, go to website www.greatyarmouth or contact Bridget at the Preservation Trust, Trafalgar House, Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2QG, call 07818557393 or 01493 846195, or email