GPS helps to write cemetery history

26/12/2018

Twenty-first century technology, as used by Channel 4's 'Time Team', has been helping a community discover how their village cemetery was laid out over a century ago.

A team from the Nottingham-based Technics Group has used ground-penetrating radar and other techniques to survey an area where there are no records of burials.

The land for the cemetery was acquired in 1870 and divided into two areas separated by a central path. Members of the Anglican tradition were buried to the west and those of non-conformist denominations to the east. On this eastern side, there is an open space with no memorials which was the subject of the investigation.

'Although the cemetery was extended to the west in the 1950s,' says Committee Chair, Simon Ford, 'we are now running out of space. We wanted to know whether this area could be available for future burials.'

The survey took readings from different depths, and although there is always some uncertainty over interpretation, it seems most of the area has not been used previously for interments. 

The (image, right) was clearly defined before the survey commenced to ensure there was no intrusion into where there are later interments.  More research is planned but it seems that this area can be used for future interments.

The Billesdon & Rolleston Joint Burials Committee is responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery.  In 2017, the lychgate was restored and repainted, and in 2018, an interpretative panel, designed by The Art Department, Nottingham, was installed with assistance from the Billesdon Local History Group.