Digital Searchable Graveyard Now Available
The graveyard and burial records from the church have been transformed into digital form and are now available at the following link: https://cemeterysearcher.co.uk/search/berwick_st_john.
The site allows you to search the records by name, date of death, age or grave number, and all the graves are displayed on a map which you can browse and click on any grave to see who is buried there.
This is the culmination of 2 years’ work by Yvonne Follett, Sir Robin Ross, Pat Avrell and David Avrell. As a first step, it was necessary to collect the data from headstones in the graveyard. Some were unreadable but, with the aid of a stiff brush, it was amazing what we discovered underneath the weathered stone. This information was logged and referenced to a numbered grave which was drawn on the Google Earth map of the churchyard, supplied by Pear Technology.
The resultant map provided a rough idea only of the location of each grave. So, the next step was to log the exact position of 220 graves. This presented some challenges. For example, we discovered that the west wall of the churchyard has a runout of 5 metres compared with the grids on the Google Earth map. Then, Pythagoras reminded us that, when there is a 45 degree slope of 5 metres, the distance travelled along the horizontal is only 3.5 metres. That had the effect of requiring us to move most of the locations by 1.5 metres! After that we discovered that the location of the ashes area was incorrect, this only after failing several times to correlate the positions of a number of graves at the west end. Then, at the north-east end of the churchyard there is a cluster of graves which starts in one of the rooms of the Old Rectory, according to Google Earth, and, finally, the wall which borders the Old Rectory garden, on the south side of the church, is not straight - it bends. After each iteration Pear Technology updated the map and we continued in this way until we were satisfied that the locations were reasonably accurate. And what have we learned? Next time pay someone with a GPS to come and do the job. It will save a lot of time and preserve our sanity!