Information about who is buried in the churchyard at St John’s, Hale, is coming to light and is being published online for the first time thanks to work by the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale. Among those whose graves are now mapped and documented in a churchyard that dates back 175 years are John Henry Knight who built the first petroleum carriage for two people in England, and Bishop Sumner who lived in Farnham Castle and built 200 churches in the area.
However there are still some gaps in the information and the parish is asking for help to fill these.
The Reverend Alan Crawley, Joint Rector, says, “This has been a harder task than you might imagine, but it has reached a point where some information is now available to view on the web. It is far from complete, and may be inaccurate in places, but it is a work in progress and needs someone with time to volunteer to finish the task. Could you help build this up, or make it more accurate? If so, please get in touch.”
He continues, “The tools being used for the mapping of the churchyard are all free and public domain – if anyone would like to document another churchyard or cemetery then I would be happy to talk to them about it.”
You can contact Alan by email – email@example.com or by calling him on 01252 820537.
The map can be found online or through their website – https://badshotleaandhale.org/ by choosing from the ‘funerals’ menu at the top.
Churchyards are special places. They often contain a rich diversity of plant and animal life, they are important places for archaeology and history, they often have distinctive and veteran trees and they provide a tranquil place for quiet reflection. The churchyard at St John’s Church in Hale is kept immaculate by a band of hardworking volunteers and their dedication is recognised and enjoyed by many.
Last year, a man wrote this letter to the Revd Alan Crawley, Joint Rector, and accompanied it with a bunch of flowers for a couple of our volunteers, “Since 2008, every four weeks on a Saturday I have driven past St John’s Church in Hale on my way from Kent to Hampshire. Without fail, come rain or shine, snow blizzard, fog or blustery gale, I am always amazed to see two people, …sweeping, cleaning, brushing, washing, collecting leaves and debris, unravelling and coiling extension cables, wheeling barrows and keeping the entrance to the church clean and tidy. Their hard work and dedication is a shining example and a credit to your community.”
The Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Jeremy Ricketts says, “It is always a pleasure to visit Hale Churchyard and see the inspirational work carried out by the volunteers. It brings community together in a fun, thoughtful and spiritual way. It represents the living heart of the Hale community for all to see and enjoy.”
The Revd Alan Crawley comments, “Often people ask me whether it is the best kept churchyard in Surrey. Of course, I don’t know. But I have been told that when the current team started maintaining the churchyard the grass was three feet high. The hours and they dedication they put into keeping it tidy is a credit to them and to us. My fear that the day they stop doing it we may find the grass three feet high again!”