We’re really fortunate at St Mary’s to have a large churchyard, the only “open” one locally. In Warsash local people can be buried or interred close to where their loved ones live, and there’s a steady stream of visitors to the churchyard, to care for the graves or just to reflect or pray. We value being able to serve our village community in this way. The purpose of this page is to explain the latest developments in the way forward for future use of our tranquil and very well used churchyard.
Sadly, as was mentioned in November 2016’s Parish News, after 145 years of continuous use our churchyard is now almost full. We held a period of consultation on our proposals for keeping it open at the end of 2015, which included articles in the local press and even an interview on local cable TV! The proposals attracted only favourable comment and the good news is that the PCC’s proposals were approved by the Diocese and have now been implemented.
The major impact on the graveyard itself has been the creation of a beautiful new Garden of Remembrance (a Memorial Garden), for the perpetual interment of ashes. The design the PCC approved is a landscaped area at the end of the eastern path in the churchyard in the shape of a Celtic Cross. There is a central circular bench with a tree in the middle so that people can rest and remember their loved ones in the heart of the Garden. The crowns of the surrounding trees have been raised to provide more light and space, and the accumulated earth and compost heaps that have previously formed a bank at the eastern end of the churchyard have been reduced. A small raised bank has been retained to provide some privacy from the football pitches.
A dedication of the new Garden of Remembrance took place during the 10am morning service on Sunday 9th July 2017. Ashes now will be interred in one of the four grassed segments without individual memorial tablets or any marking of where ashes have been placed. Instead, people’s names will be recorded in a Book of Remembrance displayed in the church, which is open from 9am-5pm each day. Such books are now in common use in modern burial sites to make suitable records of those interred there. The Book is displayed in a custom-built display case which has been designed to make use of some of the wrought iron-work from the old choir pews, thus providing a nice link with the history of the church.
The work on the Garden of Remembrance was completed in March 2017. The cost of providing this new facility was around £17k which was met by our worshipping community; St Mary’s has no other sources of income. Many in the local community welcomed the opportunity to partner with us in financing this facility for the benefit of us all in the years to come. Our thanks to everyone who has contributed to this important project.
Photos from the creation of the Garden of Remembrance below:-