Record Details

NHER Number:34303
Type of record:Monument
Name:St Edmunds churchyard and cemetery

Summary

St Edmunds churchyard contains avenues of lime trees that were probably planted in the 19th century. The longest avenue was shortened in 1965 and ends abruptly at a new retaining wall. When the churchyard was deemed insufficient for burials in 1844 further land was taken in on the west side and the town cemetery was laid out between 1856 and 1863. Twin mortuary chapels and a curator's lodge with central ornamental porch were erected. The cemetery was extended in 1884. The planting of the cemetery and its extension appear to have been formal in style. Original planting survives along the main path of the cemetery and in the north and south boundaries of the cemetery extension.
A drainage trench excavated close to the church in 2015 disturbed several typical Christian burials of probable 18th- or 19th-century date. A brick-built vault and the brick wall of another grave were also partially exposed.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 6134 0324
Map Sheet:TF60SW
Parish:DOWNHAM MARKET, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Churchyard and cemetery.
The land had belonged to the Saye family from at least 1818, except for the churchyard. Ornamental trees and walks laid out in churchyard in 19th century, replanted around 1880. Construction of relief road in 1965 cut off the ends of the avenues of limes. Church Piece to south is still pasture. Cemetery laid out on site of Howdale Plantation in 1856 to 1863, with two mortuary chapels. Extended to north in 1884 and walls altered in 1896. The north section became known as Church side. Dense 'wild area' planting of Irish Yew, holly, Rowan etc. Perhaps with focal point at a Cedar with open areas to boundaries.
See details in (S1).
E. Rose (NLA), 19 March 1999.

St Edmunds churchyard contains avenues of lime trees that were probably planted in the 19th century. The longest avenue was shortened in 1965 and ends abruptly at a new retaining wall. Planting to the east of this remains mostly intact. The rest of the planting is sparse and does not follow any particular design. Church Piece to the east of the church yard is maintained as grassland. When the churchyard was deemed insufficient for burials in 1844 further land was taken in on the west side and the town cemetery was laid out between 1856 and 1863 on part of the former Howdale Plantation. Twin mortuary chapels and a curator's lodge with central ornamental porch were erected. The cemetery was extended in 1884. The main entrance gates and piers have survived as are some of the boundary walls. The planting of the cemetery and its extension appear to have been formal in style. The main path is lined with Irish Yew and Holly and cedar may also be original plantings. Original planting also survives in the north and south boundaries of the cemetery extension. More modern planting may be intended to create a 'wild area'.
See (S1).
M. Dennis (NLA), 28th October 2005.

October 2011. Trial Trench.
Single trench excavation on site of proposed dwelling.
With the exception of a series of 19th-century intercutting quarry pits, no archaeological finds or features were encountered.
See report (S2) and NHER 56798 for further details.
S. Howard (HES), 10 November 2011. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 April 2015.

Much of the area surrounding the cemetery appears to have been disturbed by 19th and 20th century sand extraction, such as the activity recorded at NHER 56798. It is possible that human bone found by a sand pit on The Howdale in 1954 (NHER 2445) could have been redeposited from the churchyard during earlier extraction activity or construction of new dwellings. The earliest portion of St Edmunds Church (NHER 2471) dates to the Norman period.
H. Hamilton (HES), 22 November 2012.

January 2015. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of external drainage works associated with installation of WC and kitchenette within church.
The trenches excavated uncovered three partially articulated human skeleton, part of a brick-built burial vault, a red brick wall thought to be part of a grave and three footstones of 18th- and 19th-century date. The articulated skeletons were identified at the western end of the main trench, close to the church. They were orientated east-to-west with their heads to the west. There was no evidence for coffins or shrouds and no grave cuts were visible. Although no dating evidence was recovered, the dates on the surrounding gravestones suggest these remains were probably of 18th- or 19th-century date. The partially collapsed brick vault lay immediately to the east of these burials. It was constructed with un-frogged bricks suggesting it predated the late 19th century.
See report (S3) for further details.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.202).
P. Watkins (HES), 19 October 2016. Amended 21 June 2019.

Monument Types

  • CEMETERY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • EXTENDED INHUMATION (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GRAVE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VAULT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • GRAVESTONE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Taigel, A. 1997. Norfolk Gardens Trust: Town Gardens Survey - Volume One. Norfolk Gardens Trust.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Payne, D. 2011. Archaeological Evaluation on Land adjacent to St Edmund's Church, Bexwell Road, Downham Market, Norfolk. Archaeoserv.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Summerfield-Hill, C. 2015. Archaeological Observation & Recording Report: St Edmund’s Church, Downham Market, Norfolk. KDK Archaeology.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2020 Norfolk Historic Environment Service