In 2021, the Parochial Church Council of St Nicholas Church commissioned us to map the churchyard and record the memorial inscriptions.
Whilst drawing the plan of the churchyard was comparatively straightforward, the inscriptions were more of a challenge as many are now barely readable. Indeed, a good proportion of them may well be completely lost over the next few years so, for many, the survey has been done in the nick of time.
Reading the older memorials was quite difficult at first but, as the survey progressed, our eyes became used to the poor state of the lettering and we found that we could go back and successfully read stones that we had previously dismissed as illegible. Because the headstones face east, mid morning on a sunny day was the best time to read them as the shadows showed the lettering at its best.
A torch, some finely powdered earth, a watering can and a cardboard tube were just some of the tools used to decipher the words. Reference to the burial registers also helped us a great deal as they fill in the gaps that have been created by years of weathering, as well as providing plenty of biographical information.
Our efforts were successful and we recorded nearly all of the 90 memorials. Only five defeated us and they have not even a trace of an inscription.
Below are an introduction to the churchyard, the plan and the record of the inscriptions:
Introduction to the churchyard, Compton, Surrey. (pdf)
Memorial inscriptions at St Nicholas church, Compton, Surrey, surname order. (pdf)
Memorial inscriptions at St Nicholas church, Compton, Surrey, numerical order. (pdf)
Churchyard plan St Nicholas church, Compton, Surrey. (jpg)
Compton churchyard management plan. (pdf)
Sally's churchyard gallery:
Robert Eatwell 1780 (jpg), James Hooker, James Older & Henry Barnes (jpg)
and the family of Rev George More Molyneux (jpg).
Who was who: biographies of some Compton people
In surveying the churchyard, we became intrigued by the lives of the people whose memorials we found.