Ancestor Search

St Peter’s churchyard

Within this secret garden of Frampton Cotterell you may relax on a seat to gaze over fields and woods as you ponder or pray. In the south-east corner of the churchyard is an assortment of weather-worn tombstones amongst trimmed grass shaded by ornamental and mature trees that attract songbirds. Inquisitive persons who wander amongst the graves get a sense of the past while reading references to hatters, quarrymen and yeomen, and discover a doctor, solicitor, auctioneer and a naval officer. Northwoods private asylum was significant in the 19th century so gets a mention. In the north-east corner see memorials in Portland stone with regimental crests that mark graves of men who died in War for their Country. Some gravestones list children who perished before antibiotics and are remembered by sorrowing parents.

The spreadsheet of 438 entries is constructed to be user-friendly to family historians and is divided into three sections, A to G (95KB) H to P (98KB) and R to Z (74KB). A full record is available and enquiries are welcome to locate a specific grave.

Locating a grave. Since there are nearly 500 graves in St Peter’s churchyard they are subdivided into four sectors – N north, W west, S south, SE south-east. The diagram shows this layout and indicates how position of each grave was recorded. They are numbered sequentially along each row starting from south-east corner of each sector, with graves along the south perimeter having a * beside family name. Symbols are used to identify tombstones using the following key: –

Hd – headstone Hz – flat stone or rectangular surround
X – vertical cross Plr – pillar
plaq – square plaque Ch – chest tomb
flor – flower container or plot

St Saviour’s churchyard

St Saviour’s is the ecclesiastical Parish of Coalpit Heath constituted in 1845 for the pastoral care of colliers whose lengthy working hours made it difficult for them to attend St Peter’s Church situated on other side of the hill. A high proportion of Frampton Cotterell Civil Parish is encompassed within newer Coalpit Heath so look for many village ancestors here. The original Victorian graveyard was filled within 85 years, then an extension was dedicated in December 1922 where the burials have proceeded in orderly rows. The war memorial cross is central within the extension and is inscribed with more deaths for 2nd World War than the Great War, which is unusual. This churchyard is immaculate with its trimmed grass and maintained trees. The graveyard was surveyed having each tombstone meticulously drawn and numbered for easier location. Maureen Thompson (registrar) has compiled full records with precise dates and inscriptions for individual graves.

The spreadsheet of 606 entries is constructed to be user-friendly to family historians and is divided into four sections, A to C (78KB) D to H (108KB) I to P (87KB) and R to Z (100KB). There have been more than 650 burials and the commonest village names are Dando, Cook, Tovey, Newman & Dutfield. Enquiries are welcome for related burials of a given surname also for fuller biographical details.

Zion graveyard

The first Zion Chapel was built 1795 with a graveyard accessed via Upper Chapel Lane. When the larger Zion Church was built burials continued until the 1940s with interments since in existing plots. The graveyard became overgrown with invasive weeds making it unsightly and dangerous. After publicity the Church authorities removed gravestones during 1985 converting this to a garden of remembrance, while headstones bearing legible inscriptions were fixed along one wall. Shrubs provide food and nesting for birds and grass is above 4 inches to encourage meadow flowers to grow.

A Plan was made of each grave position with a register compiled using legible inscriptions. This spreadsheet of 161 entries (117 KB) records the burial details for 142 graves, but there were a further 61 graves for which there were no clear inscriptions.