The “Old Plot”

Graves in Plot B

Graves in Plot B

In 1882, as the Churchyard of All Saints was, to all intents and purposes, full, Ruskington Parish Council decided to purchase land in Sleaford Road for a new cemetery for the Parish.

This site, later extended, is still in use though (2018) it is almost full with only 3 years left for Burials from the village.

At the time the new site was chosen it lay about 250 m. South of the village, with plenty of land around it, but is now fully incorporated in the built-up area, so it is impossible to expand. A new Cemetery site for the village is currently being sought [2018].

The ‘Old Plot’

centre-path-1

Central path between Plots A and B, leading to War Memorial and Lych Gate

(and for that matter the ‘New Plot’) is laid out in a symmetrical pattern with a west-east central pathway and side paths separating the main plots from the borders. Hence there are seven distinct areas in the Plot.

[The “Old Plot” was later extended, towards the end of 1930, into the “New Plot” to the east. Both Plots also have a ‘North’, ‘South’, ‘East’ and ‘West’ Border.]

The layout of the Old Plot is shown on the adapted O.S. Map extract below:

os-map-old-plot-1

  • Plot A – comprising 309 grave sites;
  • Plot B – comprising 208 sites;
  • Plot C – extending from Plot B with 196 plots, set aside for children’s burials;
  • West Border – either side of the entrance with 76 plots, less those in the centre not used to allow for access. Graves 15 – 20 occupy the Myers family vault – the only consecrated ground in the Cemetery (see: “Charles Myers Booklet” in Sources below);
  • East Border – 74 plots, less 10 unused for access and the maintenance area;
  • North Border – 96 sites, although every Grave numbered with a multiple of ‘4’ has not been used due to their proximity to the northern boundary hedge, and
  • South Border – 88 sites, in the centre of which is found the impressive collection of the Pattinson family plots.

Scroll down for more information about each of these areas:

Accessing the Records:

At the foot of this page are details of how to access spreadsheets to search who is buried and commemorated in the ‘Old Plot’. There is also details of accessing a composite plan of where each grave site is located within the Cemetery.

************************************

In the Beginning …. The last burial in the Churchyard of All Saints’ was Hephzibah Ogden, who died on the 25th April 1883 and her funeral and interment was conducted by Rev. Arthur Myers two days later. The Parish Register recording her death bears the accompanying annotation “Last in Churchyard“.

The next Parish Register entry is for 4 year old Lizzie Arabella Robinson, who, on 15 May 1883, was the first to be buried in the new Cemetery on Sleaford Road, in Grave C.1. We can date the opening of Ruskington Communal Cemetery, therefore, to between these two dates – 25 April and 15 May 1883 – most probably the Communal Cemetery would have opened on 1 May 1883.

The First Five Burials in Ruskington Cemetery in 1883 (from Parish Register)

The First Five Burials in Ruskington Cemetery in 1883 (from Parish Register)

earliest-gravesOf these earliest burials only one, Elizabeth Franklin, buried in Grave A.3., has a surviving headstone. made of sandstone and currently partly obscured by a hedge.

[Her husband, Bailey, was buried with her after his death, aged 75, on 26 December, 2 years later.]

Around the top is the legend: “In Affectionate Remembrance” with “Prepare to Meet Thy God” at the bottom.

None of the early children’s burials are so commemorated, resulting in the large empty site in the south-east corner of Section ‘C’ – a Section designated from the start as an area for the burials of the village’s young people.

Orientation: All burials are oriented in a general west –> east direction, i.e. with the headstone at the west end of the individual grave plot, and the feet of the interred to the east. [‘General‘ as the overall Cemetery orientation is more WSW –> ENE, rather than a true West –> East!]

Since Medieval times this has been the traditional positioning for Christian burials with the head to the west and the feet pointing east. The most common explanation for this was recorded by the Augustinian monk, John Mirk, in the 15th Century – that Christ will return from the East on the Day of Judgement and the dead will rise towards him: ” For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. ” (Matthew 24:27)

e-border-4In the case of the East Border headstones are arranged facing the path, i.e. facing west, for clarity, but convention was not abandoned.

As the photo shows, the burials were arranged with the feet to the east and the Grave behind the back of the headstone. The inscription is, therefore, visible from the access path, but the body still lies in a west-> east direction.

Water Table: Because of the high water table in this area most of the burials in Ruskington Cemetery are single depth, i.e. contain only one burial. This has tended to mean that many families often had the foresight to purchase side-by-side plots, hence there can sometimes be a large time difference between adjacent burials.

For example: John Cook (Grave: A.232) was 74 years old when he died in April 1902. However, his wife, Sarah Ann, was not buried alongside him in Grave A.233 until her death, aged 97, in September 1935. [One exception to the rule, however, is Martha Tong, died September 1913, aged 33, and buried Grave: A.261. She was joined by her husband, Frederick, in the same Grave, 54 years later in November 1967, when he died aged 84.]

*******************

Plot A:

plot-a-4This Plot was the first to be used, along with Plot C (for young people). It consists of 21 rows of Graves, mostly containing 15 Graves each.

A section near the gateway, with a similar section of Plot B, was used in 1922 to build the War Memorial. As a result burial Plots in Rows 20 and 21 were reduced to 14 and 11 respectively.

There are 309 Graves in Plot A, ranging from the date of the Cemetery opening – 67 year old Elizabeth Wakefield, buried in Grave A.1 on 30 May 1883, to 11 year old Bessie Baldock (Grave A.309) who died just before Christmas 1925.

Perhaps strangely this Plot was filled “from the back” in that the earliest burials were in the back-right (S.E.) corner, working towards the entrance and ending in the front-left (N.W.) corner.

There were, of course, many more subsequent burials as families took up their options to use pre-paid family plots – as explained above. There are still about 12 unattached plots in this Section, but there have been no new burials in the Plot since Frederick Tong (see above), buried with his wife almost 50 years ago, in November 1967. [N.B. Frederick’s brother, Trooper Henry Tong, is commemorated on our sister site, “Ruskington War Memorials“.]

jane-glenn-portraitOne burial in this Plot, Jane Glenn,  Grave A. 296, is worthy of further note. During 1917, after her father bought her a Diary, she kept an account of life in the village, including news of Private William Glenn, her cousin, and his wounding in action and subsequent treatment during World War 1.

lookat …Read more about William on our sister site – Ruskington War MemorialsCLICK his name above.

Sadly, Jane did not survive to see her cousin’s return. She died, aged 34, on 12 December 1918 in the Influenza epidemic of that year and is buried in  Grave A. 296.

Sadly, her grave was in disrepair but the author, in conjunction with Ruskington Parish Council is attempting to have it restored. Currently her Grave has been cleaned and put back together so that the inscriptions can be read. All that remains is for her memorial cross to be re-attached to the base plinth

The inscriptions read: “In Loving Memory of Jane”, although a footnote in her re-published diary (see Sources below) states that the inscription also adds: “Beloved daughter of H.R. and M.A. Glenn. Fell Asleep in Jesus Dec. 12 1918. Aged 34 years.” (see below)

N.B. Jane’s parents, Henry Robert and Mary Ann (née Hall) Glenn,  are buried together in New Plot Graves D.26 & 27.

In more recent times the Parish Council has allowed ‘Cremation Burials’ [the internment of cremated remains] to take place in front the graves at the eastern end of Plot A, bordering the path.

Plot B:

plot-b-2-comThis Plot takes up approximately two-thirds of the area on the other side of the central path, which together with Plot C forms a mirror image in dimensions to Plot A.

Plot B has 14 rows of Graves, containing 15 Graves each. [The remaining area, taken up by Plot C has smaller plots, having been set aside for young people.]

Burials began around October 1902 when Jane Tong, aged 49, was buried in Grave B.150, and, as with Plot A worked towards the entrance from back-right to front-left. The last plot was reached in early 1917. The caveat mentioned above about subsequent later burials of family members also applies.

In about 1920, however, presumably it was found that the area (Plot C) that had been left for children’s burials was not going to be fully used, so further burials of adults began, moving back from the 1902/3 line (Graves 150-163). 68 year old Ann Scott (Grave 164) was the first to be interred in this new phase, which continued, working away from the entrance, until the two Plots, B and C, joined together, about May 1926 (Annie Mary Cock, aged 38, Grave B.208.).

Plot C:

plot-c-1This Plot lies adjacent to and to the East of Section B, with no discernable border. It was originally designated for children, in fact the first ever burial in the New Cemetery was that of a child, 4 year old Lizzie Arabella Robinson, buried in Grave C.1. on 15 May 1883.

As the photo shows, few of these infant burials received a headstone. The two in the foreground are part of Section B and those to the rear belong to the East Border.

As with the other Plots, above, burials began in the back-right (South-east) corner and progressed towards the entrance, finishing in the front-left (North-west) corner. Being smaller Grave Plots, Section C consists of 10 rows, each 20 Graves wide. As stated above, Lizzie Robinson occupies Grave C.1. and the last burial was, coincidentally, yet another of the Tong family – 1 month old Nigel Thomas Tong, on 25 July 1922. [Nigel was the son of Frederick Tong – see above.]

In more recent times the Parish Council has allowed ‘Cremation Burials’ [the internment of cremated remains] to take place in front the graves at the eastern end of Plot C, bordering the path.

West Border:

w-border-1The West Border occupies a narrow strip, two Graves deep, which are also oriented west->east. either side of the entrance gate.

The Cemetery Plan indicates a possible 76 burial plots, although there is a large unoccupied area in the centre to accommodate the entrance and its lych-gate, erected in 1902 to commemorate the life of Queen Victoria.

The Myers Graves:

myers-grave-4

The Myers Family Vault

A significant portion of the West Border (Graves 15 – 20) is taken up by the Myers family vault, totally unique among Cemetery burials. The Rev Arthur Myers was Vicar of the Parish from 1870 to 1892 and when he died on 19 March 1916 a request was made by his family for him to buried in the Chancel of All Saints’ Church.

This was not possible as the Church and its Yard was closed for burials in 1883 and it would have needed an Act of Parliament to re-open it!

Arthur’s son applied to Mr John Reast, a member of the Parish Council to see if it was possible to buy a piece of ground in the Cemetery and have it consecrated. He wrote: “As this had been strenuously opposed in the past, I was utterly astonished when with the full consent of the Council this was granted. I therefore commissioned John Reast to build a Vault capable of holding 6 persons (after buying the ground) and in this his [Arthur’s] burial took place. ” The Grave, or Vault, was almost immediately consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln and is, therefore, the only consecrated grave in the whole Cemetery. [See: Sources below]

The Cemetery Vault consists of a brick vault to hold six coffins and is covered by a solid block of Granite about 6 inches [15 cms.] thick, undressed and rough surface, but with six polished spaces for inscriptions. Subsequent members of the Myers family were interred in the Vault until all six places were taken up.

Commemorative Tablets on the Myers Vault

Along with Arthur himself (born 3 April 1847, died 9 March 1916), also buried in the vault are his second son, Charles Audrey Myers, “Lieutenant R.S.C. 1914 – 18 War” (died 23 July 1959, aged 93, i.e. born 15 January 1866); his wife Florence Gwendoline (died 12 November 1986) and their son, Charles Arthur (29 September 1923 – 27 February 1998) and Charlotte Rowena, “Beloved wife of Charles Arthur“, born 12 October 1912, died 4 August 2005.

Edith Paulina (née Pickering) Myers, wife of Arthur, is commemorated on the Vault lid, even though – as the inscription reads – she is buried near Aberdeen. When she died on 26 February 1953 she was 2 months from her 101 birthday.

readmore…. Rev. Arthur Myers and life in the Village during his time, as remembered by his son, Charles Myers.

North Border:

Then-border-1 North Border of the Old Plot lies between North boundary hedge and the access path bordering Plot A.

There 96 Graves in this section, oriented west->east and arranged in 24 rows, 4 Graves wide, although in practice Graves numbered as a multiple of ‘4’ have not been used due to their proximity to the northern boundary hedge.

The earliest burial, 63 year old Ann Taylor, dates from June 1896 (Grave 3) and burials cover a wide range of dates, although most burials in the North Border ended in the mid 1930s.

As with other Sections there were later burials where families had purchased adjacent plots, e.g. 92 year old Minnie Francis, buried in Grave 87 in May 1978, alongside her mother, Mary Ann, Grave 86, who died in January 1926 aged 81.

spinks-m-w-1The North Border also contains one of only two Commonwealth War Graves to be found in the Cemetery, although the Grave of Private Morriss Wilson Spinks (Grave 13) does not have the usual CWGC headstone, but a more ornate family grave.

lookat CLICK on Maurice’s name to go our sister site, Ruskington War Memorials, for more details of his service.

 

East Border:

e-border-2As stated above (see: ‘Orientation‘) Graves in this border are still laid out in a general west –> east direction, although headstone are positioned to face west, towards the access path.

As with the West Border, Graves lie two deep and there are 74 individual plots in all. However, the earliest numbered ones. Graves 1 – 12, remain unused, being taken up by the maintenance area and the southern access path. Rather than have family plots side-by-side as in other areas, the tendency here was to buy adjacent plots one behind the other.

The earliest burials in the East Border tended to be at the ends of the access paths. For example, one year old Mary Dingwall Thomson was buried in Grave 46 on 11 July 1903, to the rear of the grave to be occupied 7 years later by her grandmother, Mary Ann Thomson, aged 72 when she died in January 1910. These graves lie at the far end of the central access path. Other graves in this period were similarly placed at the end of the northern and southern paths and the grave plots in between infilled up to the early 1930s.

e-border-6In more recent times the Parish Council has allowed ‘Cremation Burials’, the internment of cremated remains, to take place in front the headstones, bordering the path. [Although really they are behind the graves!]

As the photograph, left, shows, some of these new sites have quite elaborate headstones, more usually seen with internments.

wainer-a-family-1Graves 56 and 58 contain the remains of Helen and Tom Wainer. Helen died in 1914 and Tom in 1925. The inscription on the base of their grave states that their son, Arthur Wainer, was: “Killed in Action at Inverness Copse”.

Private Arthur Wainer was killed in action on 2 October 1917 whilst serving with the 8th Battalion, Yorks and Lancaster Regiment. He is one of a number of local men who are buried or commemorated on the battlefield, but remembered on their parents’ headstones.

lookat CLICK on Arthur’s name to go our sister site, Ruskington War Memorials, for more details of his service.

South Border:

s-border-1Almost a mirror image of the North Border on the opposite side of the ‘Old Plot’, the South Border consists of 22 rows of graves, arranged four deep, between the southern access path and the southern boundary hedge/wall.

In keeping with the overall pattern of the Cemetery, Graves are oriented west -> east, and burials began near the back of the section and moved towards the entrance. Burials began in the 1890s, not long after the Cemetery opened in 1883, and (with the usual exception of later burials in pre-purchased family plots) went on to the mid-1920s.

pattinson-1This area of the Old Plot must have represented a prestigious area as a number of notable Ruskington families have secured plots along the South Border.

The Central area is dominated by impressive Graves of the Pattinson family – most of the area between Graves 25 and 48 contain elaborate commemorations of the family – including a granite obelisk raised to the memory of Samuel and Elizabeth (née Cock) Pattinson.

Grave 30 contains the body of Capt. William Frederick Pattinson. William died on 21 May 1922, Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank, Middlesex, perhaps suggesting an illness or condition related to his Military Service. He lies next to his paternal grandparents, William and Anne (née Cowlishaw) Pattinson. Probate Records show William left £2144 5s. 9d. [a relative value of about £101,000 today (2017)] to his widow, Dorothy Violet.

lookatCLICK on William’s name to go our sister site, Ruskington War Memorials, for more details of his service.

scott-1Near the western end of the South Border is another impressive monument. Graves 85 and 86 contain the remains of John Reast Scott, who died on 25 May 1906, his second wife, Harriett (née Lawson), who died the following year, and Letitia (Scott) commemorated on same Grave, who was John’s sister.

John was a notable local Builder and Joiner. Probate Records show that on his death he left £4,479 16s 1d (£4479.80), a relative value of about £435,000 today [2017]

…. the Pattinson family

 

Accessing the Records:

A list of Burials in Ruskington Cemetery ‘Old Plot’ has been prepared by analysing and listing the entries in the Parish Burial Registers:

download…….. have a look at a list of who is buried in which Grave in the Old Plots, A – C and the Borders.

download…….. find where the Graves are located in the Cemetery by studying this Plan of the whole of the ‘Old Plot’ area

download…….. have a look at a list of who is commemorated in the ‘Cremation Burials‘ sections.

download…….. find where the Cremation Graves are located in the ‘Old Plot’ area by studying this Plan.

N.B. These lists are accurate as at 31 July 2018 and will be updated approximately every 6 months.

 

Sources:

  • Ordnance Survey Map extract “Lincolnshire County Council – Reproduced from the 1980 O.S. 1/2500 Map with the permission of H.M.S.O. Crown Copyright Reserved. Licence No LA071341.”
  • Ruskington Parish Burial Registers, by permission of Ruskington Parish Council.
  • Image of Parish Register above via. “Lincs. to the Past – Ruskington Parish Records – Burials (1883-1884), p. 38”
  • ‘The Diary of Jane Glenn’, Transcribed and Introduced by Derrick Wood, Re-printed by Richard Kay, Sleaford, 1996, [ISBN 0902662473] is available from a limited number of sources (e.g. Waterstones).
  • Ruskington and the Rectorship of the Revd. Arthur Myers, M.A. – 1880 – 1893”  – Charles A. Myers (1954)
  • N.B. An original copy of Charles Myers’ Booklet can be read in Ruskington Community Library.
  • Details of the “Consecration of a Single Grave Space” can be obtained from the National Archive.