Georgians in Stone

Georgians in Stone

Georgians in Stone artwork

A Heritage Fund project for Bishopís Castle

In 2019 the PCC of St John the Baptist Bishop's Castle successfully secured a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver the Georgians in Stone project. The focus of the project was to conserve 12 historically important Georgian tombs situated in the churchyard of St John the Baptist. Many of the tombs were unstable and dangerously close to collapse, lending an urgency to the conservation work on these Grade II listed tombs.

A volunteer group from BCHRC undertook research into the lives of the people named on the tombs and the full research document can be found below. Part of this research was undertaken at Shropshire Archives and some National Repositories, also using various internet sources. The focus on the tombs and life in Georgian Bishopís Castle provided by this research work was a shift away from BCHRCís studies on the Victorian period and has opened up different avenues to be explored in future projects.

Cover of Memorial Inscriptions Research report Memorial Inscriptions Research
PDF format, 48 pages, 1.6Mb.
Download the document

The project unearthed the social and cultural history of the people the tombs commemorate and illuminated Bishop's Castle's position within the wider Georgian Period. An online History Day was held in March 2021with a programme presenting the conservation work and expounding on the wider Georgian context of the people and politics of Bishop's Castle from that period. Some of the talks can be viewed on the BCHRC YouTube channel.

Despite the pandemic the tombs were successfully renovated by Kieran Elliott and Sue Ryder of Elliott Ryder Conservation, who specialise in the conservation of sculpture, church monuments, churchyard memorials and architectural works of art. Kieran commented that “Thereís obviously been a local or regional workshop that has been doing some of the best work I've ever seen”. The work involved slowing down current rates of deterioration and partially or wholly dismantling and re-building several of these nationally important memorials which were unstable.

 

One of the tombs before and after renovation

Self-guided trail leaflets for adults and for children were produced and can be found in the church porch and the Town Hall. In addition the Bishopís Castle Town Guides took part in a training session with Kieran Elliott in which he explained the importance of the tombs and how he approached the work. A film of the session can be seen here, and the Town Guides share their newly found expertise here.

Churchyard Trail Leaflet - Adult   Churchyard Trail Leaflet - Child

The project wrapped up in May 2021 with an online event to share and celebrate the project work. The restrictions and limitations in place because of the pandemic meant that a hybrid event was delivered with multiple local partners; businesses, performers and audiences participating both remotely via Zoom and in person around the town. The elements of the celebration programme can be found on the BCHRC YouTube channel. A small sample of the videos are below, but there are many more on the channel.

And finally… to find out more about the project, its impact and potential legacy, the full evaluation report is available below.

Cover of final conservation report Final Conservation Report
PDF format, 137 pages.
Download the document: Compressed, 5.5Mb | High Res, 29Mb

The project managers for the project were Caring for Godís Acre and the project received financial support from The Georgian Group and Bishopís Castle Town Council.

Thanks to National Lottery players, this project was made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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