Monday, 26 November 2012

Grave cleaning

OK, so after yesterdays quite negative blog ( those outlaws do wind me up!) I thought that I would post some stuff  from back in the summer. Strangely it actually relates to Simon's family.  These are his ancestors though so nowhere near as irritating to me as his current family.  I didn't have the "pleasure" of meeting these!

His ancestors on his fathers side came form Horbling and Billingborough which are villages just up the road from us. How odd is that?  We end up living in the same area as they did. Horbling and Billingborough are both quite nice villages.  We visited them many years ago when I first started out on the family history trail.   In fact, we have lovely memories of that first occasion when it was our son Samuel who found the first "Glenn" grave.  I vividly remember him jumping up and down and yelling across the grave yard that he had found a Glenn!  He was more or less dancing on the grave!

Since then we have visited the churchyard several times.  We went back again earlier this year as we are now so close.  The graves had deteriorated quite a lot so we made a vow that we would go back in the summer and clean them up.  We had to wait for a rain free day but we did eventually make it there with bottles of water, a pile of rags and some brushes. We went to Horbling church first which has the most Glenn graves.

We spent several hours  cleaning up and they looked so much better when we had finished.  We even found 2 new Glenn graves which we had never found on previous visits.  While Simon was cleaning I was just kind of kicking around and as I did so I uncovered what I thought was a GL.....  I got Simon to come and clean and hey presto... 2 more Glenn's.  They were grave stones that had fallen over and so were pretty much covered up. It is a shame that they can't be re-erected. Still we did our best to clean and preserve what was there which seems important somehow.

While Simon was doing more cleaning I had a wander around and came across a strange sight.  It was a fresh grave of about a week old.  It was a 15 year old boy and in fact we remembered reading about his death in the local paper.  He had died in a motorcycle accident even though he was not old enough to legally ride a bike.  What was odd was that amongst the flowers was a really large teddy bear, about 3 foot tall.  The teddy had a giant cigarette in one had.  I don't mean a real cigarette.. it was all part of the toy.  Very odd.  The teddy also had a bottle of beer in it's other hand.  It didn't seem at all appropriate for the grave of a 15 year old lad who had died in a bike accident.

Anyway, here are some of the Glenn graves.

After we had finished cleaning we went to the vicarage to ask for the key so that we could go inside the church.  That was something we hadn't done before.   It is a lovely church,  really interesting..  There are graves inside that date back to the mid 1600's.   I do quite like old churches.  They have an atmosphere. I guess it is the centuries of history.  There is some nice stained glass at Horbling church too.

 Churches and Cathedrals are the only place where I like and can appreciate stained glass.  I do not like it anywhere else.  I really do not like modern stained glass. Simon's mother rather fancies herself as a stained glass artist and once gave us a circular piece in red, blue and yellow.  It was pretty revolting.  However it hung in our upstairs landing window for years before we moved.  Somehow it seems to have got lost.  I think it was never taken down from that window and therefore got left behind.  I certainly never took it down and Simon can't remember.  How lucky is that?  Since we moved here she has presented us with yet another bit which is of trees.  In other words modern.  Just the kind I hate.  I didn't want that adorning my house so Simon has it in his garage which is fine by me.

Back to the grave cleaning.... once we had finished at Horbling we moved on to Billingborough.  The villages of Horbling and Billingborough more or less run into each other and I think they did even 200 years ago.  The Glenn's originate form Horbling but there are several buried at Billingborough and in fact we know that one of them was the school master at the village school too.  We spent the rest of that day cleaning up the graves at Billingborough church.  We were unable to go inside there so that is something for another time.

I hope that you enjoy looking at the photos. They remind me of one of the better days of the summer. A day without rain!  If any of you are interested in your family history and have ancestors from this area then I would be quite happy to check things out for you.  We are able to visit churches and grave yards in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and probably other counties too.  Just let me know if you need some information  or have a church that you would like us to visit and explore on your behalf.


  1. I enjoyed the trip to the graveyard - but I've visited so many here doing family history, and have taken many photos. Some in Ohio date back into the early 1800's. Family members have shared others that are older. All are helpful in tracking the stories - and the majority of my ancestors came from England or Ireland prior to 1750. I hope to visit there one day.

  2. Well, my girl, this is just marvelous! You slide show is very good! And I love the graveyard photos. What did Simon use to get the stone to look so much better. Surely not just water.

    I too think this is important. Mama used to go to the cemetery and clean around the graves but after she died there was no one to do it anymore after I moved away. It is sad.

    I wonder if our American astronaut, the late John Glenn, isn't a relative to Simon!

    1. Oh, I hadn't thought about John Glenn. Surely has some information on him. Maybe he's on Rootsweb - I'll check and see what I find!

  3. It may seem morbid, but love to walk through cemeteries. I love looking at old headstones and imagining the people and what their life may have been life during the period in which they lived. I loved theses photos and your PowerPoint was impressive.

    Thanks for sharing with us. It reminded me of the importance of taking care of those who once took such good care of us. Bless your heart for caring enough to keep history alive.

  4. wowee graves from the 1600's how awesome......great pictures I enjoyed this blog

  5. I so enjoyed the photos and your post! I too enjoy exploring old cemeteries and finding family graves and markers makes it so worthwhile. Thanks for sharing this with us. Excellent.

  6. Such an interesting post and the pictures are great! I love being able to look into family history. It gives us a connection with family members we never had a chance to meet.

    I find it really odd too that someone would place a teddy bear with cigarette and a bottle of beer at the grave site of a 15 year old!


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