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Twin graves

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Twin graves

Postby Will Mundy » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:59 am

Yesterday while visiting an area where some of my ancestors came from in Oxfordshire, I found two graves one separate sides of my family. One headstone had both man and wife mentioned on the inscription, but the other ancestors were in separate graves next to each other. I was wondering if anybody knows why they might have been in separate graves my 6th great grandfather was 73 when he died in 1806 and my 6th great grandmother was 64 when she died in 1811 both in Charlbury?

Any help would be much appreciated

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Re: Twin graves

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:13 am

Mmm. If I understand your description correctly, you are certainly describing separate headstones, but I am not convinced that necessarily means separate (though adjacent) graves. It might be, for instance, that the first stone was quite small and a second stone had to be cut for the second burial.

Another possibility is that the first grave was actually full and so the second burial was made in adjacent ground.

These are just speculation. But another aspect is that I suspect that we over formalise the burial methods used in previous centuries. I very much doubt that plots were opened and then never reused. One example is the Old Howff cemetery in Dundee. There are hundreds of stones in there covering most of the ground - but the suggestion is that there were thousands of burials there. Another is Acton in Cheshire where a graveyard register records where my relative was buried in the early 1800s - "at the foot of the...." (rather than a row and plot). But looking at the ground now, the area where my lot were buried seems to be occupied by later headstones. I think that the area has been reused.

Not quite your scenario but it might be that the current tidy (?) arrangement of headstones doesn't quite represent the original configuration of the graves - with rearrangement of stones and reuse of ground being only to be expected.

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Re: Twin graves

Postby peter kent » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:56 pm

For a double burial I think the first grave would have cost more because it had to be deeper in order to accommodate a later addition.

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Re: Twin graves

Postby jblake » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:34 am

Hi Will,

I have ancestors in shared plots and in single graves so I don't think this is in any way unusual. In my family at least single graves usually corollate with periods of wealth.

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Re: Twin graves

Postby Guy » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:08 am

In the late 1950s & early 1960s when mechanical mowing came in many cemeteries & churchyards cleared the headstones to make room for the tractor and mower.
Some moved the stones to the boundary wall, some rearranged the stones grouping families together. Some removed some stones to create a less crowded looking space.

The only way to tell is to look at the burial plot book (lair book) rather than the burial register to see who was buried in what plot and where that plot is.

It should also be noted that a number of stones/inscriptions are memorial stones/inscriptions that are erected/carved in memory of the person rather than to mark his/her grave.
The person could be buried in another graveyard altogether.

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Re: Twin graves

Postby joanna800 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:56 pm

My cousin's parents are buried side by side as the ground in the graveyard has only a shallow depth of earth before hitting solid rock - the earth is just deep enough for one burial. My cousin has arranged for the edging stones to encompass both graves in order to unite her parents.
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