Nationally, people or events are commemorated in a variety of ways – statues, portraits, buildings, religious services or even public holidays.
In a village context however, we have a more modest way of keeping alive the remembrance of our loved ones or events of the past.
Fovant Church Memorials
This record of the memorials in Fovant Church and Churchyard started in 1996 as a practical need to identify the grave positions because the Burial Register did not make provision for the recording of position.
Since Liz Harden had done so much work on the recording of the pre-twentieth century graves and generously allowed that work to be incorporated, the rather more ambitious aim to produce a full record of all the memorials in Fovant Church and Churchyard was undertaken.
It is inevitably just a ‘snapshot’ of the church and churchyard currently. But it could be kept up to date from now on. We have taken it as far as inscriptions on stones can be deciphered (and it is obvious that Liz Harden in1981 read some stones, which have now become illegible).
We have entered all the entries from the current burial register (1942–97, 281 entries), and matched these to graves wherever possible. We have entered all the names from War Memorials inside the Church and matched these wherever possible. The first war Memorial in the Church also records 64 names ‘in thanksgiving for their safe return’ and these have been entered and matched where possible (though of course it is conceivable that some may still be alive); and we have entered the previous Rectors from the Rectors’ List.
But there may be people who remember where unmarked graves are (and in particular where ashes were buried in family graves where there is no added inscription). Some graves recorded as illegible might be decipherable by anyone who cares to spend enough time working on them. In particular the texts, which, often in the lower part of a stone have suffered from moss, have an important interest as part of the total record. Then many people were buried without inscriptions being added – or even without stones marking the place at all.
What started out as a necessary listing of the modern burials turned into a fascinating glimpse into the long history of Fovant.
The Fovant Church Memorials book is available from the Rector, the Rev. John Eade
Seats in Fovant
A request from the family of the late Linda Jeffery to donate a seat to the village in her memory started us thinking about what other seats there are in Fovant and where they came from.
The following excerpt from an article in Three Towers in 1996, written by the late Mrs Ella Barrow, gave us a starting point:
‘A few weeks ago, when walking down the Tisbury road, nearing the Elm triangle at the crossroads, to my horror I saw a body in a twisted position on the Green. My first thought was that there had been some dreadful accident but, on closer inspection, I realised that it was a parishioner painting the underside of the seat on the Green, and a very good job was in progress. It prompted me to think about our Fovant seats. There are several around. The one mentioned above was placed in memory of Edith Mary Langford, by her husband Basil, in 1937. They are both buried in Fovant churchyard………………..’
An up-to-date survey of Fovant seats reveals that there are twelve, including the one just mentioned which is all-metal, presently painted green and has no memorial plaque. We believe that this replaces the original circular seat constructed around ‘The Elm’ which grew on the Green for many years but eventually succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease and had to be felled.
The picture shows Beryl Paton, our Group Treasurer, busy with the survey.
The Playground has two, both fairly new; one inside the fence made of wooden slats on concrete and one outside near Sutton road, beside a newly planted tree, made of wooden slats on a metal frame. Neither has a memorial plaque.
Clay’s Orchard has five; one of wooden slats on concrete (no memorial plaque), and one all wood with an almost illegible memorial plaque ‘in memory of Trevor December 30th 1971’ both of which are set into the concrete paths and therefore, presumably, ‘publicly owned’, and three which seem to be privately owned by residents, one of green painted wood (no memorial plaque), one of plain wood with a plaque which reads ‘to Mummy and Daddy on your Ruby Wedding 22 September 1991’ and a very new one made of wood and metal which was covered by it’s ‘winter coat’ at the time of the survey.
The Churchyard has two, both wooden; one, on the left of the path, with a plaque reading ‘In memory of David Longden. 1915–1997’ and one, standing on the stone paving alongside the church, with a plaque ‘In memory of Elizabeth Napier Magill, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs Usher 1910–1983.’
There is one outside the Village Hall, facing Tisbury road, made of metal and newly re-painted black. The inscription on the plaque reads ‘Given by the people of Fovant in memory of Richard Challoner Cobbe Clay our doctor from 1917 – 1970’.
The last one is on the A 30, close to the Brook Street exit, not far from West Farm. This one is wooden slats on a metal frame and is presumably quite old because it is covered in lichen. It has no memorial plaque.
We have a constant reminder that warfare brings with it a high cost. On the village War Memorial are named seventeen Fovant men who did not return from the First World War and a further five who perished in the Second.
Their names have been recorded on this web site and you may find more details by looking for ‘World Wars / Lest we forget’ on the Navigation panel or by clicking the link here .