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Kingston Village

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St. Pancras Church
St. Pancras Churchyard
The Living Churchyard

(This is an historical article written by Michael Day whilst he was maintaining the Church yard. The Church yard is now maintained by others using different methods)

For centuries churchyards were maintained by allowing animals, especially sheep to graze. From the 19th Century animals were excluded and the grass was close cut mechanically. Thus the well-kept and manicured became the norm, though nowadays, because of cost many have become overgrown.

As Prince Charles wrote, 'Older churchyards.....represent a considerable proportion of the last remnants of the original meadow grasslands. The environment is nothing less than God’s creation and a churchyard is commonly known as God’s acre.'

The policy in this churchyard is to keep close mown those areas where graves are visited but to manage two areas as havens for grasses, wildflowers and insects. This involves a particular programme of grass cutting. Some of the wildflowers area is cultivated for annuals; a programme of raising wildflowers from seed has been instituted to increase the number and variety of wildflowers.

History

Historically only part of the present churchyard was used as a burial ground the remainder being Glebe land. This was the area adjacent to the Street. On the raised ground opposite the church door it is believed there was a parsonage and a barn. There was also a fine yew which sadly did not survive the hurricane of 1987.

The churchyard was originally walled in 1725. This was extended in 1927 to encompass the former glebe land. In 1680 the village stocks were erected against the wall on the right-hand side leading to the tapsel gate. The first tapsel gate was erected in 1729 and has been replaced many times. There are only five other such gates in Sussex. The central pivot enables the people carrying the coffin to pass on either side. The lamp at the entrance was installed in 1963; previously it hung from a tree.

Recently many old graves and the formal garden at the south-east corner have been refurbished.



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