Helping Others to Assess Significance of Cemeteries and Support Volunteers
Working towards guidance on significance
Historic England commissioned a piece of work to assess how national guidance on assessing significance of historic cemeteries, burial grounds and churchyards might be devised. The aim of this project is to help those caring for cemeteries and burial grounds to answer the question, “why is this special?” Whilst there is general agreement that burial grounds are important to many, setting out how and why that importance should be protected can be complicated.
Many burial grounds and cemeteries are cared for or supported by local communities. The widespread interest in family history and local history means that they are an invaluable resource for personal and locally based research. Such recording can provide an important record of vanishing elements, such as inscriptions, as well as identify the importance of sites and monuments. We have commissioned research on what local assessment toolkits are used and to assess the potential for an online database to support local initiatives.
We are aiming to provide tools for those directly involved in the planning system to use in order to know what level of excavation and work is appropriate when development on a site previously used as a burial ground is undertaken. Historic England is currently discussing recommendations with partners.