Alfred Ridley Bax (1844 – 1918) who was a barrister and antiquarian recorded the monumental inscriptions of St. Peter’s Church in Newdigate in 1883. They can be found in ‘Extracts from the Epitaphs of Surrey, being inscriptions from the churches and especially the churchyards of the County – A. Ridley Bax Volume 2, Newdigate pp 360-381’.
During 1978 and 1979 Jean Shelley and friends recorded and Mrs. Joan Rivers typed up the inscriptions as they found them.
Jane Lilley, Maggie Ashworth and John Callcut completed a further survey in 2019.
All three surveys can be seen in three columns. The first is from 1883, the second from 1978/9 and the third is from 2019. Inscriptions have disappeared and others have faded but the effect of decades of weathering can be readily seen. Many graves have simply vanished.
All the gravestones have been numbered and by using the index and map they can be easily located. All the graves that had gone in the 95 years between the first two surveys have been recorded under section X. Graves that had disappeared between the second and third surveys are just shown as blank in the third column.
In his survey, Ridley Bax marked the memorials as either ‘rail’ or ‘headstone’. During much of the nineteenth century Newdigate was a very poor parish and often wooden rails were used as markers rather than a more expensive headstone. These of course had a limited life and by the time of the second survey they had all gone. Also, many headstones to the west of the church were either removed or laid flat on the ground. These two pictures clearly illustrate this.
All the memorials inside the church have been recorded under section Z and the war memorial under section W.
Copies of this record have been lodged in St. Peter’s Church, the Surrey History Centre, the Society of Genealogists, the British Association for Local History and the archives of both the East Surrey and West Surrey Family History Societies.
© Newdigate Local History Society – 2019