The first recorded burial to have taken place in the Churchyard was in June 1846. Burials continued until 1977; although from 1950 most burials of parishioners of Shottermill took place in the Shottermill Cemetery. Ashes continue to be interred in a small part of the Churchyard set aside for that purpose.
Under the procedures of The Privy Council, the Queen ordered that burials in the Churchyard should cease from 25 July 1986. Although the Churchyard was “closed”, it is still consecrated, i.e. set apart as a holy space; and as such it remains under the auspices of the Diocese of Guildford rather than the Home Office which oversees closed, deconsecrated graveyards. Closed burial grounds may be reopened in special circumstances.
On this website are shown details of burials in St Stephen’s Churchyard. They are copied from:
- “Register of Burials in the Parish of Frensham and District of Shotter Mill”, which gives details from 1846 to 1966 and which is lodged at the Surrey History Centre, Woking.
- “Register of Burials in the Parish of Shottermill”, the current register dating from 1966 which is held in the Parish Records.
Naturally, accuracy can only be guaranteed by referring to the original documents. However, these electronic records have recently been created in order to ensure that the situation in the Churchyard was properly understood before the 2005-06 building works commenced; and they are felt to be as accurate as they can be, given that the Registers of Burials do not record where in the Churchyard that the burials took place. Some detailed detective work was required to match known graves and memorials with the records.
It is of note, for instance, that of 1,283 recorded burials in the Churchyard, only about 250 memorials remain. Some of these record more than one burial and, to add to the detectives’ work, some commemorate burials that occurred elsewhere. It is understood that in the Victorian and Edwardian eras it was usual for most people to mark a grave with a wooden cross or post, later replacing it with stone only as finances permitted.
76 of the burials are of people who were patients (and a few staff, it is thought) of Holy Cross Hospital, Haslemere. Many of these burials are thought to be tuberculosis victims as the majority occurred in between 1917 and 1933. There are 6 war graves in this Churchyard, of which 5 have a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org) memorial stone and the other has a privately designed memorial.
Details of burials from 1846 to date are shown at Burial Details