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Easington Churchyard Headstone Project

The church of All Saints', Easington, was originally built in 1190, with various additions built on in later centuries. The graveyard was obviously used for burials throughout this time and indeed used up to 1883 when a closure order was made.

A view of the graveyard of All Saints, Easington, taken from the church tower
A view of the graveyard of All Saints, Easington, taken from the church tower (Photograph - Mike Welton)

It is impossible to give a figure on the total number of burials that have taken place during this period, as there are no records until the mid-1600s. This SKEALS project is an attempt to photograph some of the headstones and record their inscriptions together with added information taken from census records and other sources where possible.

We would also like to acknowledge our thanks to the Rector, Rev. Stephen Cope, for his consent to carry out this project. We have put a 100-year privacy clause on the project, to respect the feelings and sentiments of families related and who are still around today.

Please note that in all cases the original spellings on gravestones and in registers has been retained. While every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy in this project, SKEALS cannot be held responsible for any erroneous information that may have been recorded from other sources. It has been transcribed in all good faith.

Thanks to the East Yorkshire Family History Society for their kind permission to use some extracts from their published Monumental Inscription booklet of Easington, this was recorded by Dave Mount in 1984, as some of the lettering has deteriorated since that time.

To view the photographs and information, please click here.

The churchyard has in addition, other links with history. An unknown number of bodies were re-interred in the churchyard after the destruction of Ravenser Odd, the port situated to the south east of Spurn Point. This was a town of some importance having a Royal Charter, its own market and annual fair, a town mayor and customs officers. It also had a court, a prison and a chapel. The town became threatened by the sea in the 1340s, and finally engulfed by the sea between 1349 and 1360. The sea destroyed the foundations of the chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so consequently many bodies were exposed and brought to Easington for reburial.

A similar situation occurred at Kilnsea, in the early 19th century. The sea constantly eroding the cliff had reached parts of the old village and it succumbed to the sea. The 12th century church at Kilnsea (dedicated to St. Helen) had begun to fall into the sea by 1824. By 1826 most of the church had gone and the tower finally went in 1831. The last burial to take place in the churchyard was 2 April 1826, some of the unearthed remains were gathered up and interred at Easington. Burials for the inhabitants of Kilnsea and Spurn continued at Easington until 1864 when a new church (also St. Helen's) had been constructed. The first burial to take place in the new churchyard was 11 July 1865.

In total 110 burials took place at Easington between 1826 and 1864 of both Kilnsea residents and those of Spurn Point, in addition to those “Who were cast upon the shore” as the burial register describes those who were unknown sailors who had perished at sea.

Between 1813 and 1883 (when Easington churchyard was closed) a total of 1003 burials had taken place. This included 35 sailors or unknown persons and 393 infants/children.

Somewhere within the churchyard lies the body of a previous vicar. The parish register records: The Revd. Mr Alexander Jameson buried May ye 1st 1725 (Revd. Jameson was the vicar from 1715 – 1725). The exact location of his grave is unknown, so we shall never know where he lies.

Another somewhat curious entry is that of Jane Green, 'died excommunicated Dec. 24th 1728'. If the lady in question was excommunicated strictly speaking, she should not have been buried in the churchyard. However, some churchyards did have areas of unconsecrated ground for this purpose, but the register only says “died” whereas nearly all the other entries for a death say “buried”. Could she have been buried elsewhere, outside of the churchyard perhaps, or in unconsecrated ground?

Mike Welton, September 2008