... and archives
Many people travel to Cradley church and churchyard to trace ancestors and family history, and it is hoped these records of church monuments will help you plan your visit. Cradley Parochial Church Council would like to thank members of the Cradley Heritage Group for their invaluable work in researching the information.
In the words of The National Trust, ancient churches and churchyards are “beautiful and fascinating” places. In many villages the churchyard is older than the church itself, having been used as a burial-ground around a preaching cross before the church was built. The present church building in Cradley is at least 900 years old; the remains of an Anglo-Saxon cross can be seen in the north wall of the tower, and the two ancient yew trees may also predate the church. ...
The first English churchyard was consecrated in the 8th. Century. In the Medieval period graves were usually marked by wooden crosses, and headstones did not come into general use until the 17th. Century. Until the late 19th. Century, the north sides of churchyards remained unconsecrated and only “unworthy”, non-conformist and unbaptised people were buried there, without headstones. North churchyards were often used for grazing or hay-making; part of Cradley's churchyard was used by the Old Boys' School (now the Village Hall) as a playground, and a stream used to flow across the bottom to supply the Rector's horse pond. Most of the south churchyard memorials were removed in 1952 and placed against the west churchyard wall; the area is now used for village events. The church was largely restored in Victorian times, when many old memorials were moved from the nave and chancel walls to the west end and the church tower.
The churchyard is open at all times, and the church during daylight hours every day. If you visit, please sign the Visitors' Book just inside the church, to record your visit.
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