Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This blog has been established as a site affiliated to my South Derbyshire Genealogy pages, and as part of a blog network, the Association of Graveyard Rabbits, founded by Terry Thornton and footnoteMaven. It's purpose will be to illustrate and document the graveyards and cemeteries of South Derbyshire in the English Midlands.

South Derbyshire is still a largely rural environment, although extensive coal and clay mining during the 19th and 20th Centuries also had a significant effect on the landscape, not the least of which was a rapid expansion of the population in the area around Swadlincote and Church Gresley. Although the current usage of the term "South Derbyshire," for example by the South Derbyshire District Council, encompasses a wide swath of the southern part of the county, I will be using a much narrower definition, restricting my coverage to the area originally covered by the Repton and Gresley Hundred, as it existed in the mid-1800s. This was roughly equivalent to the portion of the county south of the River Trent, but also included the parishes of Chellaston, Findern and Normanton.

A full list of the parishes, towns, villages and hamlets which will be included, in due course, follows:
Appleby, Blackfordby, Boundary, Bretby, Caldwell, Calke, Castle Gresley, Catton, Chellaston, Chilcote, Church Gresley, Coton-in-the-Elms, Croxall, Daniel Hay, Derby Hills, Donisthorpe, Drakelowe, Edingale, Findern, Foremark, Hartshorne, Ingleby, King's Newton, Linton, Lullington, Measham, Melbourne, Milton, Netherseal, Newhall, Newton Solney, Normanton, Oakley, Oakthorpe, Osmaston-by-Derby, Overseal, Packington, Ravenstone, Repton, Rosliston, Smisby, Stanton, Stanton-by-Bridge, Stapenhill, Stretton-en-le-Field, Swadlincote, Swarkeston, Ticknall, Walton-upon-Trent, Willesley, Winshill and Woodville (Wooden Box).
I don't intend for this to be in any way a definitive study. There are other web sites which cater for that side of genealogy quite capably, with transcripts of burial records and memorial inscriptions. My resources for the area are fragmentary, and as I don't have easy access, I can't drop by to take a photograph of a particular church, graveyard or headstone. So, too, will the time that have available for writing be inconsistent. Since my own ancestors are from the area, I may naturally tend to concentrate on particular villages.

However, I welcome contributions in the form of photographs and information - indeed periodic input from readers, those with ancestors buried here, and current South Derbyshire residents will be vital. I would like the primary focus to be pictorial, but I also hope to discuss the history of the area, perhaps present some biographical notes about notable, and not so notable, figures buried in the church yards and cemeteries, as well as discuss aspects of graveyard preservation relevant to South Derbyshire graveyards. Part of my purpose is also to learn, and I imagine I'll be doing a great deal of that.