In a previous post I reflected on the Victorian gravestones in the churchyard of St Mary’s Minera, Wrexham. Now I return to reflect on the cremation memorials. These fit a pattern I’ve recently published about, namely that cremation burials have adapted and transformed churchyard environments, often populating spaces close to or abutting the sacred building, or running along churchyard boundaries and paths.
Earliest, we have a quarter-circle plot between the path, the external north wall of the tower and the west wall of the north transept populated by modest-sized cremation ledgers, while 5 upright gravestones back onto the building itself. This creates a discrete and discreet space for the cremated dead to reside, nestling the sacred building.
Later in date, there is a dedicated space in the churchyard extension, thus far populated by one line and the start of a second line of cremation burials to the south-west side of the principal axial pathway from the church and facing the path. Notably, in 6 instances, wooden crosses that temporarily marked the graves ahead of the installation of ledgers, have been retained, and in one instance of the 6 it remains the only memorial, with a flower holder added to it.
These contrasting examples show how reduced, even miniaturised, memorials are reconfiguring the spatial and memorial dimensions of the Welsh and English churchyard.