Unfortunately, we cannot complete this project.
If anyone wishes carry on with it, please let me know.
|Take each step in numerical order.|
|1. About St. Ann's Valley and the Project||2. Surname Index of Persons Interred|
|3. Persons in Each Grave||4. Plan of St. Ann's Valley|
|5. Plan of Church (Rock) Cemetery||6. Photo. of part of St. Ann's Valley|
|7. Tell us if you found anything interesting||Burials in other parts of Rock Cemetery|
About St. Ann's Valley
and the project to record the names
of the persons buried there
Where and why was it built
On the north side of the cemetery, accessed now by a steep descending pathway, is a large 'depression' or 'dip' known as St. Ann's Valley. It was originally meant to be an exclusive and very impressive place of burial. Great archways were built into the surrounding sandstone wall, giving it a strange air of grandeur.
The Entrance and Caves
It is believed that the original entrance to this area was a tunnel, cut through the sandstone rock. Unfortunately it is now blocked off, but it is still possible to see straight through. Branching off the main tunnel is another passage which leads to some three or four chambers which were built as catacombs, but never used.
In fact, none of St. Ann's Valley was ever used for the purpose it was intended. For some unknown reason, it was not as popular with the gentry as was expected. However, the authorities were increasingly faced with the task of finding burial space for a great number of poor Nottingham folk, so it was decided to use a portion of St. Ann's Valley for pauper's graves. Sometimes as many as thirty babies or seven adults were buried together.
Just their names, ages, and the year of burial, were roughly etched into large stones which were placed flat on the ground over each grave. Unfortunately, a lot of the inscriptions have worn away partly through natural erosion but also because of people walking on them. Many stones, though, are almost completely covered with turf and dirt.
A small group of us decided to make a start of trying to transcribe these inscriptions before it was too late. However, we found that it would be too large a task for us to try to clean all of every stone, apart from that, it became obvious that we would probably do more harm than good! To a certain extent, the turf is protecting the inscriptions. Surprisingly, the inscriptions are much clearer underneath the grass, and we took great care to remove and replace small sections of it.
The Method Used
In the end, we drew a plan of St. Ann's Valley splitting the area of pauper's graves into three sections and marking the position of each stone in each section. Then we proceeded to carefully clean just enough of each stone to be able to take down one or two legible inscriptions and the year. At the Nottinghamshire Archives we looked up the grave numbers of the people we had found and this led us to a complete list of everyone in that grave, plus their full names and the actual dates of the burials. We also noted the interment number of each individual, so more information can be acquired from the relevant records at the Archives. I know that this is not the regular way of preserving inscriptions, but these stones tell practically nothing about the persons interred, but at least our way may help someone to find the grave of a family member.
Index to St Ann's Valley Pages
Information and History of Nottingham Cemeteries and Burial Grounds