Burial Grounds Search.

A recent visit to the Howff burial ground on the 13th October 2019 brought to light some of the deterioration that has happened to the site in the last 10 years or so. Some of this is caused by natural erosion, whilst some has been caused by the work of rabbits undermining memorials, or more worrying, human intervention.


Monument No. 303 in 2005

Monument No. 303 in 2014

Monument 303 in 2019

As can be seen with the above monument 303, there has been some changes since 2005. The monument itself has been resting on a downward slant for many years, and is even shown as such in Victorian images of the ground.

However, it is becoming apparent that the sarcophagus is now starting to break up. The outer support on the left hand side has now started to twist outwardly with the side panels starting to separate at the seams causing the cement to fall out. How long this monument will remain as a complete structure is unknow, however its destruction would appear to have started, and will no doubt eventually collapse under its own weight, partly as the interior of these tombs are mostly made up of gravel and rubble providing no structural integrity.


390-2 in 2005


390-2 in 2019

390-2 in 2019

Following a storm in September 2018 the cast iron monument was severely damaged when the central panel finally let go due to corrosion. The structure is now very much past its best with the top panels now also breaking free and not very much support material wise. It should be noted however that when the panel originally fell out, it was lying parallel to the monument, however now it is sitting askew. Sadly the panel is now being slowly covered by turf. It's future is uncertain, however it is hoped that that something will be done before acids in the ground begin to attack the cast iron.


873 in 2014

873 in 2019


Here we have No. 873, it is safe to say that this movement of the memorial is down to human interference, and sadly this type of thing wasn't the only occurence noted during the visit.


557 in 2014

557 in 2019

The marble panel for 557 was dislodged sometime in 2015, being most like caused by moisture getting behind the panel and attacking the cement during the freeze/ thaw cycle. It was noted that the supporting leg from table monument 444, which pretrudes from the edge of the panel has a thick coating of cement on it. Understandably due to its age the cement has a spongy and somewhat flaky consistency, however if this is common throughout the site then it is only a matter of time before other monuments become unstable.

A great deal of other small changes were noticed during the visit, however it would take a great deal of documenting, which wasn't possible at the time. Notably, however the top section of the other cast iron monument 1310-2 is now missing and also rabbits have dug under 526-2, the Chalmers monument, causing a rather large void which may cause problems in the near future.