We want to create a beautiful Memorial Garden in the historic heart of the village where local people and visitors can sit and relax, meet their neighbours and remember their loved ones. It will provide the community with a place of peace, suitable for quiet and semi-private reflection. The garden will have its own distinct sense of place but also complement the church, the abbey ruins and the wider churchyard setting.
A Place to Reflect ... making the vision a reality
We asked local people what the garden should be like and these ideas were turned into a professional design by landscape designers Portus + Whitton of Cirencester. This is their proposal:
You Can Help
We have already raised over £10,000 in donations and need to raise at least another £15,000 to build the garden and maintain it into the future.
All donations over £10 will be recorded in a special register that will be retained in St Mary’s church unless you wish to remain anonymous.
If you would like to make a pledge to help make this vision a reality, you can use the form below.
You can make your donation online (using BACS or CAF), by post (using a cheque or CAF cheque) or in person (by cheque or cash).
We would be very grateful for a standing order which you can set up with online banking or in your branch.
- The bank account for donations is St Mary’s Church Kingswood Memorial Garden Fund account number 02933860 and sort code 30-98-29. Please also provide a reference of "MEMGDN Initials Surname".
- Cheques must be made payable to "St Mary’s Church Kingswood Memorial Garden Fund"
- A Gift Aid Declaration will boost your donation by 25p for every £1 you donate. If you are able and willing to do so, please print out and fill in the Gift Aid Declaration Form and return it to the Treasurer.
Please address enquiries, including making donations offline, to our Churchwarden, Val Abbott. You can either use our Contact Form or call 01453 842059.
Some More Background
An overgrown and untidy area of the churchyard has the potential to be transformed into a beautiful space. The selected ground is bounded on two sides by the walls of the Church, and on the third side by a stone wall. The fourth side is open. This is what it looks like today:
In early mediaeval times, this north-facing side of the church was regarded as the “Devil’s Side” and no decent person was buried there. It was also the coldest side of the church. Although the notion of the “Devil’s Side” has long since been swept away, the north side is still often a neglected part of any churchyard with unattractive vestry annexes, boiler houses, crumbling masonry and rusty rain-pipes. In the case of St Mary’s, rubbish bins, cast out notice boards, weeds and scrub could be found here too.
In 2015 the PCC approved in principle a project to create a memorial garden here, provided the funding required was raised in a project separate from other church activities. There was considerable interest and support for this garden as a joint church/village project, to which some of the village organisations would be likely to contribute. The PCC branded the project either as a kind of memorial to village/church history (in the manner of a Millennium Garden) or a Reformation Garden: 500 Years of Protestantism. There was also the earlier presence of the Abbey to incorporate.
The site slopes from the Church nave to the stone wall. Except for the ground in front of the nave, which is very moist, it appears to be well-drained. The high church walls and a very tall, Irish yew, with a wide canopy, cast considerable shade over much of the area, especially in winter. It faces North and West. There are 3 visible grave stones; and possibly others which have become buried over the course of time.
The sunniest part of this churchyard is bounded by the High Street and the lane, and is used as a garden for the placement of ashes and memorial plaques.
Several designs were submitted and in the early part of 2016 were put on public display in St Mary’s Room. The PCC opted for Portus & Whitton’s design, which then went through a number of versions.
Members of the Memorial Garden committee worked tirelessly on this project, fitting the design to the ethos of the Garden, deciding on its construction and best materials, obtaining a Faculty from the Gloucester Diocese, and raising funds, among a great many other things.
There are also ideas for future enhancements. For instance, to embed on each side of the path, which runs from the church gate to the entryway of the Garden, a mosaic timeline that highlights the history of the village of Kingswood and St Mary’s Church. The timeline is a project which might involve our local schools.
Donations & Grants
The National Lottery has awarded the PCC a grant of £9,715 through the Big Lottery Fund.
Renishaw has donated £2,000.
These donations were augmented by others received at the Church Fete on 23 June 2018 and we are urging everyone to give what they can.