The Churchyard

Graves in Clive Church ChurchyardEarly pictures of the church grounds reveal an open area traversed by several footpaths, with the main route from the neighbouring village of Grinshill passing directly under the West window.  The renting out of the area at 2 shillings per annum would indicate the regular practice of grazing livestock.  A sparse collection of tombstones also illustrates the practical problems created by constructing the church on foundations of natural rock, as many graves had to be cut out of this solid base.  Therefore a significant number of the older memorials are of the sarcophagus-type of tomb standing above the ground, and erected in the 1700s to the memory of the wealthier members of the community such as the Russell, Ravenshaw, Puleston and Huffa families. Interment within the church was also available upon receipt of a substantial fee of 2s.6d; and these gravestones were relocated to the eastern boundary wall during the 1885 rebuilding work.  It is also an interesting feature that groupings of families are common within the grounds, as illustrated by the Harding graves with the siblings gathered closely around the parental memorial.

Graves in Clive Church, Shropshire

The quarrying background of the area and the number of stonemasons who had clearly turned their hand to monumental work, meant that Clive graveyard boasts a wide range of memorial styles ranging from the simple headstone to the ornate obelisk.

 

This domestic industry however did have its occasional drawbacks, the Thomas Greene gravestone – highlighted as ‘An Interesting Grave’ – being a particular example of accuracy sacrificed for convenience.  This carver manages to misspell the ‘Green’ surname and ‘Febuary’; but greater concern was the date of his death not only being recorded as the 29th February but not in a Leap Year, but more worryingly suggesting that  the unfortunate man expired two days after his funeral which took place, according to the Burial Register,  on the 27th February.

The modest graveyard was substantially extended in 1885 from Bibby land to the south and east of the church, along with a section bordering the Glat.  At this stage, a boundary wall was constructed to enclose the whole area and four gated entrances added thus cutting off and eventually completelyremoving the ancient right of way across the churchyard.   To replace this route, a new pathway was created to the south of the boundary wall where it linked directly to Back Lane.  [ Sansaw Estate Papers. Shrewsbury Archives. Ref: 6241/1//40/7]. This period of major change further witnessed the construction of a small mortuary building attached to the north side of the church and lying just beyond the new vestry.  This facilitated the accommodation of the coffin on site prior to the funeral service.

‚ÄčA ground plan recording the location and inscriptions of all the known graves has recently been updated, and has been backed up by an index of all those interred up to 2014 in the graveyard or in the Remembrance Garden.

 

 

Clive Churchyard Map

Map Designed by Helen Phillips

 

The Lych Gate

Original Entrance Gate to Clive Church in ShropshireAfter the rebuilding programme of 1885-87, the main entrance from Drawwell consisted of a double metal gate set between two stone pillars, and leading to four steep steps. Following the death of the Rev. John Cooper Wood in 1903, a picturesque and practical replacement in the form of a traditional Lych Gate was erected in memory of this influential minister.  Designed by Thomas Geldart, architect to the Sansaw Estate, the wooden structure was built of English oak, and constructed by Sam Giles, a local builder and carpenter.  The smaller wooden gates, circular steps and arched roof provided a far more aesthetic entrance to the church grounds.  

 

The Lych GateA further tribute to the Rev. Cooper Wood was the creation of Clive Village Hall.  First proposed in 1896 as a projected Parish Room, it was built on land donated by Thomas Meares and initially was to be christened ‘The Clive Diamond Jubilee Hall’ to mark the recent 1897 celebrations, and to provide a link to the re-named Jubilee Street.  However with the passing of the Rev. Cooper Wood, the building soon became known to villagers as the ‘Vicar’s Room’ in his memory.

A study of the original plans reveal that the initial concept was to provide a venue that combined entertainment [two billiard tables and a games / card room] with educational opportunity [reading room and a lecture hall].  Sadly not all of these laudable aims materialised in the final building, most probably due to budgetary restraints.