The Church of St Mary Magdalene, Boveney
The Church of St Mary Magdalene, Boveney

Burials in the Churchyard?

Frank Bond, the Eton Wick historian (amongst his many callings), who sadly passed away in May 2018 aged 95, wrote several articles questioning whether the churchyard at the Church had been used for burials in times gone by. Boveney had a largish population throughout recent centuries with a recorded peak of 207 in 1831. The church was well frequented.


In 1511 the Pope instituted a cemetery at the Church, due to the difficulties in transporting bodies to St. Peter’s, Burnham which was then responsible for St. Mary Magdalene.

Other more recent records have indicated the possibility of graves and headstones.


The records of St. Peter’s, Burnham include 160 burials, between 1565 and 1900, of people who were stated to have lived in Boveney. Of the 160, only five had gravestone records in St Peter’s graveyard and these appear to have been “people of status” in Boveney.


To try and resolve this once and for all, we sought the assistance of the Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society. They arranged for a team of ten people to converge on the Church and used various technologies such as Ground Penetrating Radar to determine whether it was possible that burials took place in the churchyard.


Following the extensive survey, the conclusions were as follows:

"So, the million dollar question is: have we found any graves?  The short answer is: none that we can see.  The long answer is, sadly, that that does not mean there are no graves.  Geophysics does not detect everything, as much as we would like it to."


The full Report of the Survey can be found below:

Archaeological Survey - Burials in Churchyard?
Archaeological Survey - Burials in Churc[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [789.3 KB]

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