The churchyard of St Michael on Greenhill in Lichfield is very large and of some antiquity, with indications that it was a place of worship well before the Conquest. Today it comprises two sections – the old churchyard, which was formally closed to new burials in the late 1960s, and the new churchyard, which opened in 1944 and is still in use, although burial space is becoming very restricted. Both contain numerous graves and monuments, and the churchyard is of considerable interest to both local historians and those involved in family history research. Unsurprisingly, the church receives many requests for family history searches.
In the past two surveys have been carried out of the graves and monuments – one of the grave positions by the local council in 1967 before the reordering of the old churchyard and the moving of the headstones, and one if the monumental inscriptions in 1984 by the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry (BMSGH). There is also a full set of burial registers available from 1813 to the present, with those to 1905 having been transcribed in 2005 by the Burntwood Family History Society.
Over the last few months, I have been occupied in working on a project to bring together all the grave and register information into one spreadsheet that can be publicly accessed by those interested in researching their own family history. The results of this project can be found on a series of web pages that can be accessed from the button below. In developing these webpages, the 1967 and 1984 surveys have been collated and the latter has been very considerably extended to include memorial inscriptions up to 2012. A significant number of what appear to be typographical errors in both surveys have also been corrected (and no doubt others introduced). The registers from 1906 to 2012 have also been transcribed. The debt to those who produced the original surveys and inscription transcripts remains significant.
The material is presented as follows.
- An introductory page.
- A page that contains maps and plans that define the positions of graves and monuments from the 1960s to the present. The situation is complex, with a number of different classification systems used over the decades, and the headstones being moved to different locations.
- A page that links to sub-pages which describe the current state of the various grave areas and clusters within the churchyard and contains photographs of the more notable monuments.
- A page that links to and describes the downloadable spreadsheet that contains all the register and monument information in a searchable format. These include, for each entry in the registers, the surname and Christian names, death date, cremation date and interment date (where available), the inscription on the grave, and indications of original gave location and current headstone location within the churchyard.
In addition, photographs have been taken of all extant headstones. Although web site storage limits do not allow these to be uploaded, they can be obtained on request.
There is of course much more that could be done. The information in the spreadsheet can be used to carry out a detailed demographic analysis and analysis of funeral practices; there is much information there that can be integrated into the very long history of St Michael’s church and parish; and there is much, much more to be said about the lives of those who found their last resting place in the churchyard. Over the course of the next year or two, I hope to follow up on all of these. So watch this space – but don’t expect anything very quickly!
2 thoughts on “The Churchyard at St. Michael’s, Lichfield – registers and records”
Chris Apropos of your suggestion above that “typographical errors in both surveys have also been corrected (and no doubt others introduced)” I notice (somewhat facetiously) that you have introduced your own into the Blog itself . viz “There is also a full set of burial registers available from 1813 to the present, with those to 1905 having been transcribed in2025 by the Burntwood Gamily History Society.” Obviously a very forward thinking Society!
Inevitably in the last paragraph I altered before hitting the “publish” button. Thanks for spotting the mistake – it has now been corrected.