Situated next to Eaton Manor is a beautiful Norman Church called St Edith’s, which is cared for by a group of dedicated parishioners.
The Churchyard is maintained according to the God’s Acre scheme, which was started in South Shropshire, to increase bio diversity and to produce a traditional meadow with as wide a variety of indigenous plants as possible.
To achieve this, the flowers and grasses are cut down in June or July, which traditionally would have been a hay crop with someone locally making use of the hay. The ground is then left until October when it is strimmed again to leave the grass very low for bulbs to come through the following spring. In a traditional meadow it would be grazed up until November which keeps the grass very low.
Over the years quite a number of graves in the Churchyard have collapsed, making the ground difficult to maintain and very uneven for visitors. Also, with more even ground, an “Alan scythe” can be used, instead of a strimmer, which does a much better job and also takes a lot less time.
In July, Eaton Manor hosted Pernod Ricard, through Onyx Events, who were interested in undertaking a community project during their stay, and so it was decided to combine their need with the work needed in the Churchyard. The Archdeacon of Ludlow asked that local soil was used for this project and this was duly provided by Eaton Manor. The business group paid for all of the expenses of this project, from the hire of Eaton Manor’s grounds-man for the afternoon to the cost of the soil. Eaton Manor then donated the money they received for the soil to Eaton’s Church, so the Church had a double win!
Eaton Manor’s head gardener, David, ran the project. There were six teams of eight people working throughout an afternoon and he explained how the Churchyard was managed and the details of the project. The long grass had been cut in July and the business group raked it off and helped to barrow and move 6 tonnes of soil to fill in the collapsed graves. All the teams were very interested in the project and fascinated by our beautiful Church and grounds. During the afternoon each team had a number of tasks to do around Eaton Manor and when asked which activity they liked the best they all voted for the work in the Churchyard.