Guest blog post by Celeste Billung-Meyer a Folklore student working with the Heritage Foundation this summer:
Last Saturday (July 16 th , 2016), I attended the Graveyard Mapping Workshop and Clean Up in Heart’s Content. It was an event co-organized by the Heritage Foundation and Youth Heritage in order to help Heart’s Content get ready for their 150th anniversary of the first successful landing of a trans Atlantic cable.
We had a fantastic turn out! The majority of our volunteers gathered at the Heritage Foundation for 9 am, where we got on a bus and drove to Heart’s Content. When we arrived and met up with the rest of the volunteers, the weather looked dubious; however, much to our delight, within the hour the sun came out and the day ended up being gorgeous and warm!
|Practising gravestone rubbing.|
For the morning, the group was split between two activities. One group started cleaning up the cemetery and the other group went with Terra who led a workshop about grave rubbing. As it happened, there was no tracing paper to be bought anywhere in St. John’s during the days leading up to the workshop and so Terra resolved to use exam table paper (found in doctor’s offices) as a substitute. However, the substitute paper combined with the windy morning (making it hard tape the paper tightly to the stone) lead to mixed grave rubbing results. Nonetheless, everyone came away with a working knowledge of the process and an solid understanding of the value of grave rubbing.
Around noon, we were invited to a lunch provided by the Mizzen Heritage Society. Hotdogs for all! After lunch, we had the graveyard mapping workshop lead by Dale and Michael. While this type of mapping is quite a slow and painstaking process, it can be used by anyone with just a couple of tools that are cheap and easily accessible (two stakes, two tape measures, a plumb bob, graph paper, a large clip board, a geometry kit, a scale ruler and a pencil). After the demonstration, the group was split in two again and anyone who wanted to try the mapping first hand stayed with Michael and was given a chance to do so.
|Dale and Sarah demonstrating how to map the graveyard.|
|Michael drawing out the map.|
The rest of the group followed Dale on a walk around the cemetery and he explained the meaning behind the symbols on some of the graves!
|Dale giving a tour of the cemetery symbols.|
Once the tour ended, everyone came together to finish cleaning up the cemetery.
|Photo of our wonderful volunteers and the progress of the graveyard!|
We finished the day with a walk over to the Mizzen Heritage Society and then the newly renovated Heyfield Memorial United Church and Cemetery. Along the way, we learned a bit about the history of Heart’s Content, some of the ghost lore of the area and a bit about what the Heritage Foundation and Youth Heritage are up to in the next couple of months!
|Learning about Heart's Content's history.|