Devizes has three large medieval churches, and this one, the Church of St Mary, is now redundant and is about to be adapted into a community centre. The pews will be removed to allow space for a performing area, and it is hoped local choirs, music, drama groups and dancers will be able to hold small concerts here with an audience of around 200. A new extension to the side of the nave is planned, and this will provide space for a kitchen and toilets.
Before the work can begin, a team of archeologists has arrived to excavate the churchyard and burial ground, and remove and reinter any human remains that may be found, or to find and record other objects of archeological interest. The churchyard was excavated years ago when evidence was found of 11th & 12th century burials.
The photo below shows a recently dug hole near the blue tarpaulin. The tombs and gravestones in the foreground date from the early 19th century. Just behind the nearest soil heap is a surveyor in his yellow coat with a theodolite, obviously recording the lie of the land. Work should begin on the extension later this year.
|Excavations begin on the site of the new extension.|