Minstead All Saints RTI

Grave 1 Before RTI at Minstead All Saints.
Author: Jack Brown

As part of the Our Past, Our Future, Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) Landscape Partnership Scheme the New Forest National Park Archaeology Team have been working with Minstead to survey the condition of, and record the monuments at All Saints in Minstead. The survey will help accurately map and identify monuments that can be conserved using HLF funds and will ultimately create a database for ongoing management of the graveyard. The other ambition is to make the list of burials and monuments within the graveyard available to the public on this site to help people who are researching their family trees.

As well as hard graft from volunteers we have been using technology to help us reveal the secrets of Minstead; Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). The process involves taking numerous photos of one monument with a raking light and then letting the computer do the hard work to produce some amazing results. If you are interested in learning more about RTI photography you can do: here. The results produced highlighted how valuable RTI is; as the inscriptions that were once illegible have now been legible, providing a greater resource within the overall survey and documentation process.


The following inscriptions have been transcribed through RTI. From the photo’s shown, the transformation is highlighted from before and after the RTI is applied. Despite how useful RTI is, deterioration of gravestones made some gravestones difficult to transcribe and hence, total recovery of the inscriptions may not have been possible.

Grave 1:

“Sacred to the memory of John Gill late of Bramble Hill Lodge who departed this life November 12th 1869, aged 75 years. Also of Hannah, the beloved wife of the above who departed this life May 26th 1866, aged 62 years. The lord gave and the lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Grave 2:

“The memory of James Humby who departed this life October 6th 1810, aged 57 years. A faithful friend, brother dear and a dutiful son lies sleeping here. In peace (….).Also to the memory of John Morris, who departed this life February 22nd 1812 aged 61 years. Also of Elizabeth, wife of the above who departed this life May 16th 1839, aged 56 years. {…} . “

Grave 3:

“In Memory of Thomas Lovell who departed this life Oct. 27th in the year of the lord 1818, aged 68 years. My life is past, my glass is full, so I will with good.
Also Barbara, wife of Thomas Lovell who died Dec’. 27th 1821, aged 66 years. Mourn not for me my children dear. Nor weep for me in vain, think on the joys we shall (?) when we shall meet again.”

Grave 4:

“Sacred to the memory of Sarah, wife of David Tuck who died 13th November 1828, aged 66 years. Also of the above David Tuck {…..} who departed this life 4th July 1812, aged 81 years”

Grave 5:

“In loving memory of Ann, the beloved wife of Joseph Compton who died November 23rd 1890, aged 72 years. Also of the above named Joseph Compton who died June 22nd 1902, aged 85 years. Rest In Peace.”


Survey work is ongoing at Minstead and we will share all the results with you when we have them. As a result of the volunteer led survey several of the monuments have been conserved and several additional conservation projects are ongoing.
As well as Minstead we have been working at the following graveyards and using RTI to reveal their secrets.

New Forest Graveyard Survey

Burley – St John the Baptist
Copythorne – St Mary’s
Emery Down – Christ Church
• Lyndhurst – St Michaels & All Angels

RTI Example from Minstead


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