8th June, 2019 Churchyards as places of resort 3.
Two essential elements to making churchyards ‘places of resort’ are benches (seating) and a hard-surface perimeter path around the church building, this latter to facilitate a visual taking-in/study of the external features of the building – building stone/brick, roofing material, architectural style (often varying in one part from another), curious features etc. It is almost certain that no matter how many times one does this perambulation one’s eye will detect something new each time.
The photo above, chosen at random, shows the west end of the church at Holme on Spalding Moor in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It shows a small area of peripheral scrubland (s.p.b.), this continued around the site and I think, if I remember correctly, there may be a couple of benches on site, but, as with most churchyards, more could be accommodated. In the case of Holme on Spalding Moor churchyard it has to be stated that if one has walked up the hill to the churchyard and then round the church anyone, young or old, would welcome a bench (there is a small car park on site from which the above photo was taken).
Of course the perennial counter argument is that any sort of facility invites vandalism by thoughtless users, a line of thought that I myself think is very important to consider. On the other hand the obvious retort is no facilities, no visitors. Also cash-strapped parochial church councils can hardly be expected to always fund benches and access paths and with local authorities in similar circumstances the only avenue left is individual benevolence, but with personal greed applauded in society then where can one turn?
Negativity aside I think this is an initiative worth considering, churchyards as places of resort for the general public.