St. Martin's Churchyard
The oldest surviving gravestone in the churchyard is dated 1715, but the height of the ground suggests that it has been a burial ground for a very long time. In the Chancel there is a gravestone of Ellen Muxloe who died in 1698.
In 1896 the graveyard was extended and this was probably when the south-east section came into use. The wrought iron gates were erected at this time but were replaced by a new set in 2002 in memory of Jack Goulton.
The chestnut trees were given in 1920 by members of the British Legion as a tribute to those who died in the First World War. The lych gate was erected in 1938 memory of Mrs Kelly, church organist and wife of Dr Kelly, who lived at The Grange.
As the graveyard was getting full, the cemetery was opened in 1940 by the Parish Council at Lockey Hill, just outside the village. The first burial there was in 1942.
There are four Commonwealth War Graves in the south-east section of the churchyard.
In 1967 a decision was made to move the gravestones in the north-west area of the churchyard and many of them were relocated against the boundary wall. The Garden of Remembrance was created against the base of the tower for the burying of ashes. This created a green space which has since been used for church fetes and, in recent years, for other community events such as the Christmas Market, Open Gardens and the Scarecrow Festival.
In 2021 a full survey was carried out and a record and photograph of all gravestones was put onto a database so that it is much easier to respond to enquiries. During the survey, several gravestones were re-discovered under a cloak of vegetation.
Wrought iron gates
A Stroll Through Desford Churchyard by Caroline Wessel (History Series)
Searches of the Modes database can be made on request.