The Ipswich Historical Commission thanks Essex National Heritage for the 2014 Partnership Grant for the Old North Burying Ground. We contracted with Fannin-Lehner Preservation Consultants for a study of a section of the Burying Ground that represented a sampling of the oldest tombstones, dating back to the late 17th Century. The area is immediately to the right after entering the gate from High Street, extending about 60 feet forward and to the boundary with the house immediately abutting on the east side. Fannin-Lehner produced a comprehensive report with an inventory of the stones, identifying the deceased, the material used and condition of the stones, along with recommendations for repair.
After completing this initial phase of our long-term plan to restore the Old North Burying Ground, the Historical Commission is now sponsoring a larger comprehensive study of the entire Old North Burying Ground, for which we received a matching grant through the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund. Martha Lyon Landscape Associates was chosen as the contractor, and Fannin-Lehner Preservation Consultants is working with her in a similar capacity to the project for which we received the grant through Essex National Heritage. That report is expected to be completed in August of 2015. The assessments and recommendations provided through the two studies will be the guidelines for our actual restoration work on the Old North Burying Ground. al labor to restore the gravestones and landscape.
To provide information to the public about the Old North Burying Ground, the studies and our preservation efforts, town historian Gordon Harris created a new feature on the Ipswich Historical Commission site. The book Memento Mori was produced by the Ipswich Historical Society in 1935, and is the basis for our inventory. A volunteer intern with the Ipswich Planning Department, Kayla Dorey, has prepared an index of the graves. She and Gordon conducted a volunteer project to provide photographs of each grave. Each name in the index references the location on the cemetery map where the grave will be found. Links to the photographs are being added to the index. Additional indexes on the site provide the inscriptions from the tombstones. The assessments and gravestone carver information from the Fannin-Lehner Preservation Consultants report are featured on the web site as well. The various indexes and search features on the site are assisting Fannin-Lehner Associates and Martha Lyon in their work on the second phase.