St Nicholas is the ancient Parish Church of Stevenage.
The Saxon church on this site was replaced by a Norman one in about 1100 AD, but the only remaining part of this is the flint
work tower. The church structure has been partially rebuilt
many times, it's now a patchwork of nine centuries of local workmanship.
The graveyard is fairly extensive and now merges
at the rear with the newer Weston Road Cemetery which opened in 1988. Along with the many headstones dating from the 1700's
it has a rare example of a very ornate Mortsafe. The Mortsafe, as the name suggests, was a method to protect graves from the
Victorian body snatchers. They primarily consisted of an iron cage which enclosed the grave offering protection from
intrusion. Although a grisly deed body snatching wasn't actually illegal at the time, but the thieft of grave goods
was however and carried the death sentence. This therefore entailed the Resurrectionists, as they were known, to be extremely careful
in removing all clothing and jewellery from the corpse and returning it to the grave.
The Mortsafe seen in the photos below appears to be more
of a decorative addition rather then a true deterrent, but
then combined with the heavy stonework within the safe I'm sure it acted as a suitable defence.
These photos were taken on a dreary, almost sunless day
in October 2014.