EASTON LABYRINTH AND PEACE GARDEN
A place of contemplation and reflection
About Easton Labyrinth and Peace Garden
What is it?
A place of contemplation for everyone
An area within the newly extended Easton on the Hill Churchyard containing a paved labyrinth, a seating area in a garden with raised beds, and a focal point sculpture.
A new village amenity
A place for all ages, and backgrounds, within and without the village, especially for those who mourn or who just want a bit of peace
A commemoration of all those villagers who fought in WW1 and 2
How it all happened
How did it start?
The beautiful churchyard of All Saints’ Church at Easton on the Hill is almost full. The Parish Council and the Parochial Parish Council worked together to extend the churchyard. In 2013, the land was purchased and a timber post and rail fence was erected with an internal hedge around the perimeter.
Wall or fence?
It was suggested it might be better to have a stone wall as a boundary to match the other dry stone walls bordering the original churchyard and the fields beyond. Ideas were put forward to dismantle the stone from the west boundary and use it to build a stone wall for the north boundary, running alongside Tank Road, with a fence and hedge staying for the west boundary for further expansion. Planning permission was eventually obtained.
An informal team of villagers was established to look into possibilities of making better but appropriate use of the extension. As well as the vicar we were lucky to find villagers with skills in garden design, stonemasonry, financial management, marketing, conservation, and bid writing as well as many other willing helpers. At the same time the "Friends of the Church" organisation was established to support the Church and the dwindling PCC. "The Friends" is now a wider, largely secular group of villagers, open to all, and has taken on the never ending task of the maintenance of the fabric of the Church and grounds.
After a detailed inspection it was obvious that there would be a shortfall of suitable stone, once the old wall had been demolished. Expensive new stone would be needed to be bought in which led to discussions about funding.
A visit was made to East Northamptonshire Council conference on project funding and it became apparent that by adding some social amenity to the project, we would stand a better chance of accessing grant funding as well as creating new benefits of the project. As the project idea developed we also ran fundraisers and appeals throughout the village to raise around 50% of the project cost.
Creating an amenity
One of the team commented that as a mourner herself there were few places for her and her family to sit and reflect around the original churchyard and this extension could be better designed to accommodate seating, particularly because of the outstanding views and location.
The idea began to form of creating an area within a garden which would be appropriate for reflection and mourning as well as creating an amenity for the whole village.
During these conversations an idea of creating a labyrinth along similar lines to the one in Chartres Cathedral arose. A central point of focus with a spiritual dimension could attract not only people from the village but also others from a wider area.
The decision was made to include the labyrinth within the garden. Four designs were created and these were exhibited to the village for comment during the consecration of the land in April 2016. The clear winning design was developed and costed so it could be included in grant applications to East Northamptonshire council in September 2016. Valuable assistance in bid writing came from CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) whose head office is situated opposite the church.
After much hard work on fundraising and gaining the necessary permissions, (both from the local planning and conservation authority and the Diocese of Peterborough), the target of £65,000 was raised and permissions granted. The key was gaining a very significant grant from East Northants Community Facilities Fund. The project could not have progressed without this award, and it was the key to raising the total figure. Other grant funding came from the Garfield Weston Foundation, and the Historic Churches Trust, for which the whole village is very grateful.
Visiting Easton Labyrinth and Peace Garden
How to find us
Easton Labyrinth and Peace Garden is part of All Saints Church, Church Street, Easton on the Hill, PE9 3LL.
Drive/walk/cycle to the northern end of Church Street and walk through the churchyard to the western end. Parking is on Church Street. The site is accessible by wheelchair but via grassy paths that may be soft in wet weather.
Get in touch
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email via the link below. Note that this is a volunteer run organisation and responses may not be swift.