FAQs

Memorial showing a man reading a book, surrounded by angels fighting death

How were the biographies written and researched? 
The biographies on the Monumental Lives website have been written by a team of volunteer researchers. Please note that this research has not been peer reviewed. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.

Not every person on the database has a biography – why is this? 
There are almost 2000 people commemorated in the Abbey, so writing a biography for every person is a huge research task. If you are interested in a particular person, please contact us to ask for more information. There is a list of the people that our volunteers have researched on the Monumental Lives website.

How do I find a memorial? 
Find the location code and reference number by searching the Memorials database.  If you are looking for a gravestone, check the plans of the Abbey floor to find the stone. Stewards and staff on the Abbey floor are always happy to help visitors find memorials. Please check the opening times on the Bath Abbey website prior to visiting.

I cannot find a memorial! 
A few memorials at the East End of the Abbey are covered by pews (known as the Corporation Stalls). See the plan of the East End. Two memorials at the West End are covered by the sound tower. After the Abbey floor was repaired in 2021, some gravestones were too damaged to repair and are in storage. The database records inscriptions on the memorials that are covered by pews, and we may have photographs.  Please ask a steward for help or contact MonumentalLives@bathabbey.org

The location code is SA4. What does this mean?

The Abbey’s floor has been separated into sections to aid cataloguing and locating the stone. SA4, for example stands for South Aisle, section 4. The plans show the boundaries of the location codes.

Some memorials have multiple reference numbers. Why is this?

 A reference number (old) on a memorial record will either begin with F or W, representing ‘Floor’ or ‘Wall’, for example W512 is assigned to John Sibthorp. If a memorial is on the floor of the Abbey it will also have a Reference number (new). These new numbers were assigned during the Footprint Project, unless a memorial was not returned due to damage. William Gye’s memorial can be found via the old number F107 or the new 1450.

The record of the inscription on the database has more information than the stone.  Why is this?

There is a record of the inscriptions in the Abbey archives.  This records inscriptions that are now worn away.

Do you have photographs of the memorials? 
Yes we do, please ask MonumentalLives@bathabbey.org for help.

I have an image of a person memorialised or an image of something relating to them. Can I send this to you?

Yes, you can send us images if you have the rights to do so. We are not currently searching for images not already in the Abbey Collection, for example images of the memorials themselves, however we would love to be able to put names to faces eventually. If you have ownership of an image and you would like it to be on the website please email MonumentalLives@bathabbey.org to receive a photography release form to allow us to use it.

How do I get contact? 
Please get in touch via our contact page.

How many memorials are there in the Abbey? 
There are 617 wall tablets and around 800 gravestones.

How many people are commemorated in the Abbey?
The database lists 1493 people.

How can I visit Bath Abbey? 
Information about services, events, and visiting times is available on the Bath Abbey website.

How can I find out more about the history of the Abbey? 
The Abbey guidebook is for sale in the Abbey shop. You can book a floor tour, group visit, or tour of the tower. Visit the Discovery Centre, our interactive museum, which displays objects from our collections, with videos, costumes, and exhibits. The learning programme offers tours for primary and secondary schools, in person or online. The standard history of the Abbey is ‘Bath Abbey: A History’ by Kenneth Hylson-Smith (Friends of Bath Abbey, 2003).

How can I get involved? 
The project is not recruiting volunteers at the present time but do contact us to register your interest.

What does the project plan to do next? 
Staff will continue to add information to the database and website. The Abbey’s Learning Manager will use the information in talks, tours, and learning resources. Future interpretation of the Abbey’s history will use this research.

I have noticed that some people were buried in the Abbey Churchyard. Where is it? 
The Abbey Churchyard is the square in front of the west end of the Abbey.

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