The growth of the dead will mirror the growth of the living, and as the population of Brighthelmston increased so did the old ground around the church. Expansion peaked in the 19th century, with the northern extension opening in 1825 and the Rest Garden in 1841. The church building was also improved, and its redevelopment in the 1850’s prompted the first big clearance of the graves and monuments particularly to the immediate north of the church. Some of those moved – like Sir Richard Phillips, now in the Rest Garden – were disintered and reburied elsewhere. Others – likely the less wealthy or influential occupants were unceremoniously relocated to a disused well in the churchyard. In they were tipped – coffins and all.
The second and bigger clearances took place in the late 1940’s. By then the site was owned and managed by the Brighton Corporation and had been closed for burials for many years.
This first plan shows the churchyard in 1949
And this second just two years later in 1951.
The monuments at this site were reduced from 1300 to just 275. Records are poor. Which is one of the most difficult and most interesting things about the place.