Results from a geophysical survey of the chancel in All Saints Houghton Regis revealed evidence of burials of members of the Brandreth family in a crypt beneath the tombstones.
From the mid-17th Century to the 20th Century, the Brandreth family played an important role in Houghton Regis. Evidence of this is seen in the church where there are 25 tombstones dating back to the 17th century and earlier, laid into the floor in the chancel, under the choir stalls and in front of the alter.
It was not known if there is a crypt below the church containing the remains of the Brandreths. The Houghton Regis Heritage Society, researching the history of the Brandreth family, and Michael Hunt, from the church Parochial Parish Council (PPC), considered it an important part of the research to discover if there is a vault and to document the tombstones to provide a public record. The Heritage Society sought permission from the PPC to carry out a ground penetrating radar geophysical survey of the chancel. The church readily agreed to this.
The survey was carried out in May 2015 by Norman Bell of Allied Associates Ltd (Geophysical Instrumentation Specialists) based in Blackburn Road Houghton Regis.
The results support the presence of a crypt, with burials under 24 of the stones. However under one tombstone (Nehemiah Brandreth who died in 1719) there was no evidence of ground disturbance. The reason for this is unknown.
David Hill, Chairman of the Society said that the Society and the church were delighted with the suvey but, as always, it raises questions for the society historian to ponder over. The results will be collated and made available in a book to be published by the Heritage Society.
HOUGHTON REGIS HERITAGE SOCIETY ORGANISES A GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY OF ALL SAINTS CHURCH
Pictures on this page are copyright Allied Associates (c) 2015.
The outside scan is over the slab running west to east. The colours indicate strong responses of energy but helping the eye to see structure. On the outside scan the top bands are are simply highlighting the slab. The sloping V sign is actually the vertical walls of the grave. The overal grave presence can be seen to be different to the surrounding soil which is un-disturbed . The deeper responses could be from a coffin or burial casket but it is very strong so possibly lead. Not sure but certainly suggestion NOT the water table as these signatures are not in the surrounding soil.