St George’s church, Portland hosts ‘Operation Nightingale’

Related Articles

Related Articles

Operation Nightingale : HeritageDaily

Soldiers returning from active service abroad will be lending their time and skills to conserve, repair and investigate the fascinating church of St George’s in Portland , Dorset.

We are running this project with the support of  a £40,700 successful Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid together with other local grant funding, the project will involve Wessex Archaeology, students and local amateur archaeologists working alongside the soldiers in a complete metric survey of the churchyard.


The latest laser scanning equipment will be utilised in the project and it is hoped the servicemen will be able to acquire associated professional skills as part of their programme of rehabilitation involving the pioneering project Operation Nightingale. The project has already shown that working with archaeology can help with dramatic improvements.

The project will involve vital conservation and repair of about a quarter of the tombstones and memorials in the enormous churchyard which contains as many as 1,000 graves. Many of the memorials tell extraordinary tales of shipwreck, tragedy and heroism – all carved on to the local smooth, white Portland stone.

St. George’s Church, Portland:

St George’s Church is a Church of England church on the Isle of Portland, built between 1754 and 1766 to replace St. Andrew’s which had fallen into disuse and was no longer suitable as a place of worship.  The church was closed in 1914 for many reasons, and fell into further disrepair ever since that time. In the 1960s however, the church fell under the protection of a newly formed group, the ‘Friends of St George’s Church’, who were able to restore the church. Now no longer needed for regular worship, the church is now a redundant church in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust

Dr Neil Rushton, Conservation Manager for the CCT says;

“Once the conservation repairs and archaeology are complete we plan to involve local schools and the Portland community in a programme of memorial recording.

We hope to complete the project in time for the 2012 Olympics with an aim to attract new visitors to this renewed and reinterpreted heritage site. We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grant givers for helping us to make this happen.”

Commenting on the grant award, HLF’s Acting Head of South West,Richard Bellamy, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support this project.  Not only will it,help to preserve the important monuments in the churchyard but it will also allow fascinating stories from Portland’s past to be told, whilst providing valuable therapeutic work for returning service personnel”

Sgt Diarmaid Walshe who leads the project for the Army said “we are delighted to assist the local community in recording heritage in their local area which helps strengthen inks between the Army and the public”

Working alongside Dr Rushton and his team is the CCT Development Officer Kim Thompson who will be working with volunteers on new exhibitions to be placed in the church interior.

Follow Operation Nightingale –

HeritageDaily : Archaeology News : Archaeology Press Releases

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic


“Woodhenge” Discovered in the Iberian Peninsula

Archaeologists conducting research in the Perdigões complex in the Évora district of the Iberian Peninsula has uncovered a “Woodhenge” monument.

New Fossil Discovery Shows How Ancient ‘Hell Ants’ Hunted With Headgear

Researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of Rennes in France have unveiled a stunning 99-million-year-old fossil pristinely preserving an enigmatic insect predator from the Cretaceous Period -- a 'hell ant' (haidomyrmecine) -- as it embraced its unsuspecting final victim, an extinct relative of the cockroach known as Caputoraptor elegans.

New Algorithm Suggests That Early Humans and Related Species Interbred Early and Often

A new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor.

Long Neck Helped Reptile Hunt Underwater

Its neck was three times as long as its torso, but had only 13 extremely elongated vertebrae: Tanystropheus, a bizarre giraffe-necked reptile which lived 242 million years ago, is a paleontological absurdity.

A New Look at Mars’ Eerie, Ultraviolet Nighttime Glow

Every night on Mars, when the sun sets and temperatures fall to minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit and below, an eerie phenomenon spreads across much of the planet's sky: a soft glow created by chemical reactions occurring tens of miles above the surface.

Global Magnetic Field of the Solar Corona Measured for the First Time

An international team of solar physicists, including academics from Northumbria University, in Newcastle upon Tyne, has recently measured the global magnetic field of the outer most layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, the solar corona, for the first time.

New Insight Into The Evolution of Complex Life on Earth

A novel connection between primordial organisms and complex life has been discovered, as new evidence sheds light on the evolutionary origins of the cell division process that is fundamental to complex life on Earth.

NASA Data Helps Uncover Our Solar System’s Shape

Scientists have developed a new prediction of the shape of the bubble surrounding our solar system using a model developed with data from NASA missions.

Popular stories

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.

The Real Dracula?

“Dracula”, published in 1897 by the Irish Author Bram Stoker, introduced audiences to the infamous Count and his dark world of sired vampiric minions.