Saturday, 20 June 2009

Is this the Longest Family Grave?

During yesterday's visit to the Victorian Locksbrook cemetery in Bath, I came across this grave. I approached through graves to the right of its headstone, and it was only when I turned round that I realised just how remarkably long the grave was! I walked to its end so that I could capture this image for you. Aside from mass graves for disaster victims, have any of you seen a family grave of this length? Please let me know.

By way of historical interest, the headstone records that four people are buried in the plot. George Annersley Phayre [Captain Royal Navy], his widow, a daughter and the quaintly described 'third' daughter. Phayre was commander of the paddle sloop Basilisk which was one of a fleet of Royal Navy ships sent to North American waters because of the Trent Affair in 1861.

The Trent Affair has been described as the most serious diplomatic crisis between Britain and the US federal government during the American Civil War.removed It came about when the US Northern navy stopped the British merchant ship, Trent in neutral waters and seized two Confederate emissaries [to London and Paris].

Writing in the online Canadian Encyclopedia, author Robin W Winks records that news of the seizure and violation of British neutrality was greeted by demands for apologies from the US and for its surrender of the diplomats. For a while, was appeared possible between Britain and the North, with Canada likely to be a battleground. The crisis passed when the North returned the Confederate commisions some seven weeks later. No apology was given . . .


Anonymous said...

I love this blog Laurie. I've never seen such a long grave, thanks for posting that photo! At first, my childish mind though "must be a very tall person"!!!

Margaret Pangert said...

I was wandering if they all died at once; if not, how could you measure it out beforehand? Maybe Phayre was claustrophobic and couldn't bear the thought of passing eternity with his entire family piled on top of him. Maybe by sheer importance of his stature in the Navy he was given this long, elegant plot.

Laurie said...

Thanks, Rain - a giant of a man? Probably not.

Hi Margaret, I like your idea of his stature in the Navy being behind the length of the plot. It is almost ship length. I wonder if he is in the bows with the womenfolk in the stern?

Owen said...

Oh, Rain, you do know about this place, great, I left a comment just before coming here on Laurie's other blog suggesting he go look at your cemetery shots from today...

Laurie, great story here, I'd never heard about the Trent... we get such a poor education in the states, too many big gaps... thanks for filling some of them in for me !

That is indeed a very long grave, for a minute I thought maybe you were in a pet cemetery, and it was where a giraffe was buried. Odd they stretched it out long-wise like that for people... Roald Dahl would have had a field day I think.

Gale Wall said...

I have posted a family burial grouping of 10 graves on my blog.
There is no coping around it but you can tell from the layout they belong together. Someone cared enough to mark this pioneer family with matching stones.

I really enjoy your blogs!

Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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