Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Heartfelt Inscription

John Portingale was certainly loved by his fellow villagers. Hence the inscription:

He Died As He Lived
Everybody's Friend

Comedian Spike Milligan has the words, I Told You I Was Sick, on his, albeit written in Gaelic. What would you like to see on your own headstone?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Baffling memorial

Now, this has baffled me as I have never seen anything like it before. I wonder what the significance is of having a recumbent cross alongside a wall of rocks. Any ideas, anyone?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Variation on a Theme

On the south coast of England, one evening this week, I saw a sign to a cemetery and turned off my route to visit it. I was glad I did. It turned out to be an old cemetery with a host of interesting gravestones bearing some fine examples of grave art. I was captivated by this Ivy-clad headstone which marked the last resting place of Charlotte Ellen, wife of James Jilks, who died, aged 49, in 190?

I always record examples of clasped hands symbolism. I was fascinated to see this example supported on each side by a small angel. Has anyone seen anything similar?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A Collection of Nutters!

This memorial records the names of a number of Nutters. The name has two possible origins - Anglo-Saxon: a variant of 'Nothard', an occupational name for a keeper of oxen or Olde English 'notere', an occupational name for scribe or clerk.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Another Glimpse at an Ascension Island Cemetery

A second selection of photographs of graves in the Georgetown (Dead Men's) Cemetery on Ascension Island. Many of the early gravestones had plaques attached that commemorated the deceased. A lot of them have detached themselves.

Very faded and it looks like this stone is turning to sand.

A remarkably well-preserved piece of slate, despite it being broken

Here, because of the ravages of time,  another name plaque has fallen away
Poor Kate. The two year old accidentally drowned in the Turtle Pond in 1855

Private Witbooi Johannes who died at sea and was buried here. The regiment was raised from the Cape Coloured community of the Union of South African during the First World War. 

The Baskian Swastika Lauburu. For more on the symbols history, click HERE

Simple crosses are popular, too but why these are leaned against a well, I do not know

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Decaying Beauty of an Ascension Island Cemetery

I once had a long flight down to Ascension Island in the south Atlantic. I was there on assignment and the week-long event I was reporting, finished early. I was, therefore, marooned there until my flight home. The aircraft came from the Falkland Islands and the weather prevented it taking off for some days.
I have to admit I was rather pleased as it gave me a chance to visit some of the very old cemeteries on Ascension. Loaded down with Kodachrome film, I was able to shoot away to my heart's content.

My first visit was to the Georgetown (Dead Men's) Cemetery. Ascension being a volcanic island meant that the background looks like a lava field. It reminded me of a long abandoned archeological site awaiting discovery. Many of the early graves had eroded very badly - the site is close to the beach and years and years of sand being blown by the wind across the cemetery has left its mark. Note the lumps of volcanic rock used to edge the graves. Here are a few examples of what I saw through my viewfinder.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Novel Way of Remembering One's Family

When I visited the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery, I discovered there are actually two separate cemeteries enclosed within one wall. The City Cemetery was established in 1844. The original iron and stone entrance gate is no longer used and entrance is through the adjoining Confederate Cemetery. Oh that my visit was at a time when digital cameras were in existence. Worrying about the amount of 35mm film I had with me, I only shot a few frames. There are so many spectacular memorials, I wish I had shot more . . .

I noticed some small headstones that were crumbling and sinking into the ground - Howison Beale was one of the surnames. Remarkably, I came across a large memorial which was intended to preserve details of the family graves. A line across the bottom of the memorial records: "This stone is erected by their son, Frank D Beale to preserve the inscriptions of the old gravestones now mouldering nearby 1959."

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Iron Grave Markers in Virginia

The Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery is also the City cemetery and while there I noticed three iron grave markers. I photographed the large pair from front and rear. I guess the large circular recess is to hold a pot of blooms? The frame of one has long since rusted away and the stone plaque now rests against the base. The other is recumbent and forms an ornate border to what remains of the stone. Sadly, I cannot now remember the size of the latter, although it may have been the grave of a small child. If anyone has been to Fredericksburg and remembers it, please let me know.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Confederate Cemetery

Slowly starting to pick my way through my massive photographic archive, I came across these photographs of the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery that I took in the 1990s. According to the National Park Service, the cemetery is situated at the corner of William Street and Washington Avenue.

Six Confederate generals and more than 3,300 Southern soldiers lie buried there, 2,184 of them are unknown. For more information, click HERE. Click once on an image, and then again for a close-up view.

Tombs on Tombs

I noticed two of the Clitheroe cemetery headstones each had a tomb or sarcophagus at their head. The first has dove which appears to be offering  an olive twig to the occupant - the tomb is open. The second is either a palm leaf or willow branch draped over the tomb. Maybe a curtain? A positive i.d. would be welcomed.

Effects of Erosion

I have been wondering recently about why the facades of certain headstones crumble away to nothing. I thought I would look at the effects in more detail. Here is the first stone. While the weeping willow and tomb at the top of the headstone are fine, the top third of the inscribed lettering has fallen away. No trace of it exists so it must have been disposed of. I hope gravestone recorders collected the information before it was lost. The lower part is close to falling away.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Cemetery of Dogs

Over the years, I have acquired a small number of postcards of Le Cimetiere des Chiens - the Paris Dog Cemetery. Recently, I acquired a significant archive of material on this fascinating cemetery. I have decided to publish them on a separate blog. Click HERE to visit it. I hope you enjoy seeing them.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Pensive look on mourning Figure

What a pensive expression on the face of this figure that forms part of the memorial to Edith Annie, beloved wife of Cawin Joseph Harling Herdman who died in 1912 aged 46. Her 14-year-old son, died in 1915, while her husband Cawin (54) died in 1918. The grave is in Clitheroe Cemetery in Lancashire.

In 1881, Cawin was a clerk to his uncle Joseph Harling Herdman who was a wine and spirit merchant. Cawin's brother, Henry, is listed as having the slightly mysterious occupation of 'Spirit Traveller'!

In 1901, Cawin was living in Toxteth Park, Liverpool and is described as a retired Wine-Merchant (aged 37). Living with him was his wife Edith and three sons - Gavin 8, Henry 2 and one-month-old Joseph.

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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