Sunday 12 December 2010

Historic Cemetery Assessment - California State Parks

Here are two videos I found on YouTube. Professionally made, I think they are very illuminating.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Salesman's Sample

Often, funeral directors' had a selection of illustrations printed to give the recently bereaved an opportunity to view the types of headstone available. Here is No. 6 of an unknown company's wares - A cross and surrounding stonework in Silver Grey Cornish Granite.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

berrima cemetery - nsw australia

I was really impressed with the work of this Australian photographer. The texture is amazing!

Saturday 13 November 2010

Rachel and Rachel

When Rachel Francis died in March 1865 aged just 11 hours, her grieving parents James and Elizabeth buried her in Preston Cemetery. The headstone contains a striking portrait of a young girl. Curiously, the memorial records the name of another daughter, surprisingly also christened Rachel, who died in November 1873 aged three years three months. It must be the latter who is the subject of the portrait.

Saturday 30 October 2010

Rock of Ages

An image I shot many years ago at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey made me feel like Gulliver. Then I realised it was a small grave ornament in the grass rather than a full-sized memorial. I think it quite unusual and I have never seen another.

Saturday 16 October 2010

Mourning Statues 2

More, as promised, of the Mourning Statues in St Anne's churchyard in Lancashire. This pair of angels, one grieving, the other consoling, marks the grave of Agnes Lois Mary McClaren who died in Paris 29 October 1923. The differing views and angles are a regular feature of my grave recording and it is certainly worth the effort to take photographs from all angles rather than one straight on . . . I was impressed to see the sculptor (unknown) had even modelled the feet of the grieving angel.

Monday 4 October 2010

Mourning Statues

Not so long ago, I visited the churchyard of St Anne's Church in Lancashire. I thought I would not find a lot of interest. I was wrong and was surprised to find a large number of grieving figures and angels among the headstones. I will post a few examples in coming days. Here is the Blue Angel.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

More Angels with Stars

Now I can't stop finding them. These two angels are marking graves in St Anne's Churchyard in Lancashire. They, too, have stars on the heads. Has anyone else noticed them elsewhere?

Monday 13 September 2010

Angels raise a Question

When I visited Brookwood Cemetery many, many years ago, I took photographs of several of the angel memorials. When scanning the negatives recently, I noticed they had stars on their heads. Does anyone know why? I read somewhere that a five pointed star on a memorial linked the deceased to Freemasonry.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Sambo's Grave

A week or two ago, I saw mention of a grave on the Lancashire coast and just a few days later found myself standing next to it. According to Wikipedia, Sambo's Grave is the burial site of a dark skinned cabin boy or slave on unconsecrated ground in a field near the small hamlet of Sunderland Point, near Heysham, Lancashire.

Sunderland Point was a port that served cotton, sugar and slave ships from the West Indies and North America. It is a very small community only accessible via a narrow road which crosses a salt marsh and is cut off at high tide.

As the Lonsdale Magazine of 1822 recounts, Sambo arrived around 1736 from the West Indies as a servant to the captian of an unnamed ship:

"After she had discharged her cargo, he was placed at the inn ... with the intention of remaining there on board wages till the vessel was ready to sail; but supposing himself to be deserted by the master, without being able, probably from his ignorance of the language, to ascertain the cause, he fell into a complete state of stupefaction, even to such a degree that he secreted himself in the loft on the brewhouses and stretching himself out at full length on the bare boards refused all sustenance. He continued in this  state only a few days, when death terminated the sufferings of poor Samboo. As soon as Samboo’s exit was known to the sailors who happened to be there, they excavated him in a grave in a lonely dell in a rabbit warren behind the village, within twenty yards of the sea shore, whither they conveyed his remains without either coffin or bier, being covered only with the clothes in which he died." - Lonsdale Magazine, 1822

It has been suggested that Sambo may have died from a disease contracted from contact with Europeans, to which he had no natural immunity, although some more romanticised stories say that he died of a broken heart when his enslaver left him there. He was buried in unconsecrated ground (as he was not a Christian on the weatherbeaten shoreline of Morecambe Bay.

Sixty years after the burial, a retired schoolmaster, James Watson, heard the story and raised the money for a memorial to be placed on the unmarked grave. Watson, who was the brother of the prominent Lancaster slave trader, William Watson, also wrote the epitaph that now marks the grave:

Here lies
A faithfull NEGRO
(Attending his Maſter from the Weſt Indies)
DIED on his Arrival at SUNDERLAND

Full sixty Years the angry Winter's Wave
Has thundering daſhd this bleak & barren Shore
Since SAMBO's Head laid in this lonely GRAVE
Lies still & ne'er will hear their turmoil more.

Full many a Sandbird chirps upon the Sod
And many a Moonlight Elfin round him trips
Full many a Summer's Sunbeam warms the Clod
And many a teeming Cloud upon him drips.

But still he sleeps—till the awakening Sounds
Of the Archangel's Trump new Life impart
Then the GREAT JUDGE his Approbation founds
Not on Man's COLOR but his—WORTH of HEART.

James Watſon Scr. H.Bell del. 1796
For the full Wikipedia entry which includes more sources of information, click HERE

Thursday 19 August 2010

Bearing a Grudge?

I am not sure whether someone bore a grudge against the person whose remains are buried in a churchyard in St Anne's in Lancashire. The grave looks as if much of the memorial has vanished, but the occupation listed on what is left might explain why?

Saturday 24 July 2010

Remarkable Memorial Angels!

Now, have you ever seen anything like this in a cemetery or graveyard. A real feat of engineering by the stone mason. Two angels support a praying figure in this remarkable memorial in the Redan Road Cemetery in Aldershot, Hampshire.

It is just an ordinary town cemetery, but it contains some unusual features as the following photographs show:

Two angels support a praying figure - remarkable!

Here is the headstone of George Greenwood who died in 1884 and his widow.
The inscription records that he was Caretaker of this Cemetery for 23 years

A grieving figures stands over a grave
The Old Contemptibles Association provided bronze memorials in the design of the 1914 Star  to commemorate members who passed away. Here, R F Colville of the Royal Fusiliers is remembered.
This type of memorial is quite rare. I have two in my own collection
that I purchased at a militaria fair many, many years ago.
This Old Contemptibles grave marker records the details of J Thompson,
Royal Army Service Corps who was a member of the Aldershot branch
A young angel prays
A view up the main avenue through Aldershot's Redan Road cemetery

Thursday 22 July 2010

Funeral Gatherings 2

Two more postcards of funeral gatherings. Both took place, it is suggested in Helston, Cornwall.

The first is said to be of the funeral of a Policeman, but I am surprised no police officers are involved in lowering the coffin into the grave. The coffin looks very light. I wonder if it was white and are the officers there because the deceased is actually female and a murder victim? Look at the precarious angle it is being lowered in at and, more importantly, the open grave next to it. A double funeral?

The other shows a coffin on a funeral bier being drawn by hand and the crowd of mourners stretches into the distance. I don't think I have ever seen so many men in bowler hats in one photogaph. I wonder if they are Masons or similar

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Swastikas on Scottish Gravestones

Some time ago, I had an opportunity to visit Faslane Cemetery at Garelochead. There I saw the grave of Mary G Browne who died in 1930. I noticed that it bore a swastika sign and a fleur-de-lis. Some research revealed that the founder of the Boy Scouts, Baden Powell redesigned the Scouts Medal of Merit in 1922, superimposing the Scout emblem on the Swastika as good luck to the person receiving the medal. Quite why it appears on this headstone, I do not know.

Trafalgar Cemetery

Back in the dark old days, well, about twenty years ago, I used to carry two cameras with me - one loaded with Kodachrome 200 slide film and the other with Ilford XP1 Black and White film. Oh, how much easier life is now that digital photograph is the norm! Anyway, I digress. As the last boxes were packed today, I glimpsed a photo-negative storage folder and had a look to see what I could find. Here are some of the results.

About twenty years ago, I had an assignment in Gibraltar and took the opportunity to look round some of the cemeteries and memorials on the island.

As the sign suggests, the Trafalgar Cemetery contains the remains of some who died of wounds at Gibraltar after Nelson's great victory in October 1805.

Just how unlucky can you be? This memorial commemorates the lives of Lieutenants Thomas Worth and  John Buckland of the Royal Marine Artillery who were killed by the same shot in November 1810!

The grave of Captain Thomas Norman of the Royal Marine Corps, late of HMS Mars who died in the Naval Hospital after several weeks of suffering from the effects of his wounds received at Trafalgar.

Not that far away, above a very long drop, is this memorial stone set into a wall. Let this be a lesson to everyone who stands close to the edges of cliffs and looks over!


Another grave in Hemington Churchyard. The top of the gravestone is embossed with the word Asleep.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Funeral Gatherings 1

I found a number of real photographic postcards showing funeral processions and crowds at the graveside.

The first shows the enormous procession at the funeral of the late Councillor Rogers and the horse-drawn hearse carrying his coffin. Poignantly, the reverse is inscribed:

To Dear Hilda From Her Loving Mother.

"My dear Fathers funeral" April 10th 1912.

A later owner writes - Probably Bridlington, North Yorkshire

The second shows spectators, dressed in their Sunday Best, watching a hearse drawn by two black horses pass by/ The coffin is draped in a Union Flag. I wonder whether the deceased is a First World War soldier.

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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