Saturday 30 April 2011

The London Necropolis

This photograph of an amazing sign was taken by The Room In The Roof and is in its photocollection on Flickr

Sunday 24 April 2011

A Stonemason's Memorial

There is something very touching about this memorial in Clitheroe Cemetery. A sad figure stands beside a broken column. She holds a wreath in her right hand, while her left reaches out to touch the column. Curiously, you would expect her to be looking in the direction of the column, but maybe she is looking down to earth where the deceased is buried. Again, I am confused by the chronology of the naming. It appears to be back to front. From the top, it reads:

In loving memory of Thomas Mitchell of West View, Clitheroe
Born 24 December 1851 Died 3 October 1914
And Ellen his beloved wife Born 5 July 1853 Died 19 June 1906
Also William their beloved son
Born 14 July 1886 Died 16 Nov 1891
Also John their beloved son Born 28 Oct 1877 Died  5 October 1931

Thomas Mitchell, I discover, is listed as stone mason in 1881, employing eight men and a boy. In 1891, he is listed as a retired (39 years old). In 1901, his son John is a stone mason on his own account, while sister Bessie is a 16-year-old pupil Teacher.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Angelic Support

Some months ago, I published a photograph of two angels supporting a figure in Aldershot Cemetery. I didn't expect to find another when I made my first visit to the exquisite Victorian cemetery in Clitheroe, Lancashire last weekend. The figures are less ornate but still very striking. The memorial is to Frances Westhead who died on 8 September 1907 aged 35. It also marks the last resting place of her husband, William, who died 8 January 1959 aged 86. A separate plaque on the grave records that their daughter, Frances May, died on 12 September 1984 at the age of 86. Because William who died second is named first on the memorial, I believe the lettering may have been replaced at a later date.

Wednesday 20 April 2011


Last Sunday I visited a cemetery a few miles from my home. When I walked through the gate, I was amazed by the quality and the beauty of the headstones and memorials stretched out before me. This weekend, I will share with you views of a number of striking mourning figures I found there. My last post 'What Lies Beneath' showed the rough handiwork inside the interior of a stone memorial. By way of connection, one of the first headstones I saw was topped by rose and other foliage. When I looked down, I was rather shocked to find that there was something missing. Normally, a mason carves the words into the headstone but, here, the names were inscribed on a panel that was then fixed to the front of the stone. Someone has removed the panel in its entirety, so it is now an unknown grave. I haven't seen anything similar before. If you look closely, you can see two of the fixing pins at the top edge of the surround.

Sunday 17 April 2011

What Lies Inside?

We have all admired Victorian memorials in graveyards but do you, like me, imaginine that they are of solid construction? When I visited the Frome Dissenters graveyard in Somerset, I was surprised to see some side panels of the base of an obelisk had crumbled away to reveal the interior. I was disappointed to see the interior was filled with stones and felt it a revelation too far!

Friday 15 April 2011

Hand in Hand!

Broken from its base, this headstone lies flat on the grass of Blackburn Cemetery in Lancashire. At first sight, it shows the familiar Victorian symbol of two hands clasped together. Above is the inscription - We Shall Meet On That Beautiful Shore. What makes this both poignant and unusual is that, instead of the usual male and female hands, this depicts a Mother's hand clasping that of its child. Very sad! It is the first of its type that I have seen, but there must be others. The grave marks the last resting place of Elizabeth Jane, the beloved daughter of Charles and Nancy Eastwood, whose short life spanned the period 1873-1876. Next came Ernest Charles who was born in 1880 and dies 12 days short of his tenth birthday in 1890. In 1901, their mother Nancy died aged 50, while father Charles lived on until 1910 aged 63 years.

I have since traced some details of the family who lived in Bright Street, Blackburn - Charles Eastwood was an Engineer and a Driver in a Cotton Mill. Wife Nancy is a Housekeeper, while there is a surviving son - Thomas Edwin who in 1891 was a 13-year-old Cotton Weaver. By 1901, he was Lorry Driver for a Corn Mill.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Star Angel

Another memorial at Chorley cemetery. It marks the grave of John, husband of Levina Varley who died April 21, 1903. This angel has a star on her head and a hole in her neck.

Murderer Hanged in 1821 Buried Today!

Read about it HERE

Saturday 9 April 2011

Fading Grief is a Memorial to Sisterly Love

I saw this grieving figure in Chorley Cemetery. Although an arm is missing and the facial features are crumbling, its face is a striking picture of grief. I think she is clasping a representation of an anchor to her bosom although if you think differently, please let me know.

The memorial reads: A tribute of love in memory of Mary Anne Welch who died January 14th 1884 Aged 67 - Erected by her sister Alice.

There is a poignant message recorded at the base: Love is too Precious to be Lost. Alice must have loved her sister very much . . .

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Two Angels.

Here is another grave in Hurst Green RC cemetery which is not far from the Roman Catholic public school, Stoneyhurst College. There are so many interesting and unusual memorials, you could easily pass this gravestone without noticing its twin guardians. Beautifully made! Note the star in the angels' hair.

Monday 4 April 2011

Standing Sentinel

Hurst Green cemetery in Lancashire is a fascinating burial ground. I had a strange experience there during my first visit (click HERE to read my post). A few weeks later, I had a, photographically, more successful visit. This was a image from then. When I looked at it this evening, I was very taken with it. If you squint your eyes a little, it looks like two strangely shaped coffins with three alien-like figures standing sentinel behind. Can you see what I mean? Click once or twice on the image for a closer view.

Sunday 3 April 2011


When you have a black granite memorial and the gold inside the inscribed lettering has faded, it is time for restoration. I am not entirely convinced you should just paint over the letters en masse. Once the paint has dried, how on earth do you remove the excess? Any ideas?

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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