Saturday 31 May 2014

Death of a female Parachutist 1906

Haworth New Cemetery is home to the grave Elizabeth Mary Cove who died on June 11, 1906 aged 21 years. Her professional name was Miss Lily Cole and she died in a parachute accident.

Lily was engaged as the main attraction at the Haworth Gala. She was to ascend in a gas-filled balloon high above the crowd and then jump from the balloon and land using a parachute. On the day of the Gala, problems with the balloon caused the jump to be postponed but, on Monday 11 June,  the balloon got off the ground. There was problem and she became separated from her parachute and plunged to the ground. She died soon after.

According to the Haworth Village website, there was speculation that the harness may have been tampered with - a relationship with another man causing jealousy. Another suggestion thought that as she approached Ponden reservoir she feared the balloon might land in the water and, rather than drown, she decided to jump. A very detailed account of the accident and the aftermath can be found HERE.

Friday 30 May 2014

Haworth Bronte Churchyard

I hope to visit this graveyard soon. Here is a superb slide show by Mark Strange:

Thursday 29 May 2014

Sweet Baby James

This is one of the saddest sights in Darwen Cemetery. This is a lifelike representation of James who died in 1935 aged five years 11 months. He was the son of John and Lily Ann [surname illegible] and died on13 November 1935. Sadly, at some point his face was damaged as can be seen in the fourth photograph which clearly shows the cracks down the side of the head and around the neck and chest. What saddens me is that seems like James stands on his grave, in perpetuity, constantly watching the Cemetery entrance for sight of his parents coming to visit. At some stage, old age would have over taken them and they visited no more . . .

Raja Rammohun Roy

The noted Hindu reformer, Raja Rammohun Roy died in Bristol in 1833 and buried in Stapleton. In 1843, he was reinterred in Arnos Vale cemetery in 1843 in a mausoleum which is a copy of a Bengali tomb or chhatri (meaning umbrella). In 1845, his remains were returned to India and then cremated, near Calcutta, by his family in February 1846.

The tomb was restored in 2008 and the restorers confirmed they couldn't locate Roy's remains at the site after digging for them. Surprise was expressed that the coffin was not found under the Chattri. More on the life of Roy can be found HERE.

Roy was particularly remembered for his opposition to Suttee - a funeral practice within some Asian communities inn which a recently widowed woman immolates herself, typically on her husband's funeral pyre. He persuaded the Governor of Bengal to pass a law banning the practice of Suttee.

Brookwood Angel

I am intrigued by this memorial to Reginald Howell who is buried in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. Under the angel is what looks like representation of London buildings, possibly St Paul's Cathedral.

I can find little about him so far, other than he died 3 August 1912 aged 66 leaving the considerable sum of £151,000. At the time of his death, he lived at Clive House, Esher, Surrey. His wife, who died in 1928, left just under £50,000. The only trace of the pair I can find on the Census index is for 1901, in which he is described as a manufacturer and they were both resident at the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne. He was, I believe, born in Westminster.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Barbarous Murder!

Colne Cemetery in Lancashire contains many historical graves. Stood against a wall to one side of the chapel is a headstone that records a dreadful act. The headstone records the following stark statement:

"Joseph [Halstead] was barbarously murdered in the 44th year of his age while engaged in his duty as a Special Constable during the Riot which took place in this Town on the Even of 10 August 1840 leaving four orphan children to lament his loss".
Quite literally, his brains were 'bashed out' by his assailants!

By way of background:

In August 1840, riots took place in Colne. A large mob was protesting against the formation of the Lancashire Constabulary. The situation quietened for a day or two after two troops of soldiers arrived from Burnley. Then the situation got appreciably worse after the troops were withdrawn. 

A report in The Times newspaper described the event, thus:
" . . . But on Monday morning the military were withdrawn, and it very soon became evident that their absence had so emboldened the rioters that another attack might very confidently be expected as soon as night favoured the designs of the mob. In order to be prepared as well as circumstances would permit, the magistrates held a meeting, and swore in a number of the more respectable inhabitants as special constables, to assist the regular police forces. In the meantime the greatest excitement prevailed, crowds gathered in the street, and as soon as darkness came on, a large mob congregated, and went in a body a little way out of the town to the residence of a gentleman whose name we have not been able to learn, where they tore down the iron palisades, and, armed with these and with pistols and wooden bludgeons also, they returned to Colne.
In Clayton-street, they were met by police and special constables, and a terrible collision took place, the rioters fighting with the utmost desperation, and the constabulary defending themselves as well as they were able, and endeavouring to disperse the misguided crowd. This, we believe, they at last accomplished, but not until one life had been sacrificed, and various injuries received. The unfortunate person who has fallen a victim to this mad violence is Mr. Joseph Halstead, a manufacturer of Colne, who was acting as one of the special constables. He was knocked down in the melée, and in a very few moments his brains were actually battered out by the infuriated multitude. Of course, when his body was rescued by his friends, no spark of life remained. In addition to the awful catastrophe which has befallen Mr. Halstead, we understand that Mr. Temple, the banker, has been seriously injured, and that one of the policemen has received a very severe stab, but we are unable to give the details of these and several other casualties. . ."

A service was held to mark the anniversary in 2010 after the Police had arranged for the headstone to be renovated. A report in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph provided some further information about the event:

". . . He was originally buried in the graveyard of Colne Parish Church, but his and other graves had to be removed when Albert Road was widened at the end of the 19th Century. His tombstone was then erected as a headstone in Colne Cemetery where it remains.
Councillor Ann Kerrigan praised police for marking the anniversary of SC Halstead’s death and renovating his headstone.
She said: “I suppose it’s apt because we have got such good community police officers now. “A police officer in those days would have been known in the local community and his death would have been a shock.”
Richard Boothman was found guilty of SC Halstead’s murder and given the death sentence, although he protested his innocence.
He was later transported to Van Dieman’s Island, now known as Tazmania, where he became a successful businessman.
Two others, James Wilkinson and Thomas Riley, were arrested for accessory to murder."

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Highgate Angel

This magnificent Angel tops the grave of Evelyn Muriel Gray MBE (1889-1926), Her father, Frederick George Gray (1862-1941) was a Citizen and Freeman of London and a member of the Corporation of London for 44 years. Evelyn's mother, Allie Horton Dray (1865-1944) is also commemorated on the memorial.

Monday 26 May 2014

Titanic Bandmaster's Grave

Wallace Henry Hartley (33 years) was the Bandmaster on the Titanic and lost his life on 15 April 1912. According to Wikipedia, Hartley's body was recovered two weeks after the sinking with several press reports confirming he was found 'fully dressed with his music case strapped to his body'.

It was returned to England and Wallace's father, Albion met the ship at Liverpool and brought his son back to his home town of Colne, Lancashire. The funeral took place on 18 May 1912. One thousand people attended his funeral, while an estimated 30,000 - 40,000 lined the route of his funeral procession. Hartley is buried in the Keighley Road cemetery, Colne, where a ten-foot headstone, containing a carved violin at its base, was erected in his honour.

Useful links providing more information are available HERE and HERE.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Accidentally Killed on the Railway

Kensal Green Cemetery is the source of many an interesting story. Here is the gravestone of James Watts Field. He was a Conductor with the Central London Railway and was accidentally killed while on duty 06 October 1900.

Highgate Lion

George Wombwell was a famous menagerie exhibitor in Regency and early Victoria Britain. He founded Wombwell's Travelling Menagerie. Wikipedia describes Wombwell's life HERE. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery under a statue of his pet lion, Nero. His coffin was constructed from Oak timbers salvaged from HMS Royal George.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Beautiful Angel

I saw this representation of an Angel on a gravestone in Darwen, Lancashire. I think it one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The stonemason was, most obviously, very, very talented: Its obvious beauty masks the years of heartbreak endured by the Daltry family. The grave is that of Martha Ann Daltry who died in 1870 aged 16 years. The stone also records the early demise of Martha's siblings: Chrisy - aged 1 year 7 months, Maria - aged 7 months and James - aged 13 months. 



Thursday 22 May 2014

Sisters Reunited

A poignant sight in Balderstone Graveyard, Lancashire. This stone commemorates the three Turner sisters. An astonishing 75 years between the first and last burials. The latter, Isabel, was the only one of the trio to have a full life.

Headless Figures 2

Two more sad sights in Preston Cemetery - Headless Prayer and a Headless Angel with Broken Wings:

The Penny Memorial

The Pratt Monument can be found in Bristol's Arnos Vale Cemetery. It is Grade 2 listed and consists of a marble obelisk on a square pedestal. It's most striking feature is a relief of a seated man instructing a group of children; a celestial ray, to which the figure gestures, beams down divine inspiration. The Reverend John Adey Pratt was known as the 'Children's Preacher'. He was the pastor of the Kingsland Chapel and this monument was erected by Sunday Schools of the City. Following his death in 1867, a collection was made with the intention that every child in Bristol should contribute a penny. Sufficient funds were raised to pay for this wonderful memorial.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

The White Lady

One of the many impressive graves in Darwen Cemetery is that of Martha Jane Bury 1850-1913. Her remarkable memorial is referred to as The White Lady. According to the Friends of Darwen Cemetery, Martha was a stalwart of the Cooperative Movement and a staunch supporter of the rights of working-class women. She was also involved in Darwen's Temperance Movement. Fuller details can be found HERE.

I found many references to what is probably an apocryphal tale about the White Lady. Evidently, among other things, her eyes open if poked! She is said to be a very violent ghost and is the talk of pensioners around the town. It is claimed she killed a group of teenagers who went on a camping trip in the late 1980s, within two hours of them visiting her grave!

Whatever the truth, there is no denying it is a remarkable memorial to a wonderful woman!
What e

Headless Figures

Within the massive Blackburn Cemetery in Lancashire, these two headless statues stand out. Vandalised? Probably, yes.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Ornate Memorial

Frome Dissenters Cemetery, Somerset. I find myself intrigued by the memorial to Henry Carey Houston [1843 - 1914] who is recorded as a Woolen Cloth Manufacturer. It is a very ornate and, to my mind, spectacular memorial for the time. I especially like the two heads below the cross.

Frome Memorials

Three memorials in the graveyard of the Parish Church of Christ Church in Frome Somerset:

Sunday 18 May 2014

St Anne's Angels

One of the best graveyards in Lancashire for Angel statues is the Paris Church of St Annes in the seaside town of St Anne's-on-Sea. Here are three examples of what can be found there:

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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