A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Tuesday 31 August 2010

Do You Ever Get That Sinking Feeling

Haverhill, Suffolk

Call me a sensitive Soul if you like, but I never fail to find the sight of a listing and sinking memorial, filling me with a despondency regarding its neglect. It seems to make the monument to loss and grief all the sadder. So I try and look on the bright side and hope that it is due to a timely reunion of loved ones, or that maybe the grieving have moved on with their lives and no longer need the focus of a gravesite to help them remember.
And then there are those underground graveyard rabbit warrens.......................

Manor Park, London

Mill Road, Cambridge

Manor Park, London

Coston, Leicestershire

Manor Park, London


The Road to Eternity

I think it's fair to say that some men love their cars and would most certainly drive them on the road to Eternity if they could.
And in the mists of time things were no different, for even the Ancient Egyptians were buried with their chariots ......

Both of the above from Cambridge City

Haverhill, Suffolk

Manor Park, London

Manor Park, London 

The photos above and below are both part of the same momunment in Chelmsford, Essex

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Make Over, Take Over

I was telling a friend ~ who restores mediaeval stained glass church windows ~ about the recent renovations and embellishments of some of the memorials that I'd photographed in Cambridge. She wittily said that it sounded like 'Pimp My Grave' after a TV show called 'Pimp my Ride', where ordinary cars are outlandishly customised and given additional garish features. It amused me because this is what seems to have happened here.

A complete Make Over and Take Over, with the most recent interment, receiving the top position, with the original plot's owner listed in second place. 
Around 1999, when I first saw these Angels, they were all on similar and standard marble plinths that complimented them.

So call me traditionalist if you like, but I was disappointed to see this large black marble plinth replacing the previous standard version, which I can appreciate has allowed an additional family member to be included.
I know it's all a matter of personal choice, but I think it has taken away it's original melancholy beauty and call me old fashioned, but I liked it the way it was............

In Loving Memory of
Len Thipthorp
'The Big Chief'
called to rest 26th August 2000 aged 76 years
also his beloved sister
Olive Turner
the beloved wife of Frederick John Turner
who passed peacefully to rest 7th February 1947 aged 26 years

Sea Plane

This sea plane belongs to George Hooks who was a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy Air Service and although he died during WW1, records show that he died from an illness.

In Loving Memory of
George A.V. Hooks
Petty Officer R.N.A.S
Who died March 15 1917
Aged 24 years
Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That
A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends
And a Beloved Wife
Florence Louisa
Died 8th July 1974
Aged 78 years

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Close Encounters of the Cemetery Kind

On Saturday I took my good friend Debz on a Cemetery walk.......
And whilst walking alongside a hedge that enclosed and hid from veiw, a smaller section of the cemetery, Debz stopped in her tracks and looked surprised, saying that it had felt like someone small had run in front of her and across her path into the hedge. She looked puzzled as there was no one there but us. Then as we turned the corner into the enclosed section, we entered the children's area, which has a lovely sculpture of a bear and dog playing in the centre that attempts to brighten this most sad corner of the cemetery. 
Was someone playing hide and seek with us ?

Thursday 19 August 2010

Buried With His Horse and Dog

I don't know why I was surprised by the young men in my last post, who were embalmed and posed at their own wakes. Because unusal practises have been going on since time began. I suppose it's just the element of surprise that takes us away from the usual or expected.
Last night I read about a British soldier who had been buried with not only his horse, but his dog as well, unfortunately he is buried in Malaysia and so a visit to his tomb is not likely.

In 1829 the British ruled Malacca, and the district of Naning had their own constitution which had been followed traditionally for many years without interference from previous colonial governments such as the Portuguese and Dutch.
But the British then raised the taxes from the crop yield and when Datuk Dol Said refused to pay, a state of war was declared. The British attacked Naning for the first time in 1831 but were defeated by Said's guerrillas.

In May 1832 the British attacked again with more troops and Said surrendered to the British in 1834, where they gave Said a pension of about $100 every month until his death in 1849.

However many British soldiers were killed in the battle and one of them was George Holford Walker. The unusual thing about Walkers burial is that after the fatal shot to the heart that instantly killed him, locals said that his horse and his dog stood loyally beside his dead body until both of them died as well.
As a tribute for that loyalty, George Holford Walker is buried with his devoted animal companions. The tombs are to be found in Alor Gajah Town next to the Primary School, the largest grave is Walkers, the second is the grave of his horse and the smallest is that of his dog.

An article and poem published later said :
To the memory of the Deeply Lamented Ensign George Holford Walker, who was shot through the heart in an affair with the Malay on 3rd of May 1832, and died instantaneously in his 19th year

Oh fare-thee-well! our beautiful and brave!
Our lovely, gentle, generous, gallant boy!

Oh! what sum of ardent hope and joy
Lies crush’d and wither’d in thy distant grave!

Thy cheek in it's first down - thy dark blue eye,
Bright flashing with an ardent spirits fire,
Shone like the sunbeam of yon torrid sky,
While fame precocious fed thy young desire,

Happy and hopeful wert thou ! Whosoe'er
Look'd on thine open, manly forehead, smiled;
For there was written many a promise fair,-
But, oh, how fate such promise had beguiled!

Yet there was mercy in thine early doom,
For thy career, bless'd youth, though brief, was bright,
And thou wert stricken pangless to the tomb,
In the first transport of thy conscious might,

Whey dwell we on the praise thou might'st have won,
Had thy young promise ripen'd! Had the man,
Maturing in the beam of Glory's sun,
Been spared to finish as the boy began!

Let us not think! Such thought is anguish now!
Oh, may His will be done who call'd thee hence!
And this sore chastening wisely did bestow
On hearts too proud, affections too intense

Margaret Hodson


Tuesday 17 August 2010

Last Wishes Granted ~ To Attend My Own Wake

Is this the start of a new craze amongst men who die young ?
It certainly seems to be catching on in Puerto Rico..........
These men wished to attend their own Wakes, one standing and the other on his motorbike, as the news clip below reports.
My heartfelt condolences go to these young mens families.

Sunday 15 August 2010

The Faithful Wife

This headstone has an interesting duo of ladies head corbels on either side of the stone which appears to support the arch above them. The second head shown has a thinner face and a stern expression. And whilst Charles gets his name on the stone twice, it's Sophia who receives the glowing character reference.  
The inscription reads:
Grateful Rememberance of
The Faithful and Affectionate
Wife of
Died July? 7. 1865
Aged 61

Husband of the Above
Died Oct 8. 1887
Aged 80


Friday 13 August 2010


Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Chelmsford, Essex

Thursday 12 August 2010

Befitting Names


Histon Road, Cambridge

Ickleton, Cambridge

Chelmsford, Essex

Thursday 5 August 2010

A Poets Wooden Headboard

When I took this photo in my local cemetery in Saffron Walden, of the wooden headboard of the Johnson Family, I did not realise that it was rather special. For it seems that wooden headboards are rather rare and uncommon, due to their relatively perishable material.
So I decided to include it, for that reason alone and the inscription reads :

Arthur Tregellas Johnson - Born Oct 12th 1876 - Died Dec 31st 1896
Hilda Mary Johnson - Missionary in Bengal - Born Oct 12th 1877 - Died July 24th 1915
Owen Bennett Goold Johnson BA ( Cantab ) 2nd Lieut. Suffolk Regiment
Born April 17 1888 - Killed in Action April 9th 1917 - Buried at Arras
Donald Fredric Goold Johnson BA ( Cantab ) Lieut. Manchester Regiment
Born March 6th 1890 - Killed in Action July 15th 1916 - Buried at Bouzincourt

Donald was a Poet and won the Chancellor's Medal for English Verse with a 14-stanza poem "The Southern Pole", on Capt Scott's expedition.
At the outbreak of war he abandoned plans for writing a study of Chaucer and was gazetted to the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment. He was sent to France in late 1915 and participated in the opening of the Battle of the Somme in July. On the 15th, during the action to take Ovillers, while holding a trench against a German counter-attack, Donald was killed.

To read some of Donald's poetry, click on the + symbol below to zoom in and scroll down by moving the side bar - "The Southern Pole" is on page 74 and a Poem dedicated to the memory of his sister Hilda, titled H.M.J on page 11.   

Old Stones II

Although not as old as the stone in my previous post, these two stones had some fascinating symbols on them and were in St. Mary's Churchyard, Garthorpe, Leicestershire and just a few miles down the road from the Church featured in 'Old Stones'.

Prepare to meet thy God

Father Time is depicted as carrying a large Scythe, for the business of harvesting Souls and also carries an Hourglass which represents the passage of time.
The Skull and bones are a symbol of mortality and the Lily depicts Purity and Innocence. 

The inscription appears to read: Clanget Mortuq Resurg??

However I could find no translation of the words above and have no idea as to their meaning. 
The two trumpets appearing from the clouds represents the first and second call to resurrection on the Day of Judgement.
The Pyramid is generally a symbol of Hope and a means for mortals to climb to heaven, however I discovered that the broken pyramid can represent the birth of New World Order ( also a Masonic symbol and reference ), which all fits in with the Day of Reckoning theme. The winged skull is the flight from mortality and the tumbling Crown denotes a Christian Martyr.   

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Old Stones

I usually prefer to visit Cemeteries rather than Churchyards, because they have fewer rules on the types of monument that an individual is allowed to have. Churchyards often insist on maintaining a relatively similar group of stones, with an often censored selection of wording, whereas Cemeteries allow their occupants and there loved ones an opportunity to exhibit their creative flair in subtle or more flamboyant ways.
Whilst visiting Leicestershire at the weekend, I spotted these Churchyard tombstones which looked rather old and I simply had to add them to the collection.

St.Andrews, Coston, Leics

Here lies the body of
Anne the wife of
William Judd. She
died Mar: 31 1728
Her Age 73 years
She loved ............

St. Andrew's Church, Coston, Leics

Metal Markers

I have seen the odd metal marker here and there, and they are usually rusted with no remaining trace of who they belong to.
Then on my way home, I did a quick detour and found this quiet little cemetery in the village of Ickleton in Cambridgeshire. It has the biggest selection of metal markers I've seen all together, including one which has recently been restored. I do not know if they would have been simply painted in black and white as this one has, or whether they would have been more colourful and was this style due to fashionable trends or because of financial considerations ?.......

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