A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Wednesday 30 March 2011

Wednesday's Child

This little angel baby was discovered sleeping peacefully in the childrens section
of Leiston Cemetery, Suffolk, on the eve of Valentine's Day.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Man's Best Friend

This memorial was erected
by the people of this borough
to Dr "Robin" PM Acheson
who cared for them 
from 1931 to 1959
and to Dr Nora
his wife
who died 1981
whilst still caring

Whilst walking along the seafront in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, we met Snooks, the beloved pet dog of Doctors Robin and Nora Acheson.
However, this is not the original 'Snooks', unfortunately he was stolen from his plinth in 2003. But he was obviously loved by more than just his owners, as the town had another one made to replace it.

This picture was taken in Februaury and as we have had a particularly cold winter this year, someone had kindly knitted poor Snooks a scarf which was wrapped around his neck. So before I could take this photograph, I had to remove it, and it goes without saying, that I securely replaced it when I was done.

Sunday 27 March 2011


Hier Rust
Arouwe Johanna Elisabeth Sophia Knoll
Eerder Weduwe Van Den Weled: Gest Heer
Adolph Fortgens Otter
Stichtster Der Elisabeth Otter Knoll Stichtingen
Geb: Te Utrecht 13 January 1820
Overl: Te Amsterdam 20 February 1900

The grave of Johanna Sophia Elisabeth Otter-Knoll Cemetery on Zorgvlied is a national monument, designed by the sculptor GW Harmsen.

Elisabeth was raised by her maternal grandparents in Utrecht ~ her Father being a Captain in the Army. In 1847 Elisabeth married Adolph Fortgens Otter, a wealthy business broker ~ Stock, Port, Shipbuilding ~ and she went to with him to live in Amsterdam. When Adolph died in 1858, Elisabeth inherited half of his fortune and within a few years, other relatives died, also leaving their legacies to Elisabeth, who became a very wealthy woman indeed.

Three years after the death of Adolph, Elizabeth married Reverend Henry Luëssen ~ a contractual marriage ~ with whom travelled widely. In 1887 she was widowed for the second time.
Adolph had indicated in his will, that he wanted a portion of its assets to establish a foundation and home for elderly seamen of the merchant marine and navy in Amsterdam. But from 1860, the numbers of seaman requiring care was reduced and the plan was temporarily suspended.

In 1886, one year before the death of her second husband, Elizabeth made her own will. She stated that her very large house would be converted into a residence for 'Poor and Indigent old sea Captains and Mates', as desired by her first husband. She did everything in detail, from how the interior of the house should look and at what times the seaman would be served their meals. Also that the visiting of ladies, would be by permission only.  

In 1900, shortly before her death, Elisabeth also decided to establish a Foundation for Women from the Gentry. She said 'It is my desire to create a foundation for decent ladies that are insolvent and unable without fault in her own living. With regret, I saw ever how many times the decent good women in old age, if not much in want, still many were lacking, their old days should be quiet and care free'. 
Elisabeth also left a lesser portion and land to the Amsterdam asylums and almshouses.

Elizabeth died on February 20, 1900. Leaving an inheritance of almost 2.4 million guilders. Clearly defined in her will, Elisabeth expressed how she wanted the fortune to be donated and that no living relative was to be included.
However, a distant relative contested the will and was later awarded 379,000 guilders, after deducting this amount, taxes and expenses, only 1.5 million guilders finally remained. 
In February 1912 The Elisabeth Otter-Knoll Foundation, opened the home for Ladies of the gentry in Oak Square. Queen Emma visited it in May and was impressed by the beautiful building and its setting.

In April 1916 the second project was completed, when the Elisabeth's house was converted into a home for old sailors.

By 1982, the Elderly ladies house in the Oak Square, no longer met the required standards of the time did, and has now become a general residential care home for sixty people and a complex of 72 sheltered accommodations operated by the Elizabeth Fortgens Otter Foundation, which still operate to support the elderly of Amsterdam.

Monday 21 March 2011

Monday Mourning ~ Symbolism

This amazing pillar is full of symbolic funerary images and was one of four that stood at the corners of a memorial in the Zorgflied cemetery in Amsterdam.

The inverted Torch is a purely funerary symbol and it comes in two forms. The first one, shows a torch that is alight, indicating that even in death, the soul ~ the flames of fire ~ continue to burn brightly in another realm of existence. The second inverted torch, that which bears no flame, simply shows a life that is extinguished.

At the top of the column, the winged hourglass reminds us that time is fleeting, as the sands of time ceaselessly ebb away from one sphere of life to another. The wings further remind us of 'how time flies'.

Inside the circular carvings on the scrolls, are Butterflies that relate to it's three stages of life. With the caterpillar representing 'life', the chrysalis is for 'death' and the butterfly is ultimately 'resurrection'.

The Ouroboros ~ a snake biting or eating it's own tail ~ is a symbol of eternity, immortality and rejuvenation.

The Scallop Shell symbolises a journey or pilgrimage and is also a symbol of baptism, specifically the Baptism of Christ.
The Shell's association with the element of water, is seen as a female/goddess energy in some cultures and because the shell many contain a pearl, is considered as lucky and a sign of prosperity. 

I shall be featuring a blog on this splendid monument in the near future.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Whale Watching in the Cemetery !

These Whale tails, are a few of my favourite memorials and became one of the reasons for visiting this cemetery in the first place ~ I simply had to see them for myself.

I'll meet you on the other side
I'll meet you in the light
Don Enters
25~11~1958 17~04~2005

I've always liked the older symbolic, more elaborate Gothic style monuments, but my visit to the Zorgvlied last year, has opened up a whole new perspective on the contempary, more personal and individual styles that can be seen today.
The Zorgvlied demonstrates how well, the traditional and modern can exist side by side and retain all it's charm, style and tastefulness.  

Shine On.....
A.G. van der Weijden
16~10~1961     04~06~2005

Friday 18 March 2011

Friday's Funerary Art ~ Sculpture

Walking round the Zorgvlied Cemetery in Amsterdam, is like strolling through an open air Art gallery, where all of the pieces just happen to be memorials to those who have departed.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find much information on the sculptures that follow, however the cemetery does have brochures of walking tours around the cemetery, that list the well-known and famous, sadly it's in Dutch.


? De Munck

Thursday 17 March 2011

Jewish Cemetery ~ Epping

I had never visited a modern exclusively Jewish Cemetery before. The only Jewish graves I have seen, ( apart from the mass graves at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp )  are those that have been a part of a larger non-denominational cemetery.

Most municipal cemeteries have special areas for the departed of other religions, where the funerary rites pertaining to the particular faith can be observed.
So whilst we were in Epping, Essex, we decided to visit the large Jewish cemetery there.

What struck me most, was the uniformity of the graves. Certainly no space is wasted between any of the plots, even the gap that you can see in the pictures above, are sites that are already reserved.
Another thing that I particularly noticed, was the absence of any floral tributes, with the exception of this one alone:

In Loving Memory of
Betty Abrahams
who passed away
3rd November 2000
Aged  74

I was surprised by the lack of flowers, as I knew very little of Jewish burial and mourning customs. However I was aware that a stone is often left at the grave site, to denote that it has been visited.
I particularly liked this one, where semi-precious stones and crystals had been left behind.

In Loving Memory of
Miriam Prince
8th February 1929 ~ 13th March 2007

I noticed how relatively similar all the headstones are in their design, with very little decoration other than the Star of David, the Menorah, Kohanim Hands and a Pitcher.

Hands indicate Kohanim, a person claiming direct descent from Aaron the brother of Moses. Kohanim holds an honoured status in the Jewish community and are required to offer a priestly blessing during the central prayer of the Jewish service.
The hands are placed into this posture, which forms an opening for the radiance of God to stream down on the congregation.

The pitcher signifies a Levite, who according to scripture was responsible for cleansing the hands of the temple priest ~ the Kohanim ~ prior to a religious service.
Aside from these cleansing duties, Levites were also musicians, singers in choirs and gatekeepers.
Today the Levites are the ones called on second ~ after the Kohanim ~ in the reading of the Torah.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Wednesday's Children

The only discernable markings on this small grave was the date of 1911 and the letter 'J' and possibly an 'O' before it.

This other, even tinier grave ~ I placed a regular sized 3" to 4" leaf beside it for comparison ~ unfortunately had no visible markings.


Tuesday 15 March 2011

Cemetery Iconography

Just found this excellent slide show on the Internet and had to share it.
Now all I want to do is visit the Hollywood cemetery. 

Interesting Names

I find it fascinating when discovering unusual and interesting names, especially in Churchyards. In times gone by the Church had a stricter policy, that only allowed those members who had been given a proper 'Christian name' to actually recieve Baptism.

Ever Loving Memory of
Offspring Webb
who died Jan.23rd 1929
aged 76 years
Thy Will Be Done
also Sarah Rebecca
wife of the above
who died Jan ? 1934 

Sparks Disbury
who died March 7th 187?
aged 65 years
Thy Will Be Done
Susan Disbury
wife of the above
who died June 17th 18??
aged ?0 years

In Remeberance of
Popeye Barker
who died 26th Jan. 1991
aged 74 years

the beloved wife of
Frederick Rainbow
who departed this life
Sept. 25th 1912
aged 51 years
If thou shouldst call me to resign
what most I prize, it ne'er was mine,
I only yield thee what is thine,
Thy Will Be Done,
Peace Perfect Peace
also of the above
Frederick Rainbow
who died Jan. 2nd 1942
aged 80 years
I know that my Redeemer liveth

Also of our dearest Father
William Thomas Featherstone Hardesty
Died 16th August 1969 aged 89 years

It seems that the Church's policy, was more tolerant with regard to the names they allowed to be used on a headstone.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Rock Tombs ~ Dalyan, Turkey

A few years ago we visited Dalyan, a small traditional Turkish fishing village which nestles on the river near Lake Köycegiz on the south west corner of Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
The area is famous for the Loggerhead turtles that nest on it beaches, the natural mud baths on the banks of it's river and some of the best examples of ancient Lycian Rock Tombs which were carved out of the local cliffs 2,500 years ago.
These tombs are the resting place of the Kings of Caunos and date back to 400BC.

Click on the bold italic text for more information.

The most important tombs were cut into the rock face with the facade of a temple, with it's pediment and columns. The tombs consist of a stepped front chamber behind the facade and the burial chamber is accessed through a door.
Inside the roughly square burial chamber, there are carved stone benches for the bodies of the deceased and in some of them, there are also tables for offerings dedicated to the deceased.
The niches, into which the upright funerary urns were placed, were closed with stone plaques that were carved with depictions of temple facades. The tombs were covered with large stone slabs which were coated by a thick plaster mixed with gravel.

In addition to the temple rock-cut tomb, there are deep rectangular rock tombs known as 'pigeon nests', consisting of niches and sarcophagi, which together with the chamber tombs, show the variety of the types of funerary architecture at Caunos ( Kaunus ) ~ The Lycian settlement at Dalyan.

At night the rock tombs are illuminated, and so one evening we sat by the waters edge in a homely rustic restaurant and enjoyed the view across the river from them.  

The Legend of Caunos

Miletus, the son of Apollo, had twins, a son named Caunos, and a daughter named Byblis. When the twins became adults, Byblis fell in love with Caunos. And so she wrote him a letter declaring her incestuous love for him. This enraged Caunos and all he could feel in return, was a sense of loathing toward her. Because of this, Caunos decided to leave for the region of Karia with his followers, where he built a city that he named after himself. Byblis was heart-broken and wanted to commit suicide, so she jumped from the highest rocks. Nymphs took pity on her and turned her to a spring. As Byblis's tears flowed, they formed the river.

Biblis by William Adolphe Bouguereau 1884

Dalyan River and Lake Köycegiz


Friday 11 March 2011

Friday's Funerary Art ~ Mosaic

Jessie Kahn
Amsterdam 14~11~1967
Tel~Aviv 23~10~1990

Thursday 10 March 2011

Holocaust Memorial ~ Epping Jewish Cemetery

This memorial is dedicated to all the victims of the Holocaust and includes the names of the concentration camps across Europe. It stands in front of the rest of the cemetery and was designed by Roman Halter, 2nd June 1985.

This Garden is dedicated to
Samuel Szlezinger
who perished
in Auschwitz 1942
Forever in our thoughts
Kathrin and Joe Szlezinger

Lest We Forget....

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Life Boat Tragedy

The Island of Great Britain ensures that we are never too far from the Sea. Over the years we have relied on its bounty for food and voyaged to brave new worlds with a sense of adventure and discovery.
But the Sea can be an unpredictable force and for those who find themselves in peril upon it, the RNLI ~ Royal National Lifeboat Institute ~ attempts to rescue those unfortunate souls, even when it comes to their own lives being put at risk too.

This is one such occasion........

A Launching of The Aldeburgh

A Lifeboat named 'The Aldeburgh' was said to be unsinkable. However in 1899, during an attempt to rescue another vessel, the lifeboat capsized as she was struck broadside by two huge waves. 12 of the 18 man crew were able to make it to shore, but 6 men were trapped beneath the upturned boat.

As The Aldeburgh came ashore, desperate efforts were made to release the men, a hole was cut into the upturned hull, however the buoyancy tanks could not be penetrated and prevented them from releasing the trapped men until the tide went out, when rescuers were finally able to raise the vessel. Tragically, by that time all of them had died. A seventh crew member, also died of his injuries later.

The rectangular blocks that surround the Lifebelt, are the cork floats that were worn by the Lifeboat men as an early form of Lifevest. 

In Loving Memory of
James Miller Ward
aged 21
The Lord hath need of him
In Loving Memory of
Allan Arthur Easter
aged 28
God is Love
In Loving Memory of
Herbert William Downing
aged 23
In the Midst of Life we are in Death
~In Loving Memory of
Walter George Ward
aged 33
Thy Will Be Done
In Loving Memory of
John Butcher
aged 52
Death is Swallowed up in Victory
~In Loving Memory of
Charles Crisp
aged 51
Gone but Not Forgotten
In Loving Memory of
Thomas Morris
aged 36
I will Trust and Not be Afraid

For the full newspaper reports of the tragedy, as written by The Evening Star and Daily Herald, please click on the bold type link below. 
More Details on The Aldeburgh

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