Sunday, 13 June 2010

Grave Yards

Photos are copyright: Maggie May

I wonder if anyone else likes to browse round grave yards like I do? I can spend hours on my own looking at the stones themselves, looking at the names and how old people were when they died and also looking at the beauty of the place. There is a peace about a grave yard, especially very old ones that are a bit run down. These headstones were very old and had been moved to the wall to make more room I suppose.




They were found outside an old church in Topsham, Devon, when I went on a trip with my son and granddaughters back in the summer.
The girls found these little headstones while they were playing in a little green square just off the High Street and I couldn't resist a few photos. I think the stones are very decorative.

When we recently went to Clevedon on our day by the sea, Sam and I found ourselves in the very old graveyard high on the cliffs. We had taken a short cut through there but ended up looking at the head stones and eventually getting to chat to another man who was doing the same.
My husband thinks it is a morbid fascination.
What do other people think?







31 comments:

gaelikaa said...

My anglo-Indian friends have told me about wonderful British graveyards here in India and I look forward to the day when I'll have the time and freedom to browse around them. Once on All Souls Day they took me to the Christian cemetary here in Lucknow. Hindus, as you might know, burn their dead, so there are not so many graveyards here, although there is a Muslim one in our locality. Just a flat, empty plot, no stones at all. The Christian graveyard here is used by all the Christian communities and it is quite fascinating to see the way the Christians of Hindu origin decorate and honour the graves of their loved ones. Thanks you've just given me an idea for a post. xxx

Ayak said...

I don't know if it's really a morbid fascination Maggie but I also enjoy doing this too. I particularly like the Turkish ones. In large towns they are very well maintained, but not so much in the villages unfortunately.
The large city cemetries usually have a section outside the main area for the burial of non-muslims, but this isn't the case in most villages. Which has got me thinking about where I'll be buried. Oh well someone will find me a plot no doubt!
The village ones fascinate me because it gives you a clear indication that for generations there really have only been a few families living there. There must have been a fair amount of in-breeding...but that's another subject of course.

jinksy said...

I think it's an intriguing thing to do. My kids and I always made sure we said 'Hello' to one Emily Greenleaf when we wandered through Warblington Churchard down to the nearby shore - she had such a lovely name!(though I can't remember the correct spelling after all these years, you can still get the picture!)

Nora said...

You and I have the same fascination, Maggie. I like to do this too and imagine the lives of these people, especially when they died young. I've roamed many graveyards and always found a certain serenity in them. I can spend a lot of time there and meditate on life and death and it doesn't seem so complicated then.

Lakeland Jo said...

I think we have the most beautiful graveyard in the UK here in Bowness on Windermere. The views are fabulous. My dad is buried in there and one day I know I will be there too- it is so comforting. I find them peaceful and reflective places

Akelamalu said...

I find graveyards fascinating too, the old gravestones are so interesting.

Mary G said...

I love the graveyards in England - I found several on trips there that were beautiful. Canadian ones are neater and newer, but we have a few that go back to the early 1800's, one near where I live, that are fascinating.
When the church I went to as a girl decided to expand the building, my father, who was a solicitor, was in charge of finding the relatives of the graves that needed to be moved and getting permission. A few that he could not find had the headstones moved to a row beside the new building.

TechnoBabe said...

When I browse the headstones I am in touch with the history they represent. I am not thinking morbid thoughts; rather, I am thinking of what the people did in their lives and how it is different now partly because of what they lived and left for us.

lakeviewer said...

There is a sense of history and pathos and beauty in these headstones. We wonder into the past for a while; not at all a bad thing. Those who just look ahead, have little appreciation for the past.

And appreciation helps us maintain cultural norms.

Saz said...

yes l d too...old ramshackled unkempt ones...

moannie and did this two summers ago...if l can find the post...some lovely images we took too...

love them...

always wanted to go around HIghbury cemetery...and more so after l read Niffenegers book -Her Fearful Symmetry

thinkingof you..
saz x

Eternally Distracted said...

I miss graveyards here in the Middle East. There is actually one opposite our house but it is very different to the kind I am used to. Due to culture and religion they tend to just have a rock on top. I think it is one for a man and one for a women...

Valleys Mam said...

no its not morbid.I love it!
the design , the history , the imagination.
I love to look when I find myself in rural villages in Wales.

Celia said...

Definitely not morbid. Its been a lifelong fascination for me. My favorite so far is the graveyard in rural Cle Elum, WA, USA. It is a history book, all the families together who died during the 1918 influenza epidemic, young men who died early as miners and loggers, and the little homemade headstones, concrete and shells from the Depression. They are segregated in death, Catholics there, Episcopalians, there, Jews over there, different spots for different Protestants and ethnicities, not much of a melting pot, and yet, there they are together. It makes me think and its such a peaceful place to do it.

Nessa said...

We look at graveyards a lot. When I was young, it was something we did every Sunday in Austria. Everyone visited the graveyards on Sundays.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

They're my favourite places, Maggie! Full of atmosphere and incredible memories. Not morbid at all; all those people once lived just like us.

CJ xx

Jeni said...

Not morbid at all to exhibit a true interest and love of history! Cause that's what those tombstones are marking -history!

Mimi said...

Lovely pics, Maggie.
I don't mind graveyards if someone is with me, but wouldn't go into one alone.
After my Mum died, I used to go to her grave to talk to her, especially when I was expecting our eldest daughter. It was all I had left of her.
I must get some photos of that graveyard, cos there are some amazing headstones...visit down the country on summer agenda now!

SandyCarlson said...

I love these places. I remember waiting for an uncle's burial to begin in a small churchyard in Danbury, Connecticut. During the wait, we discovered one man had about six wives and a zillion kids, all buried around him sequentially. It was wild to learn the economy of marriage and survival back in the day.

Thanks for this great post.

Hilary said...

I love them too. I remember wandering an old graveyard in a small town called Winchendon, Massachusetts where we happened upon a pair of simple graves belonging to father and son. The surname was White. Both deaths occurred on a familiar date - one of them lost at sea. We looked at one another as it dawned on us that they had been aboard the Titanic. After our stroll, we went directly to the computer to look the names up and sure enough we'd been right. There are so many interesting stories to determine by reading gravestones.

Moannie said...

I wonder if that is the same Graveyard in Clevedon where, as a child I spotted a headstone with the legand
'where ere you be
let the wind blow free
for it was the wind that
killeth me.

I have never forgotten it and I must have been seven at the time.

Bernie said...

Maggie I love walking through the cemetaries and reading the headstones. I used to do this with my father all the time, my husband thought it was morbid. I still enjoy doing this now.
Hope you are doing well my friend, you haven't been showing up on my reader.......:-) Hugs

Sniffles and Smiles said...

They are beautiful...yet sorrowful places...so full of stories...and I too love to read the stones...and imagine what the lives of the people were like...Lovely, lovely photos, Maggie!! I really enjoyed this post! And it just brought peace thinking about it...Love you much!!! Janine XO

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Probably if you'll take that decorative headstone to the Antique Royal Show, you will get a handsome valuation. haha

I do take photos of the graveyard too.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

We have a superb graveyard in the village church. Hundreds of years old. It is a fascinating place to amble in. It is peaceful and restful and I love reading the old stones too. My brother-in-law loves having picnics in graveyards - now how odd is that?!

chaniagirl said...

I don't mind graveyards ... and even enjoy them when they are in a lovely spot. There was one in my university town, perched on top of a hill. It was beautiful and quiet. I would take a book and a picnic up there when I wanted solitude.

Like you, I love wandering around the tombstones, reading the names, the dates of birth and death, the memories/sayings that loved ones wanted written on the markers. Perhaps it is a bit morbid, but it's also a way of dealing with something I still find very frightening: DEATH. It also makes me feel very connected to life.

Suburbia said...

I think they are fascinating places where you can take great pics!

Rose said...

This isn't morbid--the old graveyards are like a piece of history. I always wonder, too, about the stories behind some of these headstones.

ladyfi said...

There is a kind of melancholy beauty and faded sadness in graveyards.

maggie said...

Your facination with gravestones triggers an interest in them for me. I'd have no interest in reading the information on the stones but I definitely see their beauty. Thanks for dropping by and visiting my blog Maggie. You got me spot on.

She Writes said...

I have always loved graveyards and reading the tombstones.

Suldog said...

I find graveyards fascinating and peaceful. If I wasn't afraid of others coming upon us and getting upset in some way - perhaps a feeling that we were disrespecting their loved ones - I'd pack a picnic lunch for MY WIFE and myself and go eat it in the middle of a graveyard tomorrow. Maybe I'll do it anyway!