Monday, 31 October 2011

Graveyard Stroll

Ahhhhh.. tis that time of year again. Samhain or Hallowe'en. Feeling decidedly un-Witchsome this year (even more than last), I have feebly recreated the same remembrance hearth of last year. That said, I still felt the need to actually do something to mark the day. It being an occasion to remember those that have passed, I felt it apt to go for a graveyard stroll (granted, on the day before the day

That may sound a tad weird to some of you, but I grew up playing in a rather large cemetery that is situated behind the old abode of my Grandparents in Southgate, North London. This was due to a childhood friend losing her mother when we were 5. We ended up going their most Saturdays and Sundays to tend her grave.

Not a lot of adults present made it the perfect place to explore. I think, because of said friends personal connection, we were never disrespectful or unruly. I found out many years later that my own Grandfather was also buried there. Oddly, near to where we used to hang out. 

Anywho. This gave me a lifelong fascination with graveyards. I love to walk around them, taking in the peaceful silence and inspecting headstones, especially aged ones. Near me, in Epsom, there is quite a large cemetery. 

On a recent bus journey whereby I was sitting up the top (as I feel is law when upon a double decker -  this too stems from childhood) I noticed what appeared to be a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial. As in, white stoned walls and plaques. I was intrigued. I have not seen one outside of France/Belgium.

So, we headed off on a wet, yet warm Sunday to have a stroll...

I chose to take some photos of graves that intrigued me. I have not seen such decorated headstones before. Angels and tombs, yes. Flowers, ivy and birds captured in stone, no.

We got there pretty early, which in itself was nice. 

I always find cemeteries crowded yet quiet.

As we made our way towards the CWGC memorial I noticed a couple of instantly recognisable headstones. That were not encompassed in the memorial itself. I shall be delving into why they have their own plots at some point...

Approaching the main memorial, it made me feel like I was back, across the Channel.

A little webbing when I got home revealed that the majority of those listed died locally at Horton War Hospital as it was then.

148 men are listed here, with nationalities ranging from Canadian to Indian.

We had a quick sit down and watched a lone Magpie. For Sorrow. How apt.

Before we left, we had a peek at Epsom's War Memorial which commemorates local lads who became the Fallen. Lads and one woman. Who, naturally, I shall now have to try and find out more about. In fact, I shall have to first find out which of the names is actually her. 

Again, I have no clue as to who this photo depicts, or how long it has been sitting there. A while, judging by the damage to it.

So, what I intended to be a nice, calm, humble saunter through resting places instead left me fired up and wanting to investigate.

Ahhhhh.. the Samhain spirit works in mysterious ways....

Enjoy your pumpkins, pumpkins!


  1. I rather like graveyards too. Not in a morbid way, I just find them very peaceful places. My parents' house in which I grew up is essentially on a graveyard, which might explain why I like them so much.

  2. I love a good cemetary! I used to hang out in a nearby one when I was writing my thesis, because it was very peaceful and gave me a chance to rest my brain. I that particular cemetary there is a grave to the wireless operator on the Titanic. He went down with the ship. His gravestone is shaped like an iceberg....

  3. So glad it's not just me that likes to wander around cemeteries! At home I live near a cemetery and at uni I do too and often wander around them - I find them very peaceful places.

    Happy Samhain to you too!

  4. Nice photos! We have a lovely and huge graveyard not far from us, with many famous local characters from the last century or so buried there. We actually had a field trip there in grade school to do grave rubbings on historical graves... this seemed normal at the time but is a bit odd typing it now.

    We haven't taken a stroll there in several years, but now I'm reminded we should!

  5. I went up to the cemetary on Harrow on the Hill recently. There was a grave for a man killed when both his legs were crushed by a train, one was amputated successfully and the other not so (hence he died). They didn't really go into his age, family, beliefs etc'. Just the gory bits. It was an incredible bit of Victorian melodrama.

  6. Graveyards are beautiful places. I always enjoy a walk in one. I've never seen a war memorial like that in one, though.

  7. I adore cemeteries, I could spend hours wandering the quiet paths snapping pictures.

  8. Cemeteries are beautiful and usually filled with headstones that are more art that grave markers. I love reading the headstones and seeing when people lived and trying to picture what their lives were like.
    Happy Halloween

  9. I've loved to wander around graveyards since I was a child. How lovely those flowers carved into the headstone are. Please share the results of your investigations with us in due course.

  10. I love wandering through graveyards too. What a beautiful angel, sadly I think Dr Who will have made a whole generation terrified of them! Don't Blink......

  11. In my city there's a burying ground (as it's called on the sign) that dates back to the 17th century. I love walking there: there are a thousand stories on those headstones.

  12. Yes, fascinating places, have always enjoyed exploring them. Do let us know what you find out about anyone.

  13. I enjoy walking around old cemetaries and looking at the beautiful old markers. My mother in law lived next to a cemetary when she was first married in the 1940's and she said they made the best neighbors she ever had! -T

  14. I love walking around cemeteries too! I find them so calm - a place for rest. In Sweden people decorate the graves with candles around Halloween time. Walking around in the darkness, with hundreds of candles burning on the ground is a completely amazing feeling...

  15. I love cemantarys too, we decorate ours in mexico in many bright colors.
    About the poppies i gayed mine up painted it with glitter polish ,but i want the poppy fascinator now. I agree with you with everthing you said.

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