Call to Action: Cemeteries

13 February 2012

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All Hallows Graveyard, Tottenham. Photography by Fin Fahey.All Hallows Graveyard, Tottenham. Photography by Fin Fahey.

Last week we discovered circuses hidden in churches and workhouses turned into hospitals in our week of extraordinary conversions.  This week we’re delving into cemeteries, from those forgotten village cemeteries to the rather grander mausoleums.  From the spooky to the ostentatious, cemeteries come in all shapes and all sizes.  Personally, I favour the forgotten ones, which you just happen to stumble upon; the ones which look slightly neglected with overgrown grass, moss covered graves and barely readable headstones which you try your hardest to understand as if by doing so grants you the ability to ‘rest in peace’ as well!

Whilst visiting the wonderful Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham the other day, I did that very thing – stumble upon All Hallows Graveyard.  The slightly disconcerting thing was that dusk was upon me, but something about the faint light emitting over the graves from the church seemed to beckon me in. Was I totally mad – a woman, walking around a graveyard in the dark on her own?  Well yes, perhaps I was, but that little bit of fear made it all the more exciting! As I moved from grave to grave, albeit a little tentatively, I admit, I couldn’t help thinking about all the people, families and stories that were buried deep beneath my feet.  Who were they all, what had they done in their lives, how old were they and how did they die?

It made me think about my own life and what happens when I die.  Would I want to be cremated or buried – I’m not quite sure.  One thing I do know though is that my headstone would quite simply say – BOO!

What would yours say?  If you’ve got some interesting cemetery stories to unearth, ‘scuse the pun, please send them in!

  • February 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Bloged by Moira Jenkins

    Tottenham Cemetery, like many cemeteries, is also a wonderful haven for wildlife… maybe you were there too late in the evening to see any of its many squirrels…? And lots of foxes too. It’s also where I’ve harvested elderflowers to make elderflower champagne. (You don’t want to pick them near roads as you’re not supposed to wash off the yeast which makes the bubbles.) A real gem, only a 5-minute walk from my door.

  • March 2, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Bloged by Endang

    I don’t ralecl ever being creeped out by cemeteries, either. In March we went to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and while doing pre-trip research I learned that there was a cemetery right by the ocean there. I spent close to an hour there (it’s a small cemetery) just taking photos of the interesting and unique headstones. I’ve never even thought of taking photos in a cemetery as disrespectful, either. So many people do it with their own ancestors’ tombstones, so why would it be considered disrespectful? I’ve even visited cemeteries in the town where I live just to take photos of really old tombstones that I’ve seen while driving by. I think it’s interesting to read the dates, epitaphs, photos, etc. A few years ago when I was serving in YW we had a cemetery scavenger hunt for one of our mutual activities. I thought it was pretty fun and the YW didn’t seem to think it was too weird, either. I think it’s a great way to make some sort of connection with those that lived in the past.

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