Churchyards of England and Wales Hardcover – 1994
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The author looks at the origins and history of churchyards, the legends surrounding many of them, the extraordinary paraphernalia to be found there, some of their traditions and rituals, and of course their notable burials and inscriptions. Many churchyards have macabre happenings and pagan associations to relate, and the author does not flinch from full discussion of these aspects of his subject, but finds a surprising amount of humour there too, and offers something to appeal to everyone in his survey of these repositories of so much English and Welsh local history. The book is illustrated with more than 100 photographs and drawings.
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Anyway, the first time we went to a little church in a nearby scenic town, I was taken with the fresh wildflowers contrasting nicely with ancient monuments.
This book identifies so, so many of the churchyards by famous person, occurrence or unique gravestones.
Bewcastle is very close to Carlisle and we hiked there to see the famous Bewcastle Cross at St. Cuthbert's. It is over 1,300 years old and has remarkable carvings covering all four of its 14 1/2 feet height.
The whole industry and the practices of the English dealing with the dead are explored in detail. Fascinating.
Two epitaphs really strike me:
"Poor Marth Snell, her's gone away,
Her would if her could, but her couldn't stay.
Her had two bad legs and a baddish cough,
But her legs it was that carried her off."
And this is a thinker:
Shall . . . weee . . . all . . . . die?
Weee . . . shall . . . die . . . all.
All . . . . . die . . . shall . . . weee?
Die . . . . all . . . . weee . . . shall.
You can read the sentences vertically or horizontally. It's from a brass plaque from 1708 to Hannibal Bassett at Mawgan.