Thursday, 14 May 2015

Divine Meanderings

I'm not being macabre, I'm not a goth and I'm certainly not a vampire hunter but I do love a good solitary wander around a cemetery.

I love reading all the inscriptions and looking at all the lives, careers and interests that have been lived out in this area. From the tiniest baby to the oldest gentleman - all have been loved enough to have a headstone or monument made to mark the life they had on this earth.

Whilst wandering from my flat in Bath, I stumbled upon a little churchyard set below the road near the banks of the river. Stepping down to it and with it's lovely high old stone walls all around, the sounds of the city were drowned out and I was heading into an oasis of calm.

I discovered, from a small plaque, that this was St Mary's Churchyard opened in 1809 and closed, because it was full, in 1859.

The plaque welcomed those who wanted to visit, to stay to the paths, take a quiet wander around and to contemplate the lives of those here - so I did.

There were many different graves - from paupers to rich business men.

I found the grave of Sophia Wren - great granddaughter of Sir Christopher Wren, the distinguished graves of the La Touche's - who were killed in India in 1845 and brought home for their burial, and hidden in the walls, off to one side of the cemetery, were the remains of a roman sarcophagus dated circa 200 AD.

A group of volunteers care for this disused graveyard - they have allowed wild flowers and plants to grow amongst the graves, if heads stones have fallen they have been left for nature to start to claim and soften their hard lines, moss grows in the engravings and the dappled light filtering through the gnarled old trees, that grow amongst these graves, helps to add to the sense of calm and a slightly ethereal feel.

I was not along - there were rather a lot of other Elizabeth's here .......

In the centre of the graveyard stands the mortuary chapel build in 1818. It's was used to preform baptisms and funerals - the start & end of life - now the roof has fallen in, pigeons and rooks fly amongst it's ruins but the old font still stands in the south porch...

I continued my meandering enjoying my time wandering deeper into the quiet and dappled sunlight - until that is, I came upon this at the far end. I told myself it was the roots of the trees that had moved these graves and that it was probably rabbits or foxes that had dug down into the earth - not anything digging to get out.........I quickened my step and moved back to the warm, loud, busy reality of the life in the city of Bath.