Monday 13 January 2014

Cemeteries ...

I love old cemeteries... .

There’s something about the legion of untold stories that the headstones represent: a silent multitude who have lived and breathed, loved and lost, laughed and cried, in pretty much the same way as we do all of those things today.

Sometimes their stories are hinted at: ‘Precious Daughter’, ‘Beloved Wife and Mother’, ‘Killed in the service of his country’.

But it gets you thinking, doesn’t it? What were they like? How were they mourned? What happened to them?

I’m especially intrigued and touched by those sad little graves that lie just beyond the limit of the consecrated plot. What sin, real of imagined, denied them a decent burial?

One of my favourite churchyards is to be found in Old Chiswick. If you go to Saint Nicholas' Church just on the river-side of the Hogarth roundabout you will find it all there in abundance: a library of forgotten lives.

There’s the grand memorial of William Hogarth (I am a HUGE fan of William Hogarth) with it’s wonderful dedication by his old chum David Garrick:

“Farewell great Painter of Mankind
Who reach’d the noblest point of Art,
Whose pictur’d Morals charm the Mind
And through the eye correct the Heart.”

“If Genius fire thee, Reader, stay
If Nature touch thee, drop a tear:
If neither move thee, turn away
For HOGARTH’S honour’d dust lies here.”

And then there are the folk that no one knows much about like little Nellie, who departed this life January 16th , 1873 aged only 7 years' old. As a mother, I get a bit emotional when I hang around little Nellie's grave. Poor lamb, may she rest in peace.

To one side of the path that skirts the churchyard there’s this wonderful old garden door, all dark and mysterious. I wonder whether any smugglers or body snatchers or other ne'er-do- wells ever slunk behind it to escape the long arm of the law.

Anyway, I fiddled around with my photo, and turned it into this:

Ta-dah! What do you think? Would it make a good book-jacket cover for a mystery novel?

If you fancy taking a wander down in that direction, you can find out about the Church of St Nicholas here: St Nicholas' Church, Chiswick

Bonny x

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