"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 9 June 2023

Herefordshire 2023 (5) - Part 2: Churchcrawling - visit to a Cemetery


On Bank Holiday Monday I wanted to go out but was keen to avoid anywhere it might be busy so a church seemed a good idea. Then I remembered when we had gone into Leominster the "back way" via an industrial park to avoid roadworks on the A road I had spotted a small cemetery.

Now some of you may remember I read a book recently called "Tomb With A View" which I was disappointed with as instead of dealing with the stories behind gravestones in churchyards, it mainly consisted of visits to cemeteries.  So I thought it would be a good idea to visit one and see what they were like. A small one like Leominster seemed a better idea than a large one in a City.

I haven't been able to find out much about the history of Leominster Cemetery apart from the fact that the earliest burials are from the early C19th.

It was good to see that in some areas especially around the older gravestones the wild flowers had been allowed to flourish and grass left unmown.

I only found one Commonwealth War grave although I know there are many more.

To be honest after wandering around for three quarters of an hour I have to admit I am still not keen on visiting cemeteries.  I think its partly because of the number of recent graves and especially the children's graves which were really rather upsetting. Also a cemetery visit brings back sad memories of attending mum and dad's funeral and other relatives or friends. When I wander round a country churchyard I mainly do so to enjoy the wildflowers if it is a "Living Churchyard" but its usually just part of the visit. Its the church exterior and interior for its history and architecture which is the main reason for my visit.  So, although I had thought of visiting a cemetery in Solihull or Birmingham I now don't think I will. Although, of course, it has to be remembered "Tomb With A View" visits were to research the history of people who had died and were buried there and to talk to people who knew them.

On the Tuesday we paid a visit to Burford House Gardens and a surprise awaited us there as the gate over the bridge was for the first time open and it led to a wonderful wild flower meadow.  I'll write about the gardens and meadow in my next two posts.

I am everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera. (I don't particularly rate my photos but if anyone wishes to use one I would appreciate an email first - thanks).


Rustic Pumpkin said...

While I like Valerian, I don't particularly care to see it smothering that grave. Aside from anything else, it's a prolific spreader and could take over adjoining plots. Speaking of prolific, is that white flower Mexican Fleabane? Another thug if left to it's own devices, but very pretty indeed. I find most cemeteries comforting places.

Ragged Robin said...

Rustic Pumpkin - Thanks so much. Valerian did seem to be spreading in places. I didn't see any Mexican Fleabane just daisies and ox-eye daisies. Yes to be fair it was comforting and peaceful there. I think it was the children's graves at the start that unsettled me - so sad.

Rosie said...

Sometimes cemeteries can be a bit unsettling, I don't know if it is the larger stones and memorials or the dark colour of them. Still they do have lots of wildlife. When our local and family history group transcribed the headstones in the local cemetery in Spalding (in the late 1980s) I disturbed quite a few frogs in the undergrowth and there were some lovely birds too. Know what you mean about the graves of young people and children. I found a small ornate stone covered in Ivy and when we managed to read underneath it was to a child called Ivy, it felt quite weird at the time:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. I am not sure what it is about them apart from the items I mentioned in the post. A friend said to me they can be too "municipal" and I think she may be right. Yes you are right about the wildlife I saw many wildflowers in the wilder areas and a rabbit. I would imagine that was an interesting project in Spalding. Very unsettling about the ivy covered stone and the name.

CherryPie said...

I find cemetaries and grave yards interesting to visit. There is so much history on the stone memorials. I am always careful to walk through the spaces respectfully.

I also like it when the wild flowers are allowed to grow between the memorials but so much that it becomes overgrown.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you. I do like churchyards especially ones with wild flower areas but I found the cemetery a little "municipal".