Grey stones in the green grass. Grey church against pale grey sky. No wind in the warm walled space. Wood Pigeons coo in a churchyard oak. Alive, rejecting silence.
I walked through the graveyard of Christchurch Priory Church today, looking for a particular grave and not being able to find it. The people of Christchurch have been buried in this peaceful place since Norman times, but most of them are forgotten, in unmarked graves. Headstones from the 1700`s exist but it is difficult to read inscriptions after the weathering of three hundred years. Even so, the styles of the headstones hint at their time in history.
In the fresh, sea air of the harbourside churchyard, lichens grow on carved monuments ........
...or leave their impressions on the oldest stones.
Grander townsfolk rest in boxed tombs.
The Georgians carved Neo-Classical pillars and sunbursts in elegant symmetry.
A simple Victorian tomb.
A modern Celtic cross, in pink granite, on an early twentieth century grave.
I walked through the gateway and out of the churchyard, down through the tunnel of leaves by the riverside.....
....past the Garden where people`s ashes can rest, in sight of the ancient church.
As I turned the corner, there was the facade of a most unusual tomb, which stands empty and on its own in a quiet walled garden.
This is the reason why. The story of poor Mrs Perkins is explained on this plaque......
....and here is her tomb.
I can only imagine the dread and horror of those little boys in the Church School, listening out in the darkness for signs that Mrs Perkins might be stirring behind that unlocked door!