Friday, 12 July 2013

“The atmosphere is always very grave when I walk into a cemetery.”

Bonjour,


I'm rather pleased with the title of this post, I thought it was marginally droll - it's a quote by Jarod Kintz from Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life. Apparently.


Anyway, a couple of days ago I went with my mum and grandad to visit a few towns where our family used to live, in about the 1600-1800s. It was fascinating, as they're both really into family history and turned out to be veritable mines of information as we went along, hopping out the car to photograph several buildings which used to be the family pubs back in the day. We had lunch at this particularly picturesque one, which dates back to the 14th century and was owned by our ancestors in the 1700s.


Afterwards we went grave hunting in the nearby graveyard, in the hope of finding and photographing some graves belonging to our family. The abbey has a long and colourful history, but the long and short of it is that the half of it belonging to the parish and the townspeople is well-maintained, but the half which used to be a monastery is now falling into ruin, as you can see below. 


We found a fairly imposing tomb belonging to one of our ancestors and tried - unsuccessfully - to do a rubbing of the inscription.


 We went to a couple more churches to search for more ancestral graves, such as this one:




I have quite a selection of shots of graveyards, cemeteries and churches now - I think there's something hauntingly beautiful about them. A lot of the headstones are crumbling away, often with the names illegible and the people forgotten, and looking at some of the ones in the worst condition, I wonder how long it's been since someone visited them or remembered the person.

All in all it was an interesting experience, and I learnt a lot, from how best to photograph nearly unreadable inscriptions to details about life in the 18th century.

x

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