Just a Walk Through A Graveyard


Graveyards and cemeteries have always fascinated me.  There is just a lot of history and interesting facts that can be gathered from taking a leisurely walk through a place where many go to remember a loved one.  When I was in college I often went to the cemetery outside of town to study.  Weird, maybe, but no one bothered me there.

When our boys were little we tried to teach them to respect places like cemeteries which many people hold as sacred spots.  Our oldest, Micah, called them “little towns” and yes—-if you looked upon the headstones when you were three years old you might think that they were little towns, also.P1010249

When we were in Bermuda earlier this year one of my favorite spots was St. Peter’s church in St. George’s. I wrote a post about it earlier this year.  It is a marvelous structure with so much history ensconced in it’s walls.  P1010237

One of the other fascinating things about this piece of history is the ability to walk throughout the churchyard and see that there are two distinct graveyards.  One walled area to the west of the church was designated for black slaves while the one to the east was reserved for whites.

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Graves of many prominent Bermudians are located on this piece of ground including Governor Sir Richad Sharples who was assassinated in 1973.  Another noteworthy grave is that of Midshipman Richard Sutherland Dale who was an 20 year old American soldier who was the last victim of the War of 1812.  The people of St. George’s took care of him until his death in 1815.

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As blacks became Christians they were “entitled” to Christian burials.  Seems a bit odd to me to think that not everyone would have those rights but this was when slavery was commonplace and slaves had no rights.  In the latter 1600’s the separate graveyard was created by extending the existing one to the west to accommodate the separate area for the black Christians that were to be buried in the cemetery.  P1010252

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Do cemeteries hold you captive or do you avoid them?  Everyone has a different experience when they go to a historic place like this.  For me the cemetery at St. Peter’s in St. George’s had me wondering about all of those folks who had walked on the grounds before me and those who have yet to visit.

Another very interesting post about of all things–a circus cemetery—is featured over at The Task at Hand.  Click here to go check it out and show her some bloggy love.  

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Comments

  1. I have always thought cemeteries were such interesting places, but especially the one in my little hometown, where almost all my ancestors are buried. It IS fascinating to read names, dates, etc., and sad to realize that so many of them had such short lives. Of course, that happens occasionally in our day and time, but not nearly as often.

  2. I remember your St. George’s post.
    Daughter and SIL’s street ends at a cemetery. The realtor asked if they would mind being so close. Answer – no, not at all.
    I remember walking through the cemetery in Paris filled with legends and then in London, in Westminster Abbey noting even more. It was overwhelmingly breathtaking to think of all gathered in one resting spot.

  3. They totally hold me captive. Like you said, so much history. In fact I had to zoom in on your pics and read all the stones that were legible.

  4. When I think of cemeteries, three immediately come to mind–Arlington National Cemetery in the U.S.; Normandy American Cemetery in France; and the Old Jewish Cemetery in Krakow, Poland. These three contain so much amazing history, I could return again and again…and do.
    Your photos in this post are beautiful.

  5. Very interesting places to visit. Yet, I don’t like visiting my first husband’s grave. I can’t think of him as there. He is with us in so many ways still and I feel closer to him in the timber or along the trail where we had a bench placed In Memory.
    I never thought of Bermuda as a place where slavery existed. Thank you for the lesson.

  6. I love cemeteries. It’s interesting to walk through the old one in Galveston, and trace the different immigrant communities that arrived there. I don’t know why it amuses me so, that the Cricket Club erected the plaque commemorating the burial space for slaves and free Blacks, but it does.

    It’s funny how many cemetery posts have popped up this week. I’ve seen one from Vermont and one from Switzerland, and my current post is about a circus cemetery in Oklahoma, a space marked off with concrete elephants!

  7. I love cemeteries too! Wonderful places for peace and quiet, and as you said, so much history is there. Loved the photos too. 🙂

  8. As a child, I did not like cemeteries. Not at all. As an adult, I have a totally different perspective, viewing them as places of honor, history, art and hope.

    This cemetery you showcase here is incredibly interesting. But to think of the separation in burial plots makes me sad, just sad.

  9. Very interesting pictures.

  10. I, too, am fascinated by cemeteries. When we’re in Gulfport, Dallas and I often walk through a huge cemetery, visiting long-past relatives and praying over the deceased. It’s a calming thing, and I totally “get” that you used to study in a cemetery. I’m not sure I’d have been comfortable doing that as a college student, but if I were to go back now, perhaps!

  11. The next time you’re in Boston, take a trip through the “Old Granary” burial ground.. Though I haven’t been there in years, it is like a trip back through history.

  12. Just found your blog through other blogging buddies and I’ve enjoyed browsing around your posts. I see we have a couple of things in common — teapots (I have a collection too) and I also find cemeteries interesting. I think one of the largest and most unique ones I’ve ever visited is in Louisville, KY (where Col. Sanders lies). There are monuments that are works of art there and life size statues of some of the deceased.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I somehow missed this comment but hopefully it isn’t too late to tell you thanks !!! Do you feature your teapots on your blog, too? I need to hop over and check out what all you have going on! Thanks for taking the time to stop and comment! It means a lot!

  13. I have also always had a fascination with graveyards. While other children would play baseball and go for hikes in the summer holidays, my aunt and I would explore the local graveyard. We would pack a lunch and have a picnic there, creating stories about the people who lay at peace. Where ever we travel, I always stop at the graveyard and think about the people resting there. My hubby thinks I’m weird but indulges me.This one looks in Bermuda looks very intriguing.

  14. I find them intriguing.

  15. I’ve never avoided cemeteries as we used to mow one when I was young, so I’ve always been fascinated by all buried there and always found my mind wandering thinking about them.

  16. I love to visit old cemeteries. The history is so rich. To think of the people, their lives and their connections to the area are always interesting to me, even though most are unknown. They were still people and mattered to someone.

  17. Cemeteries are fascinating. We have an old one right up the hill and I often take a book to read or my laptop to right and head over to the cemetery to spend some quiet time.The bonus is when the coyotes come out to play. When Cole was little we took him to play on Grandma’s grave (DDH Mom) and on one visit he left his bubbles and wand in case she got bored. I love the idea of Micah seeing cemeteries as little towns.

  18. I have always thought them interesting and important. Who doesn’t want to be remembered? and yet, many are so old there would be no one left to remember them. To spend a few spare moments thinking about them and what their life was like. Of course, if I am visiting a cemetery because I know someone buried there; it’s not quite the same.
    Hard to believe they wouldn’t even bury black people in the same graveyard. Unfathomable to me.

  19. I feel odd when I go to cemeteries because I’m never sure where to walk where I won’t be stepping on someone. It seems like a disrespectful thing to do to walk across someone’s grave.

    • I think there are different schools of thought on that. I try not to walk on top of a grave out of respect also but sometimes it is unavoidable. I think if you have the right motivation and intent all is forgiven if there is a misstep.

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