web analytics

Googly-eyed skellingtons


From one of the churchyards this weekend. It’s hard to make out the inscription for all the lichens on the stone, but I think the date is 1744.

It’s disappointing, though — they don’t have nearly as many boneyards here as in the States, and the burials aren’t nearly as old. That’s because it’s a small, overcrowded island and they developed a tradition of stacking graves or digging people up after a few years.

Hence the “Alas, poor Yorick!” scene.

Our local church hasn’t kept good records of burials. The last time a neighbor died, a man with a pointy stick went out with the widow and they poked the stick in the ground looking for a big enough spot free of other coffins.

I’m not even kidding. shudder


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 31, 2016, 11:40 pm

One would think that on “a small, overcrowded island” there would be strong motivation to embrace cremation.

Oh. Wait. The greenies would riot.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 1, 2016, 12:25 am

There was a Science Fiction short story in Analog years ago, author and title long forgotten, about Earth having no space left for burials, and it had become the one place that everyone wanted to buried back on Old Earth the birthplace of humans.

Rich guy from far away tried to buy a burial plot and couldn’t do it. But he noticed the robot gardeners spreading fertilizer on the flowers and since he was a fertilizer seller his problem was solved.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: September 1, 2016, 12:42 am

I’ve been watching Great Canal Journeys and really enjoying it. Besides liking canals, West and Scales, tho lefty loons, are pretty interesting and endearing.

Comment from dissent555
Time: September 1, 2016, 12:53 am

So what’s British for “Soylent Green”?

Comment from Bob B
Time: September 1, 2016, 2:26 am

I seem to recall that the biggest cemetery company in the US, Forest Lawn, got in trouble (or at least there was some huge outrage) for burying indigents standing up in a segregated, less expensive area of one of their cemeteries in the Los Angeles area, to save space. I believe it was called post-holing the beggars in the cheap seats.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: September 1, 2016, 4:57 am

I’m curious if Brits put the wooden coffins into concrete boxes, like in the US. If so, then the stick poking process seems like it would work fine. You’d hit concrete.

But if the cemetery is old, wouldn’t the wood be rotted? Thus the stick might go in fine, but during the digging its OMG time.

Comment from Veeshir
Time: September 1, 2016, 12:56 pm

I grew up in the greater Kingston, NY metropolitan area.

There is one of the oldest churches in America there and a few really old cemeteries, dating to the 1600s.
Edit: Found the website for the Old Dutch Church from 1659

In nearby Hurley, home of the Old Stone Houses, there is one of the really old ones.

The epitaphs are freaky, one guy has a serious curse on anybody walking on his grave.
That was the favorite place to take people who had passed out at parties so they could wake up on a cursed grave.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 1, 2016, 2:31 pm

This is why I want to go up the chimney when I kick the bucket. Added benefit is that as our village lacks a proper waste water treatment, flushing the ashes down the loo will ensure I enter the river to begin a new journey.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 1, 2016, 2:57 pm

Cremations far outnumber burials here, Uncle Al. And they never do that horrible embalming thing we do in the States.

I’ve always thought I wanted to be buried, though. I like the idea of turning into something that would terrify small children.

Comment from Niña
Time: September 1, 2016, 3:48 pm

My parents were cremated and bits of them have travelled all around the world, save Antarctica. That’s what I want my kids to do to me, too.

My dad didn’t make it to the glacier in Alaska, however, because he was still alive when we drove up there to leave a piece of Mom. It would have been a little premature. 😜

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: September 1, 2016, 4:19 pm

Watched a Jonathon Meades documentary on Salisbury Cathedral. He attended school there when a gardener pricked his finger on a thorn and died of tetanus. Meade attended the inquest and they ruled that the cause of death was due to the churchyard being filled with so many bodies that the ground was contaminated.

Saw a documentary on Shakespeare’s grave. He is buried with his family under the floor of the local Stratford church. The church wd not allow the grave to be excavated, thank God, but they did use radar equipment that showed soil disturbance signifying bodies had been buried there. The Shakespeares were buried the old way wrapped in a simply cloth shroud. Makes sense. You’re going to rot anyway, the quicker the better.

I always find it touching when they find babies secretly buried in churchyards. The church wd not allow burial due to the parents behavior, so the family wd sneak in at night and bury the child on church ground.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: September 1, 2016, 4:22 pm

Shakespeare’s Tomb:


Comment from Deborah HH
Time: September 1, 2016, 7:18 pm

For the past few weeks I’ve been researching family genealogy, and it’s such relief to see the photo of a headstone that answers a question. I always want to be cremated, but now seeing those headstones, I’m not so sure. Maybe my ashes can be buried over my mother, and I’ll arrange to have a new headstone made for the two of us.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: September 1, 2016, 8:13 pm

I’ve only seen secular UK burials in movies. Flowers are piled outside the chapel, people go inside and the coffin is on a conveyor belt. After the eulogies, they flip a switch and the coffin moves back thru a door with flames. I dont think in real life the mourners would see the flames. Seems too disturbing. I think the coffin must go out of sight and then into the oven.

p.s.: Those of you who want to be dumped into the ocean – do you really want to end up as fish poo??

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 1, 2016, 8:53 pm

No, tom, they don’t use concrete vaults and you’re quite right that means only recent burials would show up. Believe me, I’ve fretted about the possibility of the digging going horribly wrong.

My neighbor ratted me out to the vicar, that I have expressed a desire to be the first under-floor burial in our church. Though, who knows what might be under there? There just aren’t any stones or other markers in the floor. Vicar didn’t think she could get permission to dig up the bricks 🙁

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: September 1, 2016, 9:22 pm

Ah well. But maybe you could design your own headstone. I wonder how many headstones have a weasel on them?

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: September 1, 2016, 9:32 pm

Isnt your church fairly old, Stoaty? They shd get one of those radar machines and survey the place. They could make some money burying people if there is room.

Again, a ground radar machine shd show old burials in the churchyard. I’ve watched Time Team for decades so I’m an expert. 🙂

Comment from Veeshir
Time: September 2, 2016, 12:44 am

Isn’t that where they bury saints’ bones Stoaty?

You should work on becoming the patron saint of P-shoppers.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny