In the past, I’ve always found them extremely spooky. Until recently. I’m not sure what changed. Maybe my curiosity with who has come before has been dialed up the older I get. Or perhaps the older I get, the closer I am to becoming a permanent cemetary resident. Most likely much has to do with moving to England, a country full of old, creepy, and beautiful graveyards.
As I wandered through the St. Andrew’s cemetery, my mind was full of questions. Who lived here before? What were their lives like? How did they die? Many of the tombstones are worn away, the writing erased from our sight, but still remains the marker of a person who once walked through the same streets I do. A person who loved and was loved, with dreams and aspirations. Likely they lived a harder life. One full of challenges and disappointments, limits placed on them due to status and privilege.
Writing historical fiction has always intrigued me, and as I craft the story behind my middle grade novel set in 1944, I am left to dream of other tales that can be found hiding in the past.
So where will I roam next?
Shall I visit Bunhill Fields in the London Borough of Islington, where John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, Daniel Defoe, who wrote Robinson Crusoe, and the poet and artist William Blake rest in peace.
Perhaps I will meander through the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, Berkshire where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried.
Or what about visiting the tomb of Karl Marx in The Highgate Cemetery in London? This is also where painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife Elizabeth Siddal (d. 1862) is buried. Apparently he had her grave opened in 1869 to retrieve a book of poems he had placed in her coffin. Morbidly cool fact.
We are planning a trip to Scotland so we should probably include the Iona Abbey on the list. Duncan, the Scottish king murdered by Macbeth in 1140, is reputed to be buried here, along with 47 other Scottish kings and a number of Scottish saints.
I leave you with this link to Dark Destiny a site with beautiful photos and historical facts that may inspire you to plan your own Graveyard Tour. Dark Destiny Cemetery Photography
Hope to see you soon, lurking behind a crumbling mausoleum.