The cemetery today is very different from Victorian times. The rounds are open to all and through the hard work of The Friends of St. James’ are utilised by many groups in the local community. It is still possible, during a quiet hour or so to get lost in the history of this green lung in the centre of our city.
One of the many facinating things about the Victorians was how they recorded on the gravestone a little about the life of the person, sometimes even how they met their end.
Louisa, was 11 when “Her death was occasioned by her apparel having accidently taken fire. The brief period of extreme suffering which preceeded her dissolution she endured with Christian fortitude and resignation”
If you take a close look at the walls of the grounds you will find chiselled initials carved into the rock. I suppose in moments of boredom, the quarry workers would want to record their names. In this photo A.S. 1727 is quite clear. If you look in the History section, i have discussed track marks on the ground and evidence of some sort of vehicle scraping against the rock walls in passing. You can see some of these marks in this picture.
There were 101 catacombes cut into the soft rock around the East Wall. Most of them were never used, even though they could be purchased for as little as £4.00
In a large part of the cemetery you can find huge memorials to those buried here. Some burials had no marker, some people could not afford even the simplest of stones. Carved in the wall, near to the spring is this simple memorial to Little Grace.
Despite many stories and theories to the contrary, to date there has been no concrete evidence to just who Little Grace may have been.
Here are links to some further information about the Cemetery, it can include anecdotes, cuttings or pieces that people have donated to these pages.
1. Some Burial Reciepts that have been sent to me.
2. A fictional ghostly walk, published in Porcupine, 1873.
5. Romance of a Cemetery. A Piece by Richard Whittington-Egan
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