Sunday, 24 May 2009

Discovering the Childrens' Plot in a Somerset Cemetery

I was photographing a modern cemetery this afternoon, so that I could compare the latter day headstones with those of much earlier times. I spotted a couple of teddy bear-shaped stones and quickly realised that was standing in the middle of a very large children's plot. Now, I have seen Victorian gravestones with up to a dozen children of the same family named who had died of disease in reasonably quick succession, but this was the first time I had been to a section entirely devoted to babies and young children. The ages of those interred made me sad - two days, one month, five months, one year - to list but a few.

This teddy bear memorial has a very striking floral tribute in the shape of a bear laid upon it.

Here, small creatures offer company at this unnamed child's grave.

Jason Cooper's grave was quite ornate and, as can be seen in the second photograph, was covered in, presumably, favourite toys?

A recumbent teddy bear was the only thing that marked an unknown grave.


  1. Very sad. You can just feel the parents' heartbreak. Strange that the white picket fence grave has no headstone or name; clearly, h/she was loved and missed. I think Jason's decorations were chosen from his roster of toys as ones that would stand the test of time, whereas the soft toys will disintegrate more quickly. The grass looks like it needs mowing. Is that something that would be done in a cemetery there? Here, the headstones usually have to be equal in height to the surface of the ground so that mowers can go over them.

  2. I agree, Margaret, very heartbreaking. The cemetery was very well kept, but I think many cemeteries in England are strimmed rather than mowed. That said, more and more church officials are having the edges removed from graves so they can be mowed. Sadly, this means many inscriptions are lost!

  3. How poignant.

    My sister works at a mortuary, and they have a whole section just for babies and youngsters. They give the plots away for free, and do special services, flowers, etc., also free of charge. It is a sweet thing.

    I'm so sorry, Laurie to hear what they're doing in England. Those graves are historical records--it is a wonder that people aren't up in arms about it.

  4. There is something incredibly sad about the grave of a child.. for obvious reasons.. All that lost potential, the wasted effort, utter heartbreak. I found the piture of the little garden of animals the most moving... *sighs...

  5. Thanks Watercats. It is hard not to feel really maudlin sometimes!

  6. Oh Laurie, how sad and moving - but thank you for sharing thses pictures, as they're incredibly lovely too.