Monday, 26 April 2010

Fading Faces

I promised to include some more of the heads found on the door arches of churches. These were on the corners of the entrance chapel at Locksbrook cemetery in Bath. For some reason, they have eroded more than usual. There are expressions on some of the faces as you would expect to see on the faces of lost souls crying out as they fade away. Both alarming and sad at the same time. What do others think?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Happy Days!

People always remark about Enid Blyton's adventures always ending with the heroic children having 'lashings of ginger beer and chocolate!" Here are some young Boy Scouts enjoying cheese on 'Welsh Rarebit' and mugs of tea. Don't they look cheerful? Well . . . most of them, anyway. The wonderous days of childhood. Oh, how I miss them. Magical!

Unseeing Eyes!

I have been looking through some images - actually, a lot of images - for suitable posts on my other blog, The Graveyard Detective. I have started noticing some of the heads displayed around the doors to chapels and churches and got to wondering who or what they are meant to represent? Some are striking, others eerie and disturbing. Perhaps one of you, oh sharp-minded followers, knows the answer? Here is one example. I am not enamoured with its unseeing eyes! I'll post a further selection later.

Monday, 19 April 2010

A very Strange but Beautiful Video

Having just downloaded an album Good Arrows by Tunng, I found this short film on YouTube and thought you might enjoy seeing it. It fascinated me, so let me know what you think . . . To kill the advert below it, click on the X.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Creatures lurking in Trees

It is always the same and a bit liking waiting for a bus. You don't come across a decent tree for months on end and then two come along at once. I'll tell you about one now and let you see the other one later.

I was visiting Lansdown Cemetery near Bath [see The Graveyard Detective for more information and photographs] and had just stood beside a grave marked by a giant black granite book. Naturally, my mind was wondering and the story of Alice in Wonderland came to mind. It was the last few minutes of my visit when I realised I had still to see the last featured grave in the cemetery's Tomb Trail.

As I visited it, and was taking a photograph, I heard someone shush me. I looked up and there it was - a very large rabbit in the tree. Wide-eyed and winking, it held one finger up to its mouth to encourage me to be quiet. Spooky, but it allowed me photograph it before it melted back into the bark and out of sight!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Animals interred in Hallowed Ground

This is not the sort of image you expect to find in a secluded country churchyard. I photographed it yesterday after finding a mention of it in a book on animal graves and memorials.

 There once was a poodle. Its name was Azor and it was said to have been presented by Frederick, King of Prussia to Sir Thomas Swymmer Champneys in 1790. After the dog died in 1796, a statue and plaque was raised above its grave at Wood Lodge, Orchardleigh.Thomas died in 1839 and his home - Orchardleigh House passed out of the family.

Almost forty years later, the Champney chapel in the St Mary's church was being restored when the remains of his dog were found buried inside the church.  A check of the poodle's grave at Wood Lodge found it empty.

In the late 1890s, the English poet Sir Henry Newbolt who was courting the daughter of the landowner, heard of the story and wrote Fiedele's Grassy Tomb. In it, he recounted how the dog had been buried at its master's feet. The local Bishop was incensed and demanded that the dog must be removed. According to author Jan Toms:

 " The sexton was of the opinion that the dog had behaved in a more than Christian fashion by saving his master from drowning and a deception was carried out. Fidele (or Azor) remained with his master while a false grave was erected outside. Thus, the legend of Azor was preserved in Newbolt's poem. Later, the statue believed to cover Azor's original resting place was moved into the churchyard of St Mary's being there for all to see." 
The  statue is remarkable, bearing the representation of a number of animal skulls on an urn. No inscription is visible, but the weathering of the stone just adds to the presence of the memorial. If you are ever in the vicinity, please take the time to visit the remarkable moated church with its small but historical churchyard.

Jan Toms' book Animal Graves and Memorials (Shire Books 2006) is available from all good booksellers. Click here for more details.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Decaying Buildings

When recently reading an event programme on the interesting Morbid Anatomy blog, I saw a reference to a photographer who tracked down some fascinating abandoned institutions and secured a host of remarkable images of the interiors of these buildings. Although a few months since his last post, it is still worth a visit to see these, often surrealistic photographs. As you will see, Richard Nickel Jr is fascinated by decaying insane asylums and quarantine hospitals. Click here to see Richard's work.