Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

St Gregory's Graveyard, Seaton, Devon

I was walking past the churchyard one day when I saw that it was full of ox-eye daisies. Totally besotted with them, I went back a couple of days later with my camera to wander the areas that I hadn't explored before.

The extensive grounds belonging to St Gregory's Church comprise three tiers. The grounds immediately around the church are well-tended with just a few graves on the grass to three sides, the east side containing several modern-day graves along with a smattering of the oldest ones. The other two tiers are on sloping ground to the west, between the church green and the main road. It is this part that has been abandoned and left to the wildlife.

Further on in and the graves were packed together closely with small strips of concrete walkways between them. One of the things that struck me is that the graves aren't all that old. The dates are mostly between 1910 and the late 1950s. The headstones themselves weren't all that interesting either...no unusual decoration or inscriptions...but it was very peaceful and delightful amongst the flowers.

It was at this point that I looked down and realised that most of them had caved in due to subsidence. Even some of the concrete paths had broken up with gaping holes in the earth beneath. Cue an Edgar Alan Poe moment of sheer horror! At which point I made a very careful and hasty retreat. ;)

In the photo of the lower tier (below) can be seen how the subsidence has caused the headstones to lean all over the place. Many headstones have been laid on top of the graves.

The grave on the right with the rather sorry-looking seagull on the top (below), belongs to a twenty-year old young lady who loved nature and fell from the cliffs whilst watching the sea birds on their nesting sites, which is very sad.

Walking along the northern path to the east; on the church side the grounds are well tended but have been left neglected on the other side of the path. I did walk clockwise, or deosil, as it's supposedly a part of devil worship to walk whiddershins around a church. As a practising Neo Pagan I don't believe in the devil and whiddershins doesn't frighten me...but it's just as well to show respect to the old beliefs, especially as I was literally on their turf! ;)

At the lower, eastern edge of the churchyard, headstones stand in rows along the hedge which borders onto the Marshes Nature Reserve.

 

Many more photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery album. I spent a good couple of hours there, left to do something else, then went back later in the day and took more photos. Even so, I didn't cover everything, so I may add more from future visits.

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