Now I know graveyards are the resting places of our ancestors and should be respected but they should also be places to enjoy.
A graveyard is a special place to visit. They can give us some much. An afternoon wandering amongst the graves learning about the people who now live there is a relaxing time. It’s a great way for kids to learn about their local history and for them to meet their ancestors. A graveyard can also attract so much wildlife and nature into a town or city. They are great places for wildlife to live and for nature to thrive.
Graveyards come in several forms. There is the cemeteries that many of us are familiar with where hundreds, if not thousands are buried.
In many places they are the traditional graveyard with the graves around the parish church.
These graveyards appear to have a hierarchy to them. It always seems to me that the nearer the church or main path to the church the more important the person was. It seems the only way a person can deem more important in death is by being buried in the church itself.
Another way a person can show they importance in life is by the grave itself. A plane grave stone can show the importance of the person by the size of it. The bigger the stone presumably the more important they are, although if there are many family members on it then this could also be the reason. Any time spent in a grave yard shows that there are some really fancy graves out there.
I suppose someone with a lot of money can afford a fancier memorial to themselves and so demonstrates their wealth in life. I wouldn’t think many, for example, farm labourers on a massive farm could afford a large gravestone, if any at all, but the farm owner may be able to. This demonstrates one of the ways graves can use symbolism.
The subject of symbolism is massive. The symbolism can range from a small portion of the grave to all of it. From example an owl on a grave shows a wise person and a broken urn can mean a person was very old when they died. If you want to know more there are 2 excellent website:
It’s amazing how much symbolism there is.
Graveyards also can be great places to view nature. There is debate as to how graveyards should be managed. Some argue that disused graveyards should be left to become overgrown and allow nature to take over, others feel the graveyard should be kept neat and tidy. I’m somewhere in between. I feel the graves themselves should be kept nice and if the grave stone has to be laid down then they should be done so the writing on the stone can be seen, but the surrounding grounds could be left more informal so that nature can move in (or be introduced. Some graveyards have sheep to keep the grass cut).
I’d like to think that nature can help those visiting their loved ones in the graveyard and those buried there can enjoy the wildlife. Just think how the songs of the birds can make you smile, and who doesn’t want to watch squirrels running about and playing. It can help make a difficult visit more pleasant. It also brings nature into places where it might otherwise not be. In the cities graveyards give a space for nature and a place where we can go and experience it.
First and foremost graveyards are the resting places of our ancestors, but they are also places where we can go not only to visit our ancestors, but also to see nature and gives us some peace in the busy towns and cities and help distress us and hopefully mean it’s longer until we ourselves reside there.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!