We have just had a break in Scarborough, the first time we have been for about thirty years. One of the things that I always meant to do when we used to go regularly was to visit the grave of Anne Bronte.
This time with no little children to entertain and a mist swirling around the Castle it was the perfect day to go. Now, it has to be said that I love a graveyard, the older the better, the more dishevelled and weatherworn the better and the graveyard at St Mary’s church is very old, the graves are extremely ancient, worn by the wild winds and the summer rain and years of bearing witness to the souls that have passed. Of course some of them are heart-wrenching, young men drowned on the sands, young wives dead in childbirth and one absolutely heartbreaking one that was the resting place of a baby son aged one year and six other infant children, too young to even have names it would seem.
I have a rather large collection of gravestone pictures, ghoulish? No I don’t think so I just like the stories that they tell, not only the heartbreak and loss but the passing of years, the long lasting marriages and testaments to lives well lived. All great stuff.
However, in their zeal to sell light refreshments to the visitors the “authorities” in charge of the old church (Church of England) have designated an area of ground for car and coach parking. They have torn out the gravestones, presumably they have deconsecrated the ground, what has happened to the dead I do not know. They have placed gravestones around the walls of this place, in one area they have made what looks for all the world like a children’s maze of old memorials and yes Anne Bronte and her grave companions are in the top of the car park, there is no sort of delineation, no small fence, no pathway to divide the vehicle area from the burial ground. I found this quite upsetting. I know that it can be argued that graveyards are a waste of land that is badly needed for the living, okay – I accept that. I assume that whatever was done with the remains of the departed was done in accordance with whatever rules govern these things but I just simply didn’t like it. I will be cremated as will most of my family and so as you see I am not a “graveyard crank” though as I said I love discovering them but if the graves are there, paid for by the families one assumes and the stones are still standing and not a danger to visitors, I don’t like to see them treated as building blocks or worse still an adventure playground.
What do you think?