Charles Cowling

Once the principal place of worship for Portlanders, who trekked here from earliest times from all parts of the island, St Andrew’s church was severely damaged by a landslip in 1675, but only finally abandoned in the mid-eighteenth century. In its ruined graveyard some of the headstones and monuments bear the skull-and-crossbones motif, a customary memento mori. Portlanders do not see them in this way. So far as they are concerned, these are the graves of pirates. They call this Pirates’ Graveyard and, in their genially pig-headed way, will hear of no other interpretation.




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