Diagonal Daze in St Mary’s Churchyard, Twyford

Charles 5 Comments

Posted by Eleanor Whitby

I was wandering around a churchyard on that one sunny  summer’s day, as you do, and came upon a few really lovely headstones.

The first was surrounded by a burst of colour in a green area of flat memorials in the council owned section – I loved the smooth, pebble like surface and the little indentation which created a bird bath.

I moved round to the church owned section and was taken aback because all the graves were at an angle to the path – obviously positioned to face East, but it created a diagonal vista across the cemetery which I’d never seen before. There must have been a fashion for rough hewn stones as there were several – but I liked this one’s inscription:

” Oh! Call it not death – ‘Tis a holy sleep”

Then I came across the only wooden memorial – cleft from a huge piece of oak. The owner’s name long lost in the ravages of wind and weather – but just look at how  it has dried and stretched and shrunk and cracked, yet still stands tall and proud.


Hiding amongst holly trees,  a prickly barrier against would be intruders to the peace of this long lost grave.

This next one then made me stop still for quite a long while – hand hewn by a loving father? husband? brother? So poignant in its home-madeness – I had to touch it and run my fingers over the clumsy lettering that had been chiselled with such love.


As I made my way out, my eye was drawn to this small headstone set back from the path, almost lost by all the cremation plot markers. The angled words completing my diagonal day. What a wonderful inscription, I resolved to make an effort to be more of a light!


  1. Charles

    Beautiful, Charles. Reminds me of this:

    Woodland Burial

    Don’t lay me in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall,
    Where the dust of ancient bones has spread a dryness over all,
    Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold,
    Little seeds investigate, and tender leaves unfold.
    There, kindly and affectionately plant a native tree,
    To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.
    The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful way
    To build the fine and bountiful from closure and decay,
    To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done
    I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the sun.

    (Pam Ayres)

  2. Charles

    I’m sorry to dissagre with you, Kitty, but this is how murderers victimes are disposed of. I love baloons and windmills, I want a big pink translucent angel over mine with an eternal flame inside.

    1. Charles

      I am fascinated by your point of view, Tiger. I had never before considered the similarity between ‘natural burial’ grounds’ unmarked graves and the unmarked sites of murder victims’ graves. Wow.

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