Fraggle report – Mere Knowles Cemetary – April 2018

There’s nothing better (in mine & Sophie’s opinions) than wandering around cemeteries reading and photographing old graves and monuments.  For us it is history with a personal view, the lives (and mostly deaths!) of real people and sometimes their families, chiselled into headstones.  Names, ages, dates and symbols to be pondered on, sometimes researched (googled 🙂 ) and kept for posterity in digital files, while they crumble away in the graveyards over the years.

We decided a few weekends ago to visit a couple of cemeteries in Sunderland, firstly Grangetown cemetery.  Although we have been there before, we like to go in spring as it has rows of pink-blossom trees through it and we were on our annual blossom-tree hunt!  Unfortunately the blossom had yet to bloom so we didn’t spend long there.  They also have an Angel of Grief so I shot that instead.

The Angel of Grief

The Angel of Grief is an 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story for the grave of his wife Emelyn Story and the original can be found at the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. Its full title bestowed by Mr.Story was The Angel of Grief Weeping Over the Dismantled Altar of Life, a bit of a mouthful, but I think he was probably feeling depressed. He never sculpted again after his Mrs’s death, except for this monument to her. He is quoted as saying “It represents the angel of Grief, in utter abandonment, throwing herself with drooping wings and hidden face over a funeral altar. It represents what I feel. It represents Prostration. Yet to do it helps me.” Better than Prozac then.

The statue has been replicated in many cemeteries across the world, there is even a Flickr group dedicated to them you can visit HERE and the image has also been used in popular culture, such as in an album cover for the band Nightwish’s album Once (2004) and in the 2012 film The Woman in Black.

The one in Sunderland is dedicated to William Frederick Larkin by his wife Carrie.

The angel’s left arm has  been broken off midway up the forarm sadly, which is a great shame, so I photographed her so it didn’t show. I mean, what lady wants her bad bits in photo’s, even if she’s distraught?

I am not sure if they are related but there is also a lovely memorial to a Major Larkin in this cemetary, but I haven’t yet found anything out about him.

We then went to visit Mere Knowles Cemetery as this was a new one to us.  It was opened in  July 1856 due to older cemetaries  becoming overcrowded and a health hazard as a result of the cholera epidemic that swept through Sunderland in the 1830’s.

There isn’t a carpark (that we could find) at the cemetery so we parked in Morrisons supermarket car park where Sophie became enamoured of some trees wrapped in green netting, not sure what they’re being protected from!

Lolipop trees

We walked up to the cemetery through the back way alongside a little stream.

Along the path laid part of a sad little headstone

but plenty of cheery flowers in the grounds




Lonely Girl

The first burial at Mere Knolls cemetery was mariner’s daughter Mary Ann Wood, 19, who was laid to rest at the site on July 4, 1856. There are quite a lot of memorials and one of my favourites, (mosaics being a hobby of mine) was this unusual cross

Well done Barb!

Not sure who Barbara was a good and faithful servant to, probably her husband, different times folks, different times!

There’s are too chapels in the grounds, both very similar so will just show the one

though neither are in use.  In part two we’ll have a look at them in detail as they have some wonderful stone- carved heads to see.

That’s all for now folks, stay tooned for part 2!





55 thoughts on “Fraggle report – Mere Knowles Cemetary – April 2018

  1. I loved this post as I too like to go to cemeteries with my camera. My local is Redhill in Arnold UK. And Rock Cemetery on Mansfield Road in Nottingham UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love cemeteries. Especially old ones. I love walking through them and making up stories about the people who died. What were their lives like? How did they die?
    That angel of grief sculpture is fascinating! And you photos are amazing as always! 🍻💖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to wander around Nunhead Cemetery in London, where my grandparents are buried. It has been ‘left to nature’ in the main now. So I naturally enjoyed your trip here.
    Oh, and ‘faithful servant’ usually refers to being a servant of God, I believe. It is on many old graves.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rather predictably, I’m far more interested in the words than the statuary when I visit a cemetery. It’s good to be made to look at the bits that last the longest.

    The chapel is almost identical to the chapels in my local cemetery, neither of which is used any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad to see my husband and I aren’t the only ones fascinated with graveyards 🙂 Love that shot of the Major’s grave – that sure got my wheels turning. All the rest were gorgeous as well. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved the Angel of Grief – confess I’ve never heard of it, but will keep my eyes open. Larkin must have been quite a lad to be so decorated – and it seems he ended up in the RAF… Cemeteries – so many stories…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The light in the cemetary is just perfect… so gentle and silent that feels as an being from another time. Loved too the lolipop trees, I think in them in a way to say to the trees that their splendor in green is not forgotten. : ) (well, I look it artistic, probably it is functional)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I always wonder about the lives of the people buried in cemeteries. Especially the really old tombstones. What were their lives like? I guess someday someone will be asking that about us… Great photos, Fraggle!

    Liked by 1 person

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