Posts Tagged ‘Grave’

Dalkeith, Lothian, Scotland has been given mention in vampiric tales thanks to a murder trial that left James Spalding going to the gallows in 1638, convicted of murder. The story goes that he prayed he would not die until he had found a way to reconcile with God. He did not die at the scaffolding and instead was buried alive.

The results was ‘a rumbling and tumbling in his grave that the very earth was raised’. It is also said that his former house is still haunted after he rose from the grave and crawled back to town.

Additional bits? Well it seems that the source of the story is not vampiric, although mentioned on the History Channels Vampire Secrets series… the source comes from ‘Satan’s Invisible World’ published in 1685 by a gent named George Sinclair and whilst it mentions him coming back as a ghost it does not mention anything about a physical body rising from the grave.

Whilst the story may have adapted or been changed the basis of this one seems more with the other plane than it does with earthly risings.

Another blog on the matter.


Vampire Secrets” by Derived from a digital capture (photo/scan) of the VHS or DVD Cover (creator of this digital version is irrelevant as the copyright in all equivalent images is still held by the same party). Copyright held by the film company or the artist. Claimed as fair use regardless.. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Warning – fairly lengthy post for me!

London was and remains a large scale part of English history, past and future. During the pre-Victorian and through the Victorian period finding a place to bury the dead was no easy task. London’s capital for instance had doubled in a short space, with it came the dead and more need to inter them.

Finding a cemetery that could be used for the purpose could be just as difficult as picking a first home. Cemetery space was at a prime, people needed the space and bodies were left in terrible states around the capital city. Regularly graves were desecrated and re-used, disinterred bones were left scattered across grounds. It wasn’t just cemeteries either but the results of this terrible lack of organisation meant that there was a great deal of risk for disease with the material from decomposing bodies entering drinking wells and springs.

1848-1849 saw a cholera outbreak that killed nearly 15,000 Londoners and made it very obvious that there was a drastic need to sort the situation out. A brilliant description of some of the problems was documented by G A Walker in his Gatherings from Graveyards, I have been very lucky to obtain a copy and if I get chance will scan some pages in at later date.

In 1849 Sir Richard Broun came up with an answer, he proposed buying a large area of land to build a massive cemetery. The 2,000 acre plot would be his Necropolis and at a distance of 25 miles from London posed little to no risk of seeing the same issue arise. He proposed that the railway line from Waterloo to Southampton could offer a way to transport coffins and mourners alike…

The idea of a railway link to rural cemeteries had been thought about before he presented his ideas but not everyone seemed convinced, the clamour and bustle of a train would detract from the dignified Christian funeral. Also would it not be somewhat offensive to have a body in a coffin on a train where the family and friends were already suffering, and then treat like some form of conveyor  belt affair?

The idea of rail travel was still a new thing anyway, but Waterloo line was completed 1848 and the first Necropolis Station came along six years after that. In June 1852 an Act of Parliament was passed which created The London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company, it was later shortened to The London Necropolis Company. London & South Western Railway were the partner’s and they estimated £40,000 a year from it. It was decided however that the trains used would have to be a separate service, it was not a good idea to put a funeral party near mainstream passenger services and potentially drive away both.

There was another concern about how the varying religions and classes would be addressed using the service and so there were two stations. One served the conformist area on the sunny south side and the other served the non-conformists on the chilly north side. The class tickets also came into play, the dead were also split into the classes too.

Brookwood Cemetery grounds were consecrated 7th November 1854, six days later the world’s first funeral train was ready to go. The York Street terminus was restricting its passenger services, and if the company was going to expand it needed Waterloo and to demolish York Street terminus. A long period of negotiations went on and the London Necropolis was persuaded to give up it’s York Street post for a replacement 999-year lease, low rent and compensation along with a new supply train with return tickets for the mourners to use on the SWR more expensive trains at their own low cost.

The Act of Parliament meant the tickets prices for the Funerary side were fixed until 1939, Golfer’s going to nearby West Hill Golf Club would take advantage by dressing up as mourners. The remains of a rough footpath are still seen at the cemetery, it’s suggested the cheapskate golfers caused it. So far the history of the Funeral Rail service looked promising however in October 1900 the Necropolis Railway dropped Sunday services from it’s timetable and the trains went into decline until they ran once or twice a week. Finally the new motor hearse posed a new threat but this did not cause the end of its days, the German Luftwaffe did.

Bombs, April 16th 1941 was one of the worst nights of the London Blitz. The Necropolis train was berthed and did not escape, the area was levelled and only the platforms remained. It would have been too expensive it replace it and although the Necropolis Service ended in 1941 there is some evidence coffins were conveyed to Brookwood by rail into the 1950’s.

Sir Richard Francis Burton

A British explorer, translator, writer, soldier and so very much more. He had an amazing life in reality. He has a great history which you can easily get from a google search but the bit I liked was his grave.

Burton died in Trieste in the early hours of the morning of the 20th October 1890, he had suffered a heart attack. His wife never recovered from the loss and after his death it is reported that she burned many of his papers.

One of those she burned was a book due to be published “The Scented Garden”, Isabel claimed her actions were guided by her husbands spirit but others condemned the actions.

The tomb is remarkable, it is in the shape of a Bedouin tent at Mortlake in Southwest London.

Find A Grave Entry 

Sports day anyone?

I love curious things, I love odd and possibly crazy ideas made real so this is on my list of fun things! So how about the Annual Coffin Race?

The Emma Crawford Annual Coffin Race, takes place in somewhere called Manitou Springs and the chances are most people passing by this post won’t have heard of the place, well that is unless you like creepy things like haunted hotels etc.  For a good review of this I found this – Click here

 Manchester Mummy 

So previously I had mentioned a Carny Mummy so I figured what the hell I am English and from Lanacashire, I’ll add Hannah Beswick to the list, not to mention it keeps in with the theme of the dead.

Hannah supposedly left express instructions in her well that upon her death she would want her body regularly checked for signs of life. To make this easier her doctor has her placed inside a hollow grandfather clock for easy viewing. She was apparently buried 110 years after on 22nd July 1868.

A light in the dark…

From running coffins and obscure displays I move to the curious and very original looking grave of Sal Giardino’s grave.

Sal’s grave is an ode to his profession and the fact that he loved his job. Sadly taken before his time due to cancer Sal’s daughter collaborated on the ode to his life and work.

It started with a 75 pence purchase on ebay… a memorium card.

Inside the card I had her name, Alice C Lockton, the daughter of Mr & Mrs J E Mousley. She died in Paris in 1926 on August 20th at the young age of 39. All I had was a card and the chance of finding her listed at Welford Road Cemetery in Leicester, England.

Welford Road Cemetery is one of the typical Victorian cemeteries, sadly whilst many of the graves and the area itself has survived the original buildings no longer do. It is the 3rd oldest cemetery in the country and is still in use. It is a Listed Grade 2 English Heritage site for Parks and Gardens, and covers an impressive 31 acres.

The Friends Of Welford Road Cemetery proved to be absolutely amazing at assisting me, they gave me everything I needed to find the area I was looking for.

At the furthest away walk from the cemetery tucked up amongst other headstones sat Joseph Lockton who died 16th November 1918. The sad fact is the son of John Lockton died of pneumonia following wounds (gas) at the young age of 31.  He has a listed war grave memorial and in the same plot sits Alice Charlotte Lockton, his wife.

At first we had thought she wasn’t listed, I was content that we had at least found a trace to the little e-bay purchase but then as we moved away Alice had one last present to share.

Her grave was nearly missed as I had been so sure that my journey to find her had ended there but here it is. All I know is that Alice Charlotte Lockton died in Paris, August 20th 1926 and was brought back to England to be near her husband.

I wish I could have found out more about her life, I know that she married a gunner and that he died not long after the end of the war. If anyone ever does come across my post and could offer the information I would love to know more. All I have is a little piece of paper in my study but it is a reminder that someone out there lost a husband to a war, died in Paris but was returned to England and now sits part of the beautiful cemetery of Welford Road.

Here are the links to the Memorial information I could find: Announcements and Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry.

I also hope you enjoyed my little road trip find as much as I did going out to find it.

Thank you