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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

St James' Graveyard and Dickens

  St James' Church, Cooling is well known for its association with Dickens who lived in a nearby village. It is believed that he used the graveyard of the church as inspiration for the opening of his book 'Great Expectations'

'Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things, seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain, that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried.'

Within the graveyard is this grave of 13 children of two families whose ages ranged from 1 month to one year and a half.  Erosion has meant that there is no longer an insciption on the headstone but it is thought the children died in the late 18th cent. The graves are now known as 'Pip's graves' from the reference in the book

'To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long which were arranged in a neat row beside their (parents')grave, and were sacred to the memory of five little brothers of mine -- who gave up trying to get a living, exceedingly early in that universal struggle' --



  1. Ah---I always hate seeing all of the grave markers of little children.. When we visit the old cemeteries in the Smokies, there are always many graves of very young children. Sad!

    Interesting history.. Thanks!

  2. It's so sad that so many children in the past died so young! Modern life and medicines have improved life so much.

  3. That last image is haunting - would be a good picture to use to get people to think about progress and what it means to us.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  4. Those small headstones at the foot of the lozenge are also children's graves from what I am told.

  5. Sad, they live such short lives.

  6. Interesting post ! Sad that the children died at such an early age. But in 1800 it happened so often. The last picture is so emotional !

  7. Such old gravestones and an interesting link to Dickens. Early death was common then . It must have been wretched for the mothers.

  8. How sad to see those tiny graves!

  9. Interesting place! And has some history behind it as well.


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