Over the Lethe and far away

St Mary-at-Lambeth church now hosts a garden museum which (as I visited today during lunch) I hadn’t time to look at. The grounds were pretty though, and felt like spring – and had some interesting graves in them.

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There was this huge C18 tomb with an urn with a meander round it and coiled round with a snake. It has quite a detailed family tree, and appears that the husband and two childrens names were added all together. The poem seems to act as a break between his wife, whose inscription is carved in a distinctly different style. Perhaps she ordered the stone and left space for her own name? And what explains the space left after – unfilled?

Snake urn

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This is also an inscription of similar date on another ‘family tomb’. The rest of the faces have been weathered away and this is obviously a restoration. Wax chandling must have been a successful business to have paid for the memorial. Notably there is no more detailed reference than family to the other people it commemorates.

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I thought this memorial was a bit of a cheeky attempt to ensure that the terms of the bequest were publicly known – and existed only as long as the memorial (detailing the terms) was maintained!

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The path had stones which had obviously been re-used, some were graves but there were also a couple of oddities showing where usage had worn them. Not sure what they used to be.

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Finally, this memento mori caught my eye as just a lovely thing in its own right.

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Oddly, although I work virtually on the north bank of the Thames and regularly walk at lunchtime, and although I’ve worked there for four years, yesterday was the first time that I took the metaphorical plunge to cross over.

It’s not much of a barrier – 6 minutes was plenty to cross at Lambeth Bridge – but it does make me wonder if the academics who argue that natural features make natural territorial barriers are right. Either way, I hurried to get back to my desk in time.

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