Friday 1 February 2013

And with you in your cold grave, I cannot sleep warm

What do you do on a Friday afternoon, when friends are busy, the housework doesn't appeal, and the sun is shining?

You go to a Victorian cemetery, of course.

Sheffield's General Cemetery was opened in 1836, the year before Queen Victoria's coronation.

This is the Gatehouse.

The wider paving stones either side of the cobbles are for the carriage wheels.

Don't want to jolt the coffin, or the mourners ...

This beautiful lady nestles among the wet leaves, one of the gravestones which have been laid flat to form a path.

I have photos I took of her 25 years ago.

I know I am not alone in loving a graveyard, and this one is really special.

Overgrown, derelict, graffitied, vandalised, wonderful.

This is my first experiment with taking photos of myself using the tripod in a public place. 

It was very quiet, only the occasional passerby or dog walker, so I felt OK, not too conspicuous.

The brambles and mud played havoc with my skirt. 

Like many a lady before me, no doubt, I had to raise my skirt and pick my way through the obstacles.

Steps up to the Egyptian-style Non Conformist Chapel.

This cemetery was the first in England to be built in the Egyptian style, popular at the time.

Boarded up, spray-painted, the Chapel apparently has vaults and catacombs with a sunken driveway underneath.

1970s Co-op maxi skirt - vintage fair
Velvet jacket, leather bag and sequin beret - charity shoppped
Boots - Ebay
Scarf - flea market
Brooch - car boot 
Leather gloves - gift

There are so many details to catch your eye and make you want to linger.

I did linger. I love graveyards.

Relative of Joe or Jarvis?

Mark Firth, steel manufacturer. 

Shades of Ozymandias...

A man walking past as I took pictures of this statue remarked that she must be the most photgraphed lady in Sheffield. 

She is so beautiful, I can believe it.

Apart from me, of course...

The church is sadly in disrepair and boarded up.

The cemetery's Trust has a website, which says that although burial of the dead was clearly a priority,
it also wanted to be a sanctuary for the living.

A place for the living to meet, walk and talk, with sweeping vistas and inspiring architecture.

There are so many interesting gravestones to read, but this one caught my eye.

Poor Lydia and James, they lost 2 little boys, Theon and Sydney, at age 5 and 6, then their wonderfully named daughter Kate Juno at 22.

Death was a constant companion.

As I was walking around the cemetery, I had this song on my internal jukebox. 

Kate Rusby is a South Yorkshire lass, from Penistone. I have seen her play live, and she is gorgeous, very talented, and a delightful woman.

This Youtube clip uses images from the BBC production of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

Some doom-laden Hardy seems perfectly in tune with a post about a Victorian cemetery!

Have a fabulous weekend, my friends!



Connie said...

Oh Curtise. So beautiful. I love graveyards, too. You look like a lovely Victorian ghost wandering around. I get very romantic about times past but tis true. People were dropping dead left and right. Yikes!

freckleface said...

I love graveyards too, whether they are attached to small country churches, or whether they are large city-based spaces where you can just mooch and meander. I love to read the names and work out the ages, and sometimes they tell a bit of a story too. That was a great way to spend your afternoon.

I am so impressed that you set up your tripod and took those photos. Such bravery, you're an inspiration! xxx

Anonymous said...

Amazing statuesque beauty! You of course. ;)
I love old cemeteries too. They are few and far between in this country as you can guess, but there are some worth visiting here and there. The more overgrown the better. You have a lovely reflective and pondering look to you today. I wish I could have spent the day with you!

thorne garnet said...

Beautiful, you've inspired me to wander over to our city cemetery in spring and take some photos( it's a street over). You can tell a lot about a city by walking through the cemetery, lots and lots of history.

Louise Mc said...

What a beautiful backdrop you've chosen, so much history and it's just gorgeous. I love cemetaries too, well old ones like this, makes me want to go to our local cemetry too. Kate Rusby is great, we saw her live a couple of years ago and it was a great show. X

Sarah Jane said...

"Look on my works ye mighty and despair". This has got to be my favourite post of yours ever! I am in heaven with these stunning pictures of uneven cobblestones, headless maidens and the beautiful lady of the sunken stone. The thought of long abandoned underground vaults makes my heart sing! If I ever visit Sheffield this will be one of the first places I visit. Thank you for sharing this exquisite post xxxxxx

Kylie said...

I love this post Curtise, it's one of my most favourite's of yours ever! (so far) Please get out and about with your camera more often. I just kept looking and looking. I would love to see your 25 year old stone lady pics for comparison x

p.s. love your paisley skirt too.

Patti said...

I love this post too - so evocative, so many lives there! I love to walk the Boston graveyards (Florida is too new to have interesting ones) and read the stones.

Willow said...

What an absolutely gorgeous graveyard, how much I would have loved to visit one like that! I love visiting cemeteries and thinking of the stories of the people that rest there. Although I have never seen gravestones as stunning as those!

How awful for Lydia and James! I was saw a two gravestones - a father and daughter, the daughter was about 8 months old, and the father died a couple of weeks after she did. Also a family that had a son who died at 2, then they obviously had kept having children, who would die when they were a baby, they had a daughter and called her ruby, who died, then another daughter called ruby, who also died. Lost 5 children - how devastating.

Becky said...

Very interesting graveyard, so many different lives-- I get a bit morbid in them... You look gorgeous in the maxi and velvet coat and I love the red leather purse :)

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Wondrously melancholy and altogether gorgeous! Glorious stonework, grand mossy trees, and lady-of-the-leaves, dear beautiful you. xoxo

two squirrels said...

Oh Miss Curtise I wish I was with you, I just love wandering around old grave-yards!!!!! This one is amazing,the lady in the path just took my breath away. The way she is lying in the stones and the irony that the path we are all on, will always lead us to a graveyard.
What wonderful photographs, you did so well with the tri-pod.
Love all the moss, leaves and tree lined paths.
Of course you look just lovely in that amazing skirt, the paisley is fabulous.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Love V

bonsaimum said...

Great outfit and great post. Graveyards are wonderful, so full of history.It is sad that a lot of the graveyard and church etc has been let go. So much beautiful stonework. I love the photo's. :)

mispapelicos said...

There si always something magical about English cemeteries.
You are looking gloeious, my dear Curtise.
Enjoy de sunny weekend.

Trees said...

Thanks so much for sharing these photos, as a history geek, I always love cemeteries. I love the look of this very Victoria cemetery. Also - I love your sparkly beret!

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

What a dramatic place. It looks amazing. The lady in the path is exquisite under her leaf blanket. Your paisley skirt suits the surroundings perfectly! x

Rachel said...

This was a lovely post to start my weekend with! Echoing the earlier comment, this is my favourite post of yours ever. I gasped when I saw the entrance as it looks so much like the one in my fair city more southwesterly, I think you should come down and see it on another day! :-)

Beautiful rich colours in your outfit too, purple and red is such a nice combo.

Melanie said...

I love cemeteries too, but must say that I don't like grave markers being used as 'paving slabs', it makes me uneasy to step on them. I won't even walk across someone's grave when on grass, I have to skirt around carefully. Cemeteries are such peaceful places, I can spend hours in them.

Vix said...

What an amazing post, Curtise, I loved it!
I love graveyards so much, thanks for allowing us to share yours.
What a beautiful space and an even more beautiful model wandering around the headstones. Despite being an out and out atheist I'm always sad when I see an ancient church boarded up and unloved like that one.
I'm going to have to call my next cat Juno. xxxxxxx

Unknown said...

What a cool way to spend the day. I love that gorgeous purple jacket your wearing and that stunning maxi skirt. So pretty.

elodie g said...

I've never been there but I really want to now! I remember a few years ago, when we were looking for a house to rent, the guardian's house was to let. Part of the rental contract was a clause that said you had to open and shut the cemetery gate everyday! I am much happier on Argyle Road!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, what truly beautiful photos, Curtise, I so feel like lingering too, and perhaps lifting my skirts to sit on some crumbling bench reading Shelley, or Keats, until the light fades .... It's both intriguing and sad that the buildings are so derelict. You've reminded me that there's a graveyard closeby that I haven't explored yet. Maybe you'll start a trend! Xo

Unknown said...

Ooh I loooove this! You look absolutely beautiful - the skirt and jacket are PERFECT on you. And I love these photos - some of these graves are older than my country! The details are marvellous - and I do hope poor Lydia and James had some happiness to counter such terrible loss!

Sarah xxx

Krista said...

Why some of the coolest things I saw in the UK were these old cemeteries! I'm impressed with this one and all there is to see if you just take the time to look. You are a beautiful brave blogger venturing out like this, I'm very impressed! I think this maxi skirt is gorgeous and I bet all the spirits appreciated you looking so nice. Thanks for taking us along Curtise!

Kaffesoester said...

One day I'll have to come and visit your part of England - it's so pretty! This cemetery is very dramatic and so incredibly beautiful! Also, what a brilliant idea for a first place to take photos of yourself - I haven't done that in front of strangers yet. I think I'll try our local cemetery.

Your outfit is gorgeous - the skirt is absolutely a favorite of mine!

Fiona said...

Brilliant post Curtise and top marks for being brave enough to snap yourself in a public place. How very interesting to read all about this cemetary and I agree with Vix that it is sad the church has fallen into disrepair and no longer in use. Some stunning photo's here, love all the detail on the gravestones and the stone heads on the cornicing. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

What an enthralling place Sheffield Cemetery looks; how sad that the church is now neglected.
Romantic outfit for a very romantic place.

Monica - Colour makes people said...

Oh my, Im lost for words, such an incredible beautiful cemetery!! I would have felt quite at home there strolling about in a fantastic frock like yours!! :) oh and Tess is my heroine, I adore and love her!! My tears well up everytime I watch that costume drama. :)

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

I am mad for graveyards and love, love, love your beautiful photos of this one, as well as your gorgeous public style pics. I'm sure the spirits of the dead enjoyed having a lively living woman stirring the pots a bit ;P

Anonymous said...

You are the most gorgeous lady in Sheffield!
Thank you for sharing this fabulous graveyard!! It's AMAZING!!!!
I absolutely adore graveyards!! I love reading the inscriptions and wondering about the people.
My greatgrandmother Annie used to take me to the cemetary and tell me stories about those who were buried there. Like the two little boys who were struck by lightening while pulling their little red wagon in.the 1930s or the family who died when the Christmas tree caught on fire in the 1920s. Good times!!!

Helga said...

I love Thomas Hardy, I love graveyards and I love your outfit!!!
Indeed, YOU are the most gorgeous lady in Sheffield, thank you very much!That lady doesn't even have a pulse! You have the most magnificent cemetaries over there. Ours just aren't as awesome. I spent many Gothy days and nights hanging in cemetaries in Sydney, tring to be uber Goth!!!There is a great one in Waverley, a southern Sydney suburb, that is situated above the sea, and once I came upon some people having a pagan ceremony there!
That skirt is frigging heavenly!

Anonymous said...

Cemeteries are so interesting, and your pictures are really, really good. I'm sure you were spoiled for choice when taking pics. And you have daffodils already!

My husband's old girlfriend lived in Sheffield, but I haven't seen much of it.

And I adore your red and purple paisley skirt - wow!

CityScape Skybaby said...

Such beautiful pics Curtise, I love the one of the lady hidden among the leaves, I couldn't see her at first. Graveyards are so peaceful even though it's sad to look at the graves of people who died far too young. You look lovely in this post too, I can just imagine you holding your skirt picking your way through the muddy bits like a Bathsheba or Tess. xx

Anonymous said...

I love this post, so haunting and evocative!The cemetery is always a peaceful place where spending a relaxing time watching beautiful sculptures and gravestones.
I love your black and white photo,is so professional and the skirt you are wearing is stunning!!
Love xxxxxx

Flora Cruft said...

what a wonderful post, those photos of the cemetary eerie and beautiful. What a beautiful outfit you're wearing, matching the haunting grandeur of the place.

Forest City Fashionista said...

What an awesome post!! I am a huge fan of old graveyards, and spent a few happy hours wandering through Highgate Cemetery in London during my visits to England years ago. The graveyards in Paris have stunning monuments. I love the rich colours of your outfit against all the grey and moss-covered stone. Purple and red - colours that are very much alive! I loved that song when I first heard it sung by Sinead O'Connor.

carrievintage said...

stunning pics!

Rachel said...

P.S. I linked to ths post today, hope that's ok? Xx

Sheila said...

I love cemeteries - we have a couple of late 19th century ones here that I like to explore. Thank you for the lovely pictures! You look amazing amongst the greens and greys in your purple.

Miss Simmonds Says said...

Wonderful Curtise!! I love graveyards and this post is fantastic, you've taken some wonderful photos. The lady sleeping in the leaves is beautiful. Your skirt is stunning!! And you look suitably romantic. Though not a tragic Hardy heroine. Xxx

Jean at said...

I have to bookmark this post, so extraordinary. Your photos are beautiful!!! I MUST see this place before I die. It's amazing. I almost hurt it's so evocative .

Your outfit is lovely as well, and the pics of you and your spots of humorous commentary kept me from getting lost in delicious melancholy. THANK YOU!!!!

The Style Crone said...

The beauty of this post! Every photo tells a story and your contemplative expressions fit with the mood of your afternoon in the Victorian Cemetery. The colors in you ensemble are a gorgeous contrast amidst the grandeur.

Unknown said...

Wow girl this is an brilliant post!
I love graveyards - The best one i have seen is in Halifax where they have the Titanics victims buried in the old Halifax graveyard -
Beautiful shots, thank you!
I love your maxi with the jacket
You look great on the pics, you got the light right, so much easier to take pics outside, you did an excellent job, so impress!

Diane said...

We nearly went to do the tour on Sunday but ran out of time - its on the list to do this year though. It is a truly fascinating place - every extravagant stone telling someones life story. A brilliant place. And your outfit looks fab xxxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Curtise, I know I've already commented once but I haven't completely lost it...I was wondering if you would be able to dig out the old photos of the lady so we could see what she was like then? Thought it might be interesting. xx

Dawn said...

Curtise you did a wonderful job with photos, especially the ones of yourself. Really enjoyed this!! You look so comfy and relaxed in this environment. Seemed peaceful and beautiful there...did you stay past dark???? Hahaha. Great to see you. admirably, dawn suitcase vignettes xo

Tamera Beardsley said...

Such an amazing post my dear! I too love a cemeteries, but the ones here in the States don't even compare to what you have there! My favorite ever was in Saint Andrew's could just FEEL it.

Kudos for you also for your wild tripod skills...and in public. I do think I truly must spend some time learning with mine.... I actually enjoy shooting myself better than having others involved :)

Thanks for such an inspiring post dear Curtise!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Is it ghoulish of me to tell my kids that I want my grave to look exactly like the lady on the path with the leaves? I would want made-to-order Victorian ruins too, plus Insta-Moss and Crypts-to-Order onsite. Not too much to ask for is it? That's what I would consider a "decent burial" ;). I'm sure that man was talking about you ... I mean, look at you looking so beautiful in your sequinned beret, purple leather gloves and glory-be, the maxi!! I love maxis when I can delicately lift my skirts and step over the muck, but they're not so fun when I parked on our very steep driveway dragging 14 bags of shopping up the front steps. I always think to myself, "now back in the day they didn't have elastic knicker-legs to tuck their skirts into, so how did they move?" Kate's video is beautiful, what a voice! And then Stevie Nicks sang "Sarah" - yay!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed this post it was so full of peace, beauty and love. I would love to have been able to moouch in and about that old chapel and find the hidden areas below. It looks like an amazing place so many beautiful headtsones and cravings to we dont have anything like this here. thank you for sharing, dee xxx

Vicky Hayes said...

Gorgeous photos Curtise - of you and of the atmospheric graveyard. Vicky x

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

Stunning outfit Curtise, really beautiful. Take your tripod out more often for us!

I love an old graveyard, could spend ages in them, there are a few good ones locally.

Vintage Coconut said...

That graveyard is beautiful, almost enchanting in a sad sort of way. My friend and I used to visit a old graveyard we have here, until weird things started to happen. I suppose some of the "occupants" recognized us and decided to have a little fun with our heads. (We STOPPED visiting quite quickly) after one afternoon when we were leaving and just sat down in the vehicle when something banged loudly windsheild... there was NOTHING around us.. "That we could see anyhow" We sped off so fast screaming and almost in tears. *EAAAAK* So be careful.... someone could follow you home.

Nikki @ Penelope Cat Vintage said...

What a stunning cemetery! So many details, I could wander for hours.

You look gorgeous too and the maxi is incredible!


Mrs. D said...

Lovely post. I too like visiting old cemeteries. So much beauty and peace to be absorbed.
The song is beautiful. I also love the Dead Can Dance version -


Greenorchid said...

Great post! graveyards, trees, vintage clothing and a hauntingly beautiful song fab... thanks for carrying that tripod... Smiles Cass