In this blog’s About tab, I say that I rarely set out to present narrative images, that is to say pictures or series of pictures that tell a story or have hidden meanings.  Instead, I mainly try to create images that stand or fall on their pictorial or graphic content alone.  This image is an exception.

Where was this taken?  Well, I was in the cemetery of the church of St Mary The Virgin, in the little village of Stanton Drew, which is just south of Bristol.  Wandering in this always delightfully tranquil churchyard, I found this and at once fell in love with it.  It is an epitaph that, by saying so little, says so much.

What is here?  Well, we have the name of a lady who died just short of a hundred years of age.  We have her dates but, beyond them, nothing precise.  I tried her name on google, but only arrived at a photo of this gravestone.  But so much more can be read from this – conjecture certainly, but this is how it seems to me.

She just missed her century but not much else – wonderful!  To me this is a straightforward, humorous and succinct tribute to a local character.  An old lady, a spinster perhaps, living alone in the village probably.  Someone who, although old,  had her wits still very much about her, with a great thirst and curiosity to stay in touch with everything that was going on around her.  OK, maybe thriving on local gossip, maybe not, but in any case an alert and lively personality, full of conversation – and, as we Brits say, it wouldn’t have been easy to “pull the wool over her eyes”, that is, to fool or misguide her.

Had she lived in Stanton Drew for all of her long life?  Maybe not, because there is no one else, living or dead, mentioned on the stone.

She just missed her century but not much else – in what spirit were these words said?  Maliciously?  I very much doubt it.  Rather, there is good friendship here, with maybe a flavour of Somerset, and more certainly with an old friend’s warm sense of humour.

So, however brief these words are, they are wonderfully eloquent.  They are the celebration of a person.

A little time back, I found another moving tribute in a cemetery – you can find that here.

X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; 7 June 2016.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

8 Responses to PEOPLE 224 – A LOCAL CHARACTER

  1. bluebrightly says:

    Really lovely. Cemeteries can be great places for discoveries. Well done – her epitaph and your posting.


  2. krikitarts says:

    Both tributes are obviously heartfelt and very touching. Heavy thoughts ensue. I hope I go first, as I can’t imagine life alone. If I do, I wonder what sort of epitaph she will leave for me. I hope it will make passersby smile (no, laugh!) as well.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Gary, my friend, thank you for these heartfelt words, I very much appreciate your candour. I’ve had periods of life alone and been fine – but of course I was younger and maybe more resilient then. Although, having said that, I sometimes feel a greater resilience these days – we never know quite how we are until we are put to the test, I suppose.

      I chose these two epitaphs for posts as I feel them eminently heartfelt – and original too. Its all too easy, especially in times of grief, to reiterate what many other gravestones say – I know, I’ve done it. I hope your epitaph will be humorous, to me there’s so much more in that. And the ultimate extension of that may be the comedian Spike Milligan’s stone, which is simply “I told you I was ill!” – a truly wonderful man.

      If all goes to plan I won’t have any epitaph on stone, I’ll simply be scattered out on the Somerset Levels, on the track south from the Magic Carpark, where the tractors, cows, photographers and birdwatchers will grind me ever further into the land. And with rising sea levels, its just a matter of time before the tide rolls in across these Levels as it once did – but not being able to swim probably won’t be an issue by then! 😉 Very good talking with you, my friend. A


  3. Sue says:

    Sounds like she had plenty of life in her years, as well as years in her life!


  4. lyart says:

    this is such a great post, thx


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