Grave(yard) news

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Entrance sign; I had to pull out a few weeds to make it semi-legible.

Two things today- news of a project I’m considering developing and a few photos from a graveyard. First the project: I’m considering writing a Keeper’s Guide to Graveyards (particularly those of Lovecraft Country). It would cover topics like history, layout, gravestones and symbols, maintenance and upkeep, and perhaps funerary practices. It would also give expanded notes about the various graveyards in Lovecraft Country, from the Old Wooded Graveyard in Arkham to Dunwich’s pickled Bishops as well as Mythos beasties and cults that frequent our burial places. At this point I’ve not found an interested publisher (and don’t want to go the monograph route), so I might self publish as a PDF, look at other licensees, etc. I’m curious what my readership (all 6 of you) think about such a book. I’d rather not post about it to Yog-sothoth.com until it is a little more concrete.

After the break, my visit to Spring Hill Cemetery…

With summer here, I’ve been dragging my homunculus to assorted burying grounds in central Massachusetts, hoping to finally square away those places I have not been to yet. You can keep up (in a very limited way) with these adventures via my google maps. The homunculus has been most efficacious in warding off ghouls, wamps, and other charnel evils, happily.

While running errands of a more mundane sort, she and I found ourselves in the vicinity of Marlborough (definite not flavor county) and, with a little time on our hands, I decided we should pay a visit to Spring Hill Cemetery there. Founded in 1675, it is one of the oldest yards in the region (though not in Worcester County, it is just over the line into Middlesex Co.) and, for some reason, I had never been before.

After a bit of searching (and talking to one lady who was confused as to why I was sitting in her driveway looking at my gps), I found the entrance just off High Street. Parking was (residential street) very limited, but I found a spot and began to make the hike up the semi-paved hillside that makes up the entrance.

Spring Hill Cemetery is, oddly enough, a hill-top cemetery, as was the custom in the early Colonial period. It was just outside the original settlement, on non-arable land (i.e. a hill); nearly all graves date from the era after Marlborough was resettled after it was destroyed during King Philip’s War though at least one (a replica?) gives a date of 1675. The oldest graves tend towards the south-western section of the yard, but they are relatively scattered about. The whole of the lot is surrounded by homes, but a screen of trees mostly obscures them. There was some evidence of vandalism (at least one gravestone had been spraypainted and cleaned, but for the most part the condition of the stones was decent. A ground crew was present while were there there, mostly having a smoke break and wonder who the weirdo was with the baby.

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A view of part of the yard, facing the northern corner near the southern wall.

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Enclosed gravestone of Increase Ward (d. 1690). This is a good example of a ‘field stone’; rough inscription, no ornamentation.

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Detail of the gravestone of John Barns (d. 1785). Two ‘soul effigies’ on one stone is uncommon.

The Farber collection has the whole stone here.

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Detail of Samuel Stow gravestone. Sorry about the bird poo.

See whole stone at Farber.

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Ward Hutchinson gravestone, set in a boulder. Not sure if this is a replica. “Killed by treacherous Indians”

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Another field stone, this one for Mary Sawyer, “who rested from her work and in the fiftieth year of her age, 1702” (I think). I included this photo to illustrate the value of looking at faded inscriptions at an angle. Face on this one was almost illegible.

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The Faber Collection has a number of images of other Marlborough stones (though they don’t specific which of three Marlborough graveyards they come from, so caveat observator).

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2 comments on “Grave(yard) news

  1. emjaymedwick says:

    [[“At this point I’ve not found an interested publisher (and don’t want to go the monograph route), so I might self publish as a PDF, look at other licensees, etc. I’m curious what my readership (all 6 of you) think about such a book.”]]

    I can’t speak authoritatively for the commercial viability of the book if it is going to be geared specifically to the CoC community. Certainly there will be interested rpg enthusiasts out there — myself included — but I don’t know if you will recoup your investment of time and capital if that’s important to you. On the other hand, there ARE presses interested in just this “local interest” sort of thing (I can think of Rutgers University’s books on New Jersey history, for example) that might be able to market it to a more generalized audience if you’re willing to go that route. The fact that you’re doing the research, fieldwork and taking photographs might go some way towards engaging a small press that specializes in local history.

    If it is to be principally a labor of love rather than a commercial venture, I’d say go ahead with it. I, for one, would be a customer.

  2. RAFIV says:

    Wonderful photographs.

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