Friday, 17 August 2012

Thomas Markham - 1686

Monuments often say something about the person interred. That ‘something’ can be inherent in the stone of the monument, the location of the monument within the cemetery,the style of the monument or even what is not declared. The monument speaks at a number of levels and about a range of issues and we have to strain our ears to hear the echoes of other peoples lives

"Hidden in plain sight"
© Godric Godricson

Whilst it is always possible to go nuts about the baroque monuments of great Churches and Cathedrals, it is less so with the vernacular monuments and inscriptions of lesser places and more obscure people. The personal moments of everyday lives are not always carried into the future with size, instead they have sometimes been preserved by the small and the insignificant. We are compelled to read and re-read the signs and symbols to try and perceive something about our ancestors. In an effort to read the past we have to understand that the simple things in life are not always easy to understand.

The small messages of this monument are fascinating to me. The fragmented piece of broken stone is set as a jaunty angle into a rudimentary brick context. The rough brickwork is covered in cobwebs and hidden in full view of the world amongst the larger monuments the. The fragment is actually facing a bus stop and people waiting for a bus must see it every day without noticing or thinking of removing the stone.

I am not going to say where this monument is because I think it is regrettably easy to carry away this fragment of a  lost life and I very much want to keep it safe. The little piece of stone with a dead name rudely inscribed on it carries something of the man into the future. Although the stone is on a tomb to which it does not appear to belong; we can believe that someone in the past understood an association between the man and the tomb on which it is set and we must respect the integrity of that connection.

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