Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Antonius Grech-Delicata-Testaferrata

Clergy and aristocrats in Gozo

The Theatre of death in Malta

The theatre of death at
The Cathedral of The Assumption - Gozo
I was in Malta again recently and had some time in Gozo which is the smaller island off the coast of the main island of Malta. The island of Gozo is green and pleasant and less frantic than the larger island. The houses are further apart and have a rural atmosphere compared to the other place. Gozo is interesting if you have the time to visit the place. More often as not tourists spend a day on Gozo before hurrying back on the last ferry.

Gozo has a unique atmosphere and the the capital of Victoria or Rabat (you take your pick as with many other Maltese towns) is a place of small shops, sometimes bad tea and the Cathedral that sits on the heights above the market square. The walls of the citadel are intimidating and as intended. The masonry was always there to ensure that the locals knew who was in charge and that invaders were aware of the outcome of any attack. Even now the ascent to the citadel is difficult on foot and you have to stop and catch your breath in the last sun of the year when the sun was unseasonably strong.

The citadel (built on the site of a Roman temple)  was hot and dry and bathed in sun and yet the Cathedral frowned down upon anyone who made it into the square and shelled out the 6 Euros to go inside. I resent paying the Roman catholic Church anything at all. The congregations are often complicit in assaults carried out upon children and many of the clergy (although not all) are aware of child abusers and are aware of those who have 'got away with it'. The light, air and beauty of this hilltop covered in stone is damaged by the Cathedral which has a monumentally dark energy. The larger than life statues of Popes on the steps ensures that a feeling of power and monumentality is created. This is Roman Catholicism in large scale and in a sort of funny farm baroque way. The site is harmed by the building and it gets worse as you go inside.

Death as an object of fear and veneration
The interior of the Cathedral embodies the sort of melancholy I have mentioned on this blog previously. The darkness of the interior is evident as the tourist is drawn inside towards the tombs in what is a small and rather insignificant building. The floor is the first things that grips you as the graves are laid out like Baroque crazy paving. The clergy and aristocrats find their place under marble tombs and ornate marble work that fills the imagination. The colours are bright for this oppressive environment and the brightness of the materials makes up for the Christian tendency to fill Churches with the dead. The floor is filled with the dead and the so are the walls where we find tombs. Here we also find effigies of a Pope in a cabinet and this is where the Roman Catholics are the cult of the dead incarnate. Death has become something that it inevitable to become something that is actual desirable. Death is the thing that brings the Christian closer to God and the Christian forgets the joys of life in a rush to death.

The voices of tourists are hushed as they feel their way around in the darkness and Japanese tourists clearly have no idea what they're looking at and they seemed confused by the images and the apparently random placing of the dead and the living. That is nothing new as many Churches are little more that indoor burial sites where the great and the good await a place in the next life. They point to the image of a silver cross with an emaciated and tortured Christ and this is the centre of this faith.

The Church led by the dead!
I leave the Cathedral of Victoria / Rabat with relief and I quickly go round the back to find that the masonry walls enclose a garden and I touch the clean soil of the garden. This is clean dirt rather than the filth that fills the cathedral's substructure and the walls give a good view of the landscape. The wind at this height blows the cobwebs away and the sun destroys any feelings of negativity.

I like the idea of Churches as places of spirituality and hope in a troubled life and a difficult world although I increasingly encounter the idea of Christianity as a cult of the dead where we encounter suffering and darkness. The dead are destined for the Earth and for recycling although the Church proves to be a barrier to that cycle.

The Cathedral at Gozo

Monday, 14 October 2013


John Heyhoe
Died 5 may 1889
© Godric Godricson
William Heyhoe
Died 10 May 1889
© Godric Godricson

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Largest burial ground in the last 100 years

From: The Bromley Times

The capital’s largest burial ground in the last 100 years officially opened in Chislehurst last week.
Kemnal Park Cemetery, off the Sidcup By-Pass, has more than 30,000 plots along with memorial gardens for ashes on the grounds where Old Kemnal Manor once stood.

The site, run by Michael Burke, opened unofficially last year. He says the site will set “new levels of expectations” for London cemeteries.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Swaffham Parish Church - Styles

Isaac Stroulger
Died 26 October 1828
Martha Stroulger
Died  6 June 1871
Died 18 July 1883

Celtic Cross and dereliction

Monday, 9 September 2013

Monday, 19 August 2013

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Swaffham Parish Church - Styles

Swaffham Parish Church
© Godric Godricson
Elegant Scroll Cross
Swaffham Parish Church
© Godric Godricson
Decay and weathering
Swaffham Parish Church
© Godric Godricson

Monday, 8 July 2013

18th Century Putti

18th Century Putti
Saint Margaret's Church - King's Lynn
© Godric Godricson

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Death in Venice

"For many centuries funeral services in Venice have been conducted by the Scuole del Sacramento, instituted for that purpose. To one of these societies the friends of the defunct pay a certain sum, and the association engages to inter the dead, and bear all the expenses of the ceremony, the dignity of which is regulated by the priest of the parish in which the deceased lived. The rite is now most generally undertaken by the Scuola di San Rocco. The funeral train is of ten or twenty facchini, wearing tunics of white, with caps and capes of red, and bearing the society's long, gilded candlesticks of wood with lighted tapers. Priests follow them chanting prayers, and then comes the bier,—with a gilt crown lying on the coffin, if the dead be a babe, to indicate the triumph of innocence. Formerly, hired mourners attended, and a candle, weighing a pound, was given to any one who chose to carry it in the procession."

 From: VENETIAN LIFE By William Dean Howells. 1st January 1867Project Gutenburg

Matthew 25:4

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Running out of burial plots.

"RESIDENTS in Market Weighton, which is fast running out of burial plots, will face the choice of being cremated to stay local – or buried miles away from the town when they die.

The town’s cemetery, on Holme Road, has less than 10 plots left in addition to the spaces that have already been bought by residents who are still alive."

Jonas Walpole d. 22 June 1905. Erpingham

© Godric Godricson

Anima ejus, et ánimæ ómnium fidélium defunctórum, per misericórdiam Dei requiéscant in pace.

A favourite table top tomb.

"Elephant Walk stylie"
© Godric Godricson

Monday, 17 June 2013

Friday, 7 June 2013


Miss Lily A, Jackson
Died 21 October 1918
© Godric Godricson
Raymond Henery Goddard
Died 7 February 1924
© Godric Godricson

Monday, 6 May 2013

Alex Anderson - 193 Brand Street, Govan - SS Elysia

Alex Anderson
Died 24 May 1916

SS Elysia (1908-1942)
For details on the SS Elysia see this link
For  Alex on Glasgow's role of honour  see this link 
For Alex in the Kalkara site see this link

Friday, 3 May 2013

Sir Francis Freemantle (1765 – 1819)

Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Francis Fremantle
Upper Barraka Gardens - Valetta

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Peter's Orchard

"It may be assumed that “Peter’s Orchard” was originally an apple orchard or an Avalon similar to the “Heaven’s Walls,” which were discovered some years ago near Royston: these “walls,” immediately contiguous to the Icknield or Acnal Way, were merely some strips of unenclosed but cultivated land which in ancient deeds from time immemorial had been called “Heaven’s Walls”. Traditional awe attached to this spot, and village children were afraid to traverse it after dark, when it was said to be frequented by supernatural beings: in 1821 some labourers digging for gravel on this haunted spot inadvertently discovered a wall enclosing a rectangular space containing numerous deposits of sepulchral urns, and it then became clear that here was one of those plots of ground environed by walls to which the Romans gave the name of ustrinum."

Title: Archaic England
       An Essay in Deciphering Prehistory from Megalithic
       Monuments, Earthworks, Customs, Coins, Place-names, and
       Faerie Superstitions
Author: Harold Bayley

Frederick Scott Keeling died 5 February 1954

Frederick Scott Keeling
died  5 February 1954
© Godric Godricson

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Edward Bedingfield - Kalkara

Edward Bedingfield died 10th June 1929
© Godric Godricson

Pagan shrine to Church

Section of the Dolmen Chapel of the Seven Sleepers near Plouaret
"The earliest British shrines were merely stones, or caves, or holy wells, or sacred trees, or tumuli, preferably on a hill-top or in a wood. The next type is found in the monastery of St. Bride, which was simply a circular palisade encircling a sacred fire. This was in all probability similar to the earliest known form of the Egyptian temple, a wicker hut with tall poles forming the sides of the door; in front of this extended an enclosure which had two poles with flags on either side of the entrance. In the middle of the enclosure or court was a staff bearing the emblem of the God.

Later came stone circles and megalithic monuments in various forms, whence the connection is direct to cathedrals such as Chartres, which is said to be built largely from the remains of the prehistoric megaliths which originally stood there. There are chapels in Brittany and elsewhere built over pagan monoliths; indeed no new faith can ever do more than superimpose itself upon an older one, and statements about the wise and tender treatment of the old nature worship by the Church are euphemisms for the bald fact that Christianity, finding it impracticable to wean the heathen from their obdurate beliefs, made the best of the situation by decreeing its feasts to coincide with pre-existing festivals."

Title: Archaic England
       An Essay in Deciphering Prehistory from Megalithic
       Monuments, Earthworks, Customs, Coins, Place-names, and
       Faerie Superstitions
Author: Harold Bayley

Anglican Cemetery Management

Anglican Cemetery Management
Swaffham Parish Church
© Godric Godricson

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley
 (1849 - 1916)

I cannot say and I will not say
That she is dead, she is just away.
With a cheery smile and a wave of hand
She has wandered into an unknown land;
And left us dreaming how very fair
Its needs must be, since she lingers there.
And you-oh you, who the wildest yearn
From the old-time step and the glad return-
Think of her faring on, as dear
In the love of there, as the love of here
Think of her still the same way, I say;
She is not dead, she is just away.

Swaffham - War Dead

G Regester
Died 23 February 1918
© Godric Godricson
GD Buckeridge
22 August 1917
© Godric Godricson