Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Slate Headstones of Cornwall

We are just back from a couple of days down on the north Cornwall coast. It was glorious late summer weather and we did a long walk along the cliff tops. Right at the end we came across the churchyard at Padstow. 

The churchyard is full of the most beautiful slate headstones. The patterns are very free flowing and delicate - like these beautiful oak leaves above.

Most of them are 18th and 19th century and many are the memorial stones for 'master mariners'. It shows how very connected people's lives were with the sea.

Many of the stones look almost like samplers for lettering styles, with the text varying from ornate gothic on one line to copperplate on the next. A glorious celebration of fonts and styles.

I remember years ago coming across the gravestone of John Betjeman in St Enodoc's church midway between Polzeath and Rock - just across the water from Padstow. It is very much in this style - a beautiful free-flowing lyrical design delicately traced in dark Cornish slate. Good to see that the tradition continues.