I'm busy photographing England's smallest county, Rutland, and on arrival at the churchyard of Holy Cross in Burley-on-the-Hill came across this remarkable gravestone. Apart from its fabulously momento mori skull and crossbones, it is very, very early for such a thing. Most memorials at this time (just decipherable as 1701 I think) were inside the churches, and there are no others of similar age as far as I could see. The local limestone has been used, but even so it appears to have weathered rather well. I have a thought that this is because the monument may have been inside the church and was removed during the inevitable Victorian 'restoration'. Or it could have been part of a larger piece of stone forming the side of a dismantled tomb chest, and cut with a rounded top when placed in isolation. But I still can't fathom out all of the inscription, other than that the person died on the 16th November and was only 20. Is 'Mason' a name or an occupation? And who is it? The surname may be 'Harald'. I'll just have to get back up here with a wire brush. No I won't. The other beautiful thing about this gravestone is what age has done to it with lichens and mosses. 'Pleasing Decay' in a country churchyard.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)