Nature-ist: Brockley Cemetery

Lindsey
By Lindsey Last edited 113 months ago
Nature-ist: Brockley Cemetery
Bee grave
Bee grave
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Monument to Jane Clouson, paid for by public subscription such was the strong local feeling for poor Jane who was battered to death my her aristocratic lover, the son of  her employer.
Monument to Jane Clouson, paid for by public subscription such was the strong local feeling for poor Jane who was battered to death my her aristocratic lover, the son of her employer.
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Purple overgrowth
Purple overgrowth

What is it? Brockley Cemetery, formerly known as Deptford Cemetery, established 1858.

Where is it? Entrance on Brockley Road, SE4. Ladywell Cemetery borders it, divided by a wall. Nearest station is Crofton Park.

Why has it tickled our fancy? We were out vising a 'Magnificent Seven' cemetery earlier in the day and stumbled across Brockley Cemetery on the way to tea. It struck us as beautifully Victorian and gothic, a la West Norwood, yet more overgrown, meadowy and wistful, despite the catholic sections being rigorously cut back. Adding to the romanticism, at the heart of the graveyard is a monument to 17 year old Jane Coulson, topped with a praying child. The story being that she was seduced by her employer's son in the belief that he would marry her but subsequently was betrayed and battered to death by the aristocratic lad who was acquitted of her murder. The monument was raised by public subscription to her memory and the story cut into the stone with the tragic legend that her last words were "Oh, let me die".

Nature notes: Parts of the cemetery are treated as meadowland and lots left to grow wild. We spotted blackberries, thistles, willowherb, daisies, other wild flowers and lots of lovely grassland, all of which attracts the butterflies (cemeteries really are bonanza habitat for lepidoptera). Ivy creeps over tombstones and hangs from the many trees and there's a mix of good paths for walking and buggies and some 'off roading' sections through brambles and undergrowth for the more adventurous. Then, there's the bee grave. Bees are big environmental news at the moment with many efforts to set up hives and increase the bee population but the bees have sorted themselves out in Brockley, taking over a tombstone as a smart new hive.

Check out the Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries for more. Thanks to Cathy for showing us round!

Last Updated 23 July 2009