Today my twins and I visited St Michael’s church, Caerwys, Flintshire. We parked outside the church and said hello to sheep and llamas in the neighbouring field.
We briefly explored the churchyard and we saw a pattern of churchyard memorialisation discussed nearby as Dyserth. The only notable non-memorial feature in the churchyard is a sundial.
We enjoyed looking at the older gravestones, including some striking, tall urn memorials. We also noted the strategy of placing old gravestones along the sides of the principal paths around the church.
Furthermore, we were particularly interested in seeing strategies for making memorials safe, including the removal of urns and their placing at the foot of the grave. It is so important when 2-year-olds are present that they test every memorial for safety and every floral offering for integrity.
Meanwhile, a very recent 1960s gravestone was found knocked over. This looked equally deliberate and presumably it has been left in this way as a temporary measure until it is safely reconsolidated. Note: we didn’t do this: honest!
We also explored the extension of the churchyard to the east, and the newest memorials over the cremated dead, situated to the west, outside the western entrance of the church. As previously discussed, it is the cremated dead that allow churchyards to be regenerated, and those areas closest to the church can come back into use after decades. I have discussed this before, for example, in relation to Pennant Melangell. Here though, we find a different pattern, with a clear bifurcation between new memorials and newist memorials between the east and west of the churchyard. In between the older graves remain intact, while others have been rearranged for safety and thus embellishing the paths. I am researching both broader trends and microhistories of recent churchyard use, so examples like this are very interesting to me.
It was heartening to see snowdrops out amidst the graves, and rather bizarre to see a llama watching us over the wall. It seems ivy is edible to llamas, but it also looked keen to gnaw at toddler fingers too. We said hello but kept our distance from llama teeth.