3rd June, 2019 Churchyards – places of resort.
Having, for some months now, discussed the issue of cemeteries as places of resort, as well as municipal parks and recreation grounds, it seems reasonable to discuss churchyards in the same context. By places of resort we mean places where some detachment from the home and the hustle and bustle of the street can be gained, but not too far from one’s immediate locality. Places of relative quiet, places to think or read (or study the mobile phone), places to observe Nature, places for contemplation, places to sit, maybe doze.
One essential facility in places of resort is somewhere to sit. This can take the form of benches, many differing styles are on the market these days and made from a variety of materials such as wood (tropical hardwoods although long-lasting are today seen as an encouragement to the destruction of tropical forests and so are generally avoided by public bodies), metal (long lasting but cold to the bum) or strong solid plastic (made from recycled materials). In a couple of the Hull municipal parks land around the bandstand was raised, terraced and sown to grass to provide amphitheatre-type seating on a relatively small scale. The photo above of one section of the churchyard at Burton Stather, the site at the crest of the scarp slope overlooking the Vale of Trent to the west, shows a single standard treated softwood bench, fine in itself but why only one? Is it cost, is it a response to the argument that ‘they just get vandalised anyway’ or is it a response to the argument expressed as ‘who wants to sit in a churchyard anyway’?
Incidentally the ‘bulge’ in the churchyard is, of course, a product of centuries of burials (interments), this resulting in the need for most churchyards to have peripheral retaining walls – see the Article on Burials and the development of Barton Cemetery in the Articles and Publications section of this website.
(To be continued).