How long have you been interested in cemeteries and why?
My interest in cemeteries started when I was a young child, I'm 34 this year. I cannot tell you why, but the stones with their chiseled names and dates always intrigued me. I would find myself wondering about the people buried beneath those very stones. What their lives where like, what they did for a living and whether they knew their earthbound neighbours in life as well as death, how they died and who was left to mourn them.
What are your favorite cemeteries? (we all have more than one!)
My three most favourite cemeteries are All Saints Maidenhead Cemetery in Maidenhead, Berkshiure UK, a large local cemetery dating from 1888 to the late 1970s, Bray Parish Cemetery in Holypory Berkshire UK, again dating from the 1880s. Bray Parish Cemetery is the small village cemetery that I first explored as a child and my obsession began and Holy Trinity Churchyard in Cookham Berkshire. This churchyard has burials dating back to the mid 1700s and it one of the most beautiful and better maintained village churchyards I have ever been in.
What are your favorite monuments?
There are two large monuments at All Saints Maidenhead Cemetery, one is the large Angel monument of the Finch family and the other is a large statue of a lady looking out over the cemetery. In Cookham my favourite monument is the Angel of Cookham, a famous monument in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church that was subject of one of Sir Stanley Spencer's paintings. At Bray it's the large angel monument of the Wolff family that used to terrify me as a small child. I was convinced it was haunted and used to move when you weren't looking.
What is the farthest you've traveled to visit a cemetery?
So far I haven't really travelled far out of my local area, this is due to me having young children, they of course come before my hobby. The farthest I have been is All Saints Churchyard in Bisham Berkshire, but I plan to go much further afield when the children are older.
What has been the most surprising thing you've seen in a cemetery?
Unfortunately the British seem to be a conservative bunch when it comes to burying the dead or leaving offerings. I have to say that the thing that surprised me the most was the wording on Vivian Charlotte Lewis's gravestone, 'Died in her racing car at Brighton speed Trials'.
What do you tell people if they think your cemetery infatuation is weird?
They can think what they like, they'll soon end up in the cemetery somewhere and I'll be sure to take a picture of their gravestone when they do.
What cemeteries are on your bucket list?
Most definitely the magnificent seven cemeteries of London, Kensal Green Cemetery, West Norwood Cemetery, Highgate Cemetery, Abney Park Cemetery, Nunhead Cemetery, Brompton Cemetery and Tower Hamlets Cemetery.
I'm the founder and editor of TheCemeteryClub.com and Epitaphs Magazine. I love cemeteries and sharing the art and history of them with anyone who will listen!