The Angel of St Georges churchyard

A close-up of her calm , enigmatic face. Copyright Carole Tyrrell
A close-up of her calm , enigmatic face.
Copyright Carole Tyrrell

Although there are many beautiful, intriguing and, sometimes poignant, memorials to be found in large Victorian cemeteries you can often find them in your local churchyard as well.

My nearest one is 15 minutes walk away from my house and features this lovely angel in a quiet corner of the churchyard under the shade of a huge and spreading tree.  It is undoubtedly this little spot that has protected her as she cannot be seen by passers-by from the road or the casual stroller through the churchyard.    It’s in memory of a wife and there are no further details on the epitaph.  The date of interment is in 1905 which is the Art Nouveau period and there is a definite nuance to it in this lovely angel as she hangs poised on the cross.

There are other interesting memorials within the churchyard and I will be discussing these in a future article.  But this is the one I wanted to reveal first as she is so lovely and, as far as I know, unique.  Victorian angels in cemeteries are usually selected from a pattern book, carved and then shipped over from Italy and you will see and recognise the same variations.  You could also send a photograph and the angel’s face would be carved into a likeness of the loved one.  There is one in Nunhead Cemetery which is almost certainly carved from the life.  But I haven’t seen this particular angel before and maybe she has also been carved as a likeness of the deceased.

The epitaph reads:

‘Christian Whittingham Little

Wife of Robert little

Of Christ’s Hospital , London

Entered into rest 10 Sept 1905.

Poised on her cross, keeping watch, in a quiet corner of the churchyard Copyright Carole Tyrrell
Poised on her cross, keeping watch, in a quiet corner of the churchyard
Copyright Carole Tyrrell

Text and photos copyright Carole Tyrrell

 

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