There is another nice church in the same area, St Anne's at Kew, which has also a typical 18th century church outlook, with a sharp tower, half-arch or full circle windows and red-brick walls. This type of churchyard is mostly typical in South England-from what I`ve seen that is my experience. Of course, it cannot be generalized, as for example, Twickenham church doesn't have the sharp, greenish tower, but the usual square-shaped flat one.



  After leaving this rich (culturally and economically as well) area of London, we are heading to the  South-east, where we`ll stop at three churchyards on our way: at St Luke's Charlton, St Mary's Downe and St Mary the Virgin at Hayes (Kent).  

  St Luke's church is a tiny churchyard just a minute away from Charlton house which is an elegant Jacobean country home with a 400 years old mulberry tree in its garden.

  There is not much left of the churchyard, only a tiny place is occupied by old graves in front of the church with almost no green space. It doesn't make it nonetheless appealing for us, specially as it is the resting place of Sir Spencer Perceval, the first and so far the only assassinated British Prime Minister. He was killed in 1812 while in the Parliament. His memorial stone can be found inside the church, but as the church was closed when I was visiting, couldn't take a photo of it.


  
The next churchyard is really in the outermost edges of London, in Downe village. There are two reasons why I mention it in my walks; one is that the whole place has a postcard English village feeling, in no small amount thanks to St Mary's church., and the other reason is that this village was the home of Charles Darwin and his family for several decades until his death. Thus the church was frequently attended by Darwin.

  There is even a memorial tablet on the wall of the church, near the porch, saying: “The sundial is in memory of Charles Darwin 1809-1882 who lived and worked in Downe for forty years. He is buried in Westminster Abbey”.

  Well, I don't know if the church would be happier if he was to be buried in the churchyard, but I certainly wouldn't be happier, as the too many visitors would disturb its rural peace.

  Walking amongst the graves, I couldn't stop myself thinking that many of these people knew Darwin personally, some of them better, some of them just briefly; when they met on the street, he raised his hat to the coming, saying “Good afternoon, Mr Darwin”, “Good afternoon, Mrs Wood” and maybe they would have carried on the conversation about the weather or maybe this lady might have inquired if Darwin managed to find more evidence supporting the evolution theory...

  The poor chap, James Fontaine, whose grave can be found in this graveyard, certainly didn't know Mr Darwin. We can read on his grave a few things about the circumstances of his death:

”...His seizure was sudden but not without any signs for he was allowed to attend the Sermon. Thursday saw him cheerful and grateful for health, Saturday August 6th 1825 a pale corpse”  

  We don`t know exactly how old was this person. He might have been a child or a young adult, but it reminds us that in one minute we can be be here, and the next we are gone never to come back. Imagine that Saturday morning when his parents woke up hoping that everything will be all right, and then a couple of hours later they had to take their mourning dresses and listening to the suddenly fallen quietness of the house, where everything still murmured the leftover signs of the departed...

  Those once-lived people in this churchyard could already tell us what have they find out about the questions of evolution or creation, while they are lying “in the hope of a joyful resurrection”...


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