As a Hallowe'en special, here are some photos from a recent visit to the graveyard of St Mary's in Harrow on the Hill.
The cold sunlight reached through the trees and streaked the grass.
As we descended the hill, the ground was satisfyingly crunchy with fallen leaves.
Perhaps the young Byron mused on these matters from his favourite spot while a pupil at nearby Harrow school. This was here, on the Peachy stone, which is at the top of the hill, and offers an impressive panorama. Byron's young daughter Allegra is buried somewhere in the churchyard, in an unmarked grave.
Many of the gravestones have sadly been erased by time and weather, but this splendidly gruesome Victorian poem is still proudly visible.
To the memory of
SON OF JOHN PORT OF BURTON UPON TRENT IN THE COUNTRY OF STAFFORD, HAT MANUFACTURER, WHO NEAR THIS TOWN HAD BOTH HIS LEGS SEVERED FROM HIS BODY BY THE RAILWAY TRAIN. WITH GREATEST FORTITUDE HE BORE A SECOND AMPUTATION BY THE SURGEONS, AND DIED FROM LOSS OF BLOOD, AUGUST 7TH 1838, AGED 33 YEARS.
Bright rose the morn, and vig'rous rose poor Port.
Gay on the train, he used his wonted sport.
Ere noon arrived his mangled form they bore,
With pain distorted and o'erwhelmed with gore
When evening came to close the fatal day,
A mutilated corpse the sufferer lay.
No one can 'o'oerwhelm with gore' quite like the Victorians. Happy Hallowe'en!