Traveling through London with my family, I stumbled across a book, HAUNTED LONDON. During an hour of down-time in the hotel, I read it cover to cover. Inside the author mentioned a place called, Crossbones Cemetery. A quick Google search and I found out it was a stone’s throw away from our hotel. I was determined to see it for myself. Click here to book a haunted London walking tour!
The Crossbones Cemetery holds somewhere around 14,000 women and their children, but you will not find a single tombstone here. Sanctified prayers were never uttered over these bones. Once treated as London’s castaways, it is the cemetery of the forgotten. Women of the night or Churchill’s geese for the orange hoods and white cloaks they were required to wear, these women were seen as too steeped in sin to warrant niceties like church rites and grave markers. That was two centuries ago.
Modern Londoners are atoning for the mistakes of their forefathers. On numerous occasions, developers have attempted to morph the property into a parking lot or some other profit-churning venture. It’s always been fought and defeated. And now, well, what’s happening leaves me speechless.
Once a month, Londoners come together at Crossbones Cemetery. They are reclaiming the dignity of those buried within the gates. Researchers are unearthing the names of the women and children. Then, they write those names on pieces of ribbon and tie them onto the surrounding fence. Slowly, they are remembering, honoring and reclaiming lost souls.
I visited the cemetery two years ago with my older daughter. My younger child would have nothing to do with our field trip. As I tied our flower offering to the fence, I stood in awe. There was an overwhelming sense of peace at Crossbones. And love. And forgiveness.
This week, not because it’s nearing Halloween, but because history lives and breathes in these sacred spaces, walk a cemetery. Take a photo. Tidy the leaves off of a grave. And maybe utter a name etched into a tombstone. Who knows what this simple act will do for you or the person buried beneath your feet?
Sending you my love.