Monday, 29 September 2014

The Long Walk Home


As usual a shopping trip to and from town involves cutting through the churchyard. I  took my camera along this morning.


St Matthew's churchyard has been part of our lives for as long as we can remember. A few minutes walk away from our childhood homes and the house we now live in. There are different routes to take but this one is far quicker and a lot more picturesque.


The church has dominated the town's skyline since the Thirteenth century.


Currently undergoing some restoration it remains an oasis of calm after a morning spent being jostled by the sweat pant and pyjama (yes, really) wearing shoppers.



The familiar names on the headstones are like old friends. Joseph was a leather worker, the trade Walsall is still famous for.


Our house was built in 1760 so, as locals, those buried here would have walked past our house every day of their lives.




As children we were told that these mummy-shaped caskets were placed over graves to prevent body snatching. 



Isn't it amazing to think that Ann Sly was alive at the same time as the French Revolution and the American War of Independence? 





Relict means the surviving member of a marriage after the spouse has died.




The Celtic cross marks the family grave of the Newbolt family, possibly ancestors of the poet, Sir Henry, a Walsall resident.


The road between our house and the church is dotted with derelict workshops, some dating back to the days of the Industrial Revolution.


The back-to-back terraces give way to smart Victorian villas, once home to the town's wealthy.



The lady who lives in this gorgeous double fronted villa is a craft blogger!


Jon staggers on ahead with the shopping.


Part of the Victorian Highgate Brewery, named after the part of town in which we live. It went into administration a few years ago and we miss the smell of hops terribly!

Wearing: Vintage maxi dress (courtesy of Heather, whose blog seems to have vanished), Beaded peacock bag (Car boot sale, 5 years ago), 1960s fringed suede jerkin (Second to None, 2010)
See you soon!

Linking to Sacramento's Share in Style: Autumn

60 comments:

  1. that is amazing, to have such history all around you, a wonderful place to be a child with all that around you, I love to visit grave yards and my gosh that is an amazing one, you live in a truly beautiful spot,

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  2. You live in such a richly colorful and storied place, Vix. I love these shots of the tombstones. I have visited old graveyards in Boston, and can spend hours with the old stones. You and Jon look marvelous, as always, I love your peacock skirt! xox

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  3. Your town is steeped in history, and I love that you've taken the time to learn it. So few people do these days.

    A wonderful, heartfelt post with gorgeous images. x

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  4. I love how you appreciate the history - beautiful pictures too.

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

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  5. Beatiful and peaceful ....bever seen caskets like that before !
    xxxx

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  6. I LOVE graveyards, apparently I was dragging my parents around them from quite an early age.

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  7. What a great walk to shopping - I love exploring old graveyards, so interesting!

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  8. What a clever combination of prints you've made, Vix: the brights on black in both the skirt and the bag! The fringe on the jerkin adds a grace note that moves lightly with the skirt.

    Beauty is in the eyes of the stylists of vintage clothing -- and in those same eyes who view patterns in worked stone, bricks and autumn leaves. I envy you this daily walk in the company of friendly spirits!

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  9. Walked over church hill many times and it's good to be reminded what we sometimes take for granted on our doorstep. Thanks

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  10. What an absolutely intriguing and gorgeous post, Vix. Such history all around you. When I was in London (I have only been in England once) I had to go to Highgate Cemetery; there is just something about cemeteries that are so incredibly beautiful.

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  11. you live in a wonderful corner of your town! i would wander over that graveyard every day too. and that church is a beautiful building, every time i see such great work of art i think of the people who build it.
    you and jon are stylish as ever!!!
    xxxxx

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  12. The double fronted victorian house is my dream home , your pictures dont do you justice you look so much prettier in real life xxx

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  13. what a wonderful tour of your area. I love old graveyards, they tell the history of an area so well.

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  14. I love walking through graveyards and reading peoples headstones. Older ones are so ornate and decorative.

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  15. I love this post! It's so hard to get my head around how old your beautiful surroundings are. What an interesting walk you get to take merely to get the groceries.

    When you say some shoppers were wearing their pjs I'm sure you don't mean anything like that cute polka dotted nighty that you have been known to wear out and about! I love that one and could certainly take shopping amongst people wearing things like that.

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  16. What a beautiful post! As per public pajama wearers---are you talking frumpy flannel pajama bottoms? Because we are cursed with that in the States, too. In fact, it probably started here :0

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  17. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful old areas around your home. The old gravestones are beautiful. As a child, my friends and I would play in our church graveyard and we were in awe of the old stones and the unusual ones. Lovely post and lovely outfit. Debbie @ ilovemylemonadelife.com Visiting from the link-up.

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  18. Fascinating stuff - thanks for sharing the walk. Our house (1857) is now feeling like a mere youngster!

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  19. Hi Vix I'm a grave reader as well. It's fascinating to read snippets of other people's lives. We have a few very young men buried in our cemetry who died during WWI, it makes me appreciate life. I found both my children's names on graves. Lovely post.

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  20. Such rich history! How fun to come along on your walk to by groceries. There is something wonderfully peaceful and sacred about old graveyards.

    What a beautiful skirt!

    Suzanne

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  21. We've been there! I so love to hear and see about the history that surrounds us, as you say, so much of the local stuff plays into important national and international events. That's a new word for me, relict. I'll have to find a reason to use that soon! That's a lovely autumnal outfit you've got on there. Looking lush! 1760, wow, that's so historic. Xxxxxxxxxxx

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  22. Your neighborhood is so beautiful and even more so because YOU live there. Gorgeous photos, beautiful story. Ah England!

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  23. Lots of history where you live - I like the idea that those buried in the churchyard probably walked past your house every day and also that you have lived there all your life.

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  24. Graveyards are brilliant places, aren't they? I love them, there's always something interesting to look at, and the more you look, the better it gets - all the details, the dates, the stories, the language, the history - fascinating. And like Tan, I'm squealing "I've been there!"
    Industrial and urban architecture always interests me too, the workshops and terraces, the well-to-do villas, the brewery, it's all telling the story of where you live.
    Your maxi is beautiful, what a great print, and of course a jerkin is a signature item of yours! You're a ray of psychedelic glory among the autumn leaves!
    PS. I hate the smell of hops, but I imagine if the loss of it marks the end of a historic local trade, I might miss it too! xxxx

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  25. A fascinating post, especially the bit about the anti-body snatching deterrents!There's also some lovely buildings where you live too; I like the photos of the worn painted gate and the derelict workshops xxx

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  26. Thanks for the tour of your neighbourhood. The visible remainders of things from the past are overwhelming and beautiful. You look amazing, as usual, but I especially like the fringe of your jerkin with the ends of your hair. You're a beauty beast!

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  27. I remember the walk to pub like it was yesterday and this church and cemetery were a stop along the way. What rich beauty and history you have at your footsteps, literally! The only thing more beautiful than your neighborhood is you in green standing among all those tomb stones. The fact that you appreciate and know so much about where you live shines through all your words. You made me fall in love with Walsall but maybe that's just cause Walsall has you and Jon.
    I miss you and LOVE YOU!!!!
    XXXOOOOO

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  28. Thank you for this, Vix! Love your town stories very much. I grew up in a relatively young part of the world. Native people of course occupied it much earlier than "white people" from the European part of Russia. But even 400 years is pretty short compared to the history of your place! Seattle/Tacoma area is even newer than my home town in Siberia - it did not even start before 19 century.

    I just adore this outfit on you- great pattern of the maxi dress, and this rich vest (that's probably what we'd call it here) is simply gorgeous! You are so right about the Autumn light too. Much love xxx

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  29. I walked through a churchyard today but I couldn't linger as I was en route to meet the girls for lunch. I do love graves...great for social history and photographs and also cos I'm a little bit nosy and love to sticky beak into peoples lives. I love the smell of hops and can quite understand how you would miss them. Shoppers in pyjamas! How chavtastic, I hope they did not sully the churchyard. You on the other hand must be its most glamorous visitor. xxxx

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  30. It really is a beautiful place! I love your history lesson as well! And of course you! x

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  31. Admit it you just love the fact his name is John Wedge.....

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  32. Fascinating post Vix. My childrens 4x great grandparents (on my husbands side) were married in that church in February 1822. Stands to reason we've probably got the odd rellie buried there. They lived in Portland Street for decades and he was a tong forger. Nice to see the church for the first time!

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  33. I always love your neighbourhood tour posts! And I love a good graveyard, can't beat that curly engraved lettering. You and Jon are looking quite matchy-matchy with the landscape in these pics, you're an autumnal vision and he matches all that red brick and the blue doors :)

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  34. Oh yeah, and when I was scrolling down and saw that big chimney, it reminded me of one on Highgate Road here in London, and yours is from Highgate Brewery, ha!

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  35. I love a good old graveyard, they are so fascinating! And there is that leather vest that I so adore! :)

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  36. I love looking through old graveyards ... there's just something so fascinating about them ... my kids think I'm a little weird ;0)
    xx

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  37. I love learning about England from your perspective. My family name is Weston and Palmer, my pop and nan. I look forward to visiting England. I live in a 100 yr old house, yours is well over twice that! Fantastic!
    I'm following you via bloglovin so don't comment as often but I'm still loving your blog the best of all. You're the real deal Vix! Cheers from Canada!

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  38. How lovely to have all of that history around you x

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  39. I very much enjoyed the walk in the cemetery. Such history, and I bet it is so tranquil. Love the old flakey painted garden door. OMG do people do the PJ pants and or trackies for day wear in England too? I HATE that look. No wonder you scarpered off to some where nicer.

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  40. What a beautiful post! The cemetery is lovely and sad and so full of history - the town I live in wasn't even in existence when some of those people were buried.
    Thank you for sharing your city's history.

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  41. What a beautiful post! I'd love to stroll through your neighborhood. And here I thought my 1902 home was old.

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  42. I love old cemeteries! Some of my best memories from my visits to London England are the times I spent wandering through Highgate Cemetery. I went on a guided tour of the old section with a woman who must have been a Scout leader in her youth - she had us sliding down muddy embankments and plunging into the underbrush.

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  43. I adore the fact that you live in the place you grew up. It means you have such strong connections with place and can recall your own memories as well as reeling off interesting bits of local history and character. All while floating around looking fabulous in maxi flowers and fringing!

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  44. nothing better than a lovely walk through a churchyard!! love you're sharing those quotidian details with us, your neighborhood and your path to go shopping!
    And looking fabulous when you go shopping to town, is just part of your glorious style!!, love it!
    Love your maxi, love those green and blue roses, love your jerkin and love your Attitude!
    besos

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  45. The photos from your scenic walking route past the Industrial Revolution era derelict workshops, victorian villas, church and churchyards are great. It's an eye-opening window into history realising that those buried in the churchyard would have walked past your historic 1760 home each day.
    Your beaded peacock bag and the floral print on your vintage maxi-dress are both lovely. Your hair looks pretty too.

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  46. Loved this post the contrast of your gorgeously colourful outfit contrasting with the ancient weather beaten grave stones make for beautiful photos. Nice to know that lots of us enjoy a stroll through a graveyard. I love graveyards something so peaceful and reading the headstones. A church near where I grew up the paths in it at what at first appear to be flagstones are in fact graves, one had a skull and crossbones on which as a child I thought was the grave of a pirate!

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  47. I just get blown away by English history. You guys have the BEST graveyards; I could spend hours poring over all the names and dates there. Just magnificent history. I can't imagine how wonderful it is to live amongst it. Our oldest graveyard is the Barbadoes St Cemetary; it's not far from us and has some Victorian graves, but doesn't have a great atmosphere. On the Penisula there are some lovely old cemetaries, little ones. South is where all the good old churches are now, we lost ours in the earthquakes!
    You look rather divoon for a stroll through history! Love that frock. Still looking nice and warm there! Have you booked for India yet?!
    Love Helga XXX

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  48. I went to St Matthews for the first time only a few weeks ago when it was Heritage weekend. We went up into the clock tower and down into the crypt. Very interesting , apparently years ago the crypt was above ground. We had a walk around the graveyard and saw all the old tombstones. Very interesting, my husband took lots of photos.

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  49. I think when we visit graves and their stones frequently and grow accustomed to their names they do become almost like a family or friends, you are so right, we often say 'hello' to the surrounding gravestones to my Father-in-Law's neighbours, there was once life there - and on another note, pyjama's! outdoors! thankfully it seems to be less of a 'thing' here now haha, it's always flannelette too! - ps, you are looking gorgeous, I LOVE your outfit, dang it your waistcoat is divine and your Japanese inspired (is it?) maxi is fab! x x x

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  50. Looove the outfit and photos. I'm literally writing a to-do list, "take photos in a graveyard" is there. You beat me to it :D

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  51. Hi Vix Thank you for sharing the graveyard is amazing! Those really old graves are so interesting. I could linger there a long time. The mummy style caskets are so bizarre. I picture the backdrop of the Graveyard book by Neil Gaimen to look like this. You are so lucky to have that route daily. :-)

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  52. Your town is beautiful. I am also madly in love with that peacock bag!

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  53. I had never seen those type o graves before in England or anywhere else.
    You are not only a beauty, but also a magic story teller.
    I was talking to Rebecca ( Kim Rosario) on Skype before and she cannot get enough of you
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  54. I love love love graveyards and grotesques on churches. And let me tell you, there is nothing grotesque about you. You look fabulous as always!

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  55. I just adore the history of your area and the walk through the cemetery on the way to do shopping. There is a very small cemetery five minutes down the road from me but not many gravestones are left, only one cenotaph. My town is so young compared with yours and I often long for buildings with such history and patina. Living in the wild west of The New World does not exactly bring that but we cannot have it all. I have giant trees, mountains and an ocean at my doorstep. I shall not be greedy.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures and allowing me to take this walk too, and without having to carry any shopping. You look stunning in your maxi dress. These colours really suit you well.
    xoxo

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  56. It's always a treat to enjoy your surroundings, I reckon most especially in your town with great history and memories. x/M

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  57. It was so interesting! I feel like I've made this walk as well. So mic ego see you know your history and so many details!
    by the way, you looked lovely!

    Lyosha
    Inside and Outside Blog

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  58. You just can't beat a good mung around an old graveyard. The stone masonary and carving is so amazing.
    Where my family is buried up in Bradford there is a separate Jewish section, which is interesting.
    I never did Highgate when living in London, which I regret, but, I guess it's not going anywhere.
    Zxx

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  59. Such a wonderful post, I always love it when you share photos of your town and its history. That graveyard and church is amazing, so wonderful having so much history at your back door!

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Love from Vix
xxx