Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens

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38 City Rd, London, United Kingdom
Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens - BUNHILL FIELDS John Bunyan
Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens - BUNHILL FIELDS
Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens - BUNHILL FIELDS
Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens - BUNHILL FIELDS William Blake
Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens - BUNHILL FIELDS Mary Page
Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens - BUNHILL FIELDS

Bunhill Fields Burial And Gardens London Reviews

AdamR3723 AdamR3723
192 reviews
Where Blake, Bunyan, and Defoe rest eternally Mar 31, 2017
The burial ground to the immediate north of the Finsbury Barracks is now known as ‘Bunhill Fields’, but in the mid-18th century it was also known as ‘Tindal’s Burying Ground’. The name Bunhill is said to derive from ‘Bone Hill’, which the area was given since it was used for burials as early as during the Saxon period. A likely explanation of the name Bone Hill is that when the St Paul’s charnel house was demolished in 1549, many thousands of bones from it were dumped in the Bunhill district. These bones were piled up and covered to produce a raised portion of land – a hill! During the Great Plague of 1665, corpses were buried in this area, but it was never consecrated by the Church of England. When Mr Tindal took over the lease for what is now Bunhill Fields in the 17th century, he permitted burials of non-conformists, that is Protestants, who practised their religion outside of the Church of England. Anyone, who could afford Mr Tindal’s fees, could be buried in his graveyard. Non-conformists continued to be buried at Bunhill Fields until 1854, when it was deemed to have been completely filled up.

Today, Bunhill Fields is open to the public. Most of the graves are enclosed in grassy areas planted with flowers and surrounded by railings. Wide paved footpaths pass between the enclosures, and are much used by city workers hurrying from A to B. The place is very picturesque with many trees and a rich variety of weather-beaten gravestones, many of whom bear inscriptions that are becoming hard to read. Here and there, benches are available for the weary, and to the north of the gravestones there is a large grassy area. This venerable cemetery is overlooked in one corner by the castle-like Finsbury Barracks, and in many other directions the skyline is dominated by construction cranes and new buildings. The exception is to the east, where all that you can see between the passing traffic on the busy City road is a complex of old buildings that I will describe soon.

Bunhill Fields is the final resting place of many well-known people as well as those whom time has forgotten. Amongst the ‘celebrities’ interred at Bunhill is the author of “Pilgrims Progress” John Bunyan (1628-1688). His monument is not enclosed, and is close to that of another author, Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), whose monument is also not behind railings. Close to both of these authors, and also unenclosed, is a stone commemoration the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827). These three graves are easy to spot whereas those of, for example, Thomas Bayes (mathematician and clergyman) and Susanna Wesley (mother of Charles and John Wesley) are difficult to spot even though a map in the cemetery gives approximate locations for them.

It is hard to miss the huge unenclosed memorial to Dame Mary Page, wife of Sir Gregory Page. She died aged 56 in 1728, so one side of the memorials proclaims. The other side of the memorial has the following written on it:

“In 67 months she was tap’d 66 times. Had taken away 240 gallons of water without ever repining her case or ever fearing the operation”.

According to one source (http://londonist.com/london/history/london-s-oddest-graves-dame-mary-page), Lady Page, a well-respected philanthropist) suffered from a form of ‘dropsy’ (or soft tissue oedema), which causes accumulation of fluid to build up in the space around her lungs. The above-mentioned source suggests that the 29 pints (13 litres) of water ‘tap’d’ on each occasion seems to be rather an exaggerated amount. Whatever the actual amount, it cannot have been pleasant for the poor lady.

Be that as it may, Bunhill Fields is a wonderful place to visit and explore.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
vances says:
It is not often I get to read a review with such a good plot!

Posted on: Mar 31, 2017
Toonsarah says:
Very well described and photographed
Posted on: Mar 31, 2017
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photo by: ulysses