The other day I went for a wander around my area, and realised that although I live about a fifteen minute walk away, I had never visited my local churchyard. I've been past it hundreds of times, but have never bothered to walk the grounds. I guess I never had any reason to.
Out of curiosity, I walked up to the gates, where it said the cemetery was the location of the Commonwealth War Graves. But although I looked at many of the graves, none of them fit in with the dates of the war, so I don't know if I was looking in the wrong area or what.
Sadly, the graves I did see at Church Road Cemetery were in poor condition: littered with rubbish, sunken into the ground, and most were unreadable from weathering. Despite the council having recently finished a five-year redesign of Mitcham Parish Church, the churchyard seemed to have been forgotten.
Covering 6.7 acres of land, the cemetery was opened in 1559, with records on file dating from 1883. While I was reading some of the names, I saw a doubled gravesite belonging to a married couple called William and Rosetta. They had the same surname as my dad's best friend, so I wonder if they were any relation. Probably not, but it is always fun to speculate.
When it came to the tombstones I could read, many of the engravings used euphemisms; the one I remember most clearly said 'I have been sleeping here since 1950'. All I can say is, she must be well rested.
As I walked on, I could hear singing from Mitcham Parish Church. It was built between 1819-1822 by John Chart, a local Master Builder. The church was designed in a Gothic style by the architect, George Smith, but some of the monuments like the base of the tower are Medieval and date to around 1250 CE. They are the remains of earlier churches.
When you get to the church's main entrance, you can see the redesign that has taken place; they have laid down new pathing slabs, and made an easy access slope for wheelchair users. As commendable as this is, after five years, I would have expected something more.