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 Post subject: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 12:26 pm 
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High King
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Location: Winchester
ST GILES HILL CEMETERY PART I - THE CEMETERY

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I wanted to share some images of the St Giles Hill Cemetery in Winchester, which I visited several times over the summer to photograph. Long neglected and very overgrown, it's a pretty and rather haunting sort of place, containing much of interest.

On the south-east edge of Winchester, St Giles Hill today is the location of some very grand houses, and a park with wonderful views out across the whole city, but in medieval times it was the site of the St Giles Fair, the largest of its kind in Europe, which was held every September, and lasted for sixteen days, during which time all other trading in the city ceased. I live near the bottom of this hill.

The entrance to the cemetery is innocuous enough, bordered as it is by a brick and flint wall that is very typical for this area, but the broken gates give some hint as to the rather forgotten status of this place.

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Passing through the gates, the land rises via this tree lined path, and one is immediately surrounded by dense foliage.

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The whole area is very overgrown.

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But still very pretty, with many wild flowers.

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More to follow, on the broken tombs, gravestone symbols, the cemetery fox and Saint Giles.


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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 12:33 pm 
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High King
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ST GILES HILL CEMETERY PART II - THE BROKEN TOMBS

At the top of the rise is a bit of a clearing, that was probably once the most prestigious part of the cemetery in which to be buried. But over the years, as you'll see, the tombs here have been broken up and are now in a very forlorn state.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 12:36 pm 
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Queen Bee
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Wow !


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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 12:38 pm 
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High King
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Location: Winchester
ST GILES HILL CEMETERY PART III - GRAVE SYMBOLS

Quite a number of grave stones bear what I believe are Masonic symbols.

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As it happens, the Winchester Masonic Centre is only a few minutes walk from here, on neighbouring Magdalene Down, but this could be quite coincidental, as this is a modern building, and the old masonic hall was in what is now WH Smiths, down in the town, and the graves in the cemetery seem to be mostly from the 19th century.

There are a couple of other grave symbols that I noticed, but I don't know what they might signify.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 12:43 pm 
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High King
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Location: Winchester
ST GILES HILL CEMETERY PART IV - THE CEMETERY FOX

I've never seen a single other person in there, but one day while I was wandering about, I heard a rustling in the undergrowth and looked around to see this fox peering at me from behind a gravestone. I think he lives there.

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I tracked him around the cemetery for a while, taking pictures, and although he always kept a certain distance away, he was confident enough not to run off completely, and seemed as curious about me as I was about him.

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Last edited by richard.webster on 29 Nov 2012 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 12:56 pm 
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High King
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ST GILES HILL CEMETERY PART V - ST GILES

This is Saint Giles, after whom the hill is named. He lived from about 650 to 710.

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And this is a little bit about him, from Wikipedia.

Quote:
Saint Giles (Greek: Αἰγίδιος, Latin: Ægidius, French: Gilles, Hungarian: Egyed, Polish: Idzi, Italian: Egidio, Spanish: Egidio, Catalan: Gil) (c. 650 – c. 710) was a Greek Christian hermit saint from Athens, whose legend is centered in Provence and Septimania. The tomb in the abbey Giles was said to have founded, in Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, became a place of pilgrimage and a stop on the road that led from Arles to Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrim Way of St. James. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
Giles first lived in retreats near the mouth of the Rhône and by the River Gard, in Septimania, today's southern France. The story that he was the son of King Theodore and Queen Pelagia of Athens is probably an embellishment of his early hagiographers; it was given wide currency in the Legenda Aurea. The two main incidents in his life were often depicted in art.
His early history, as given in the Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend), links him with Arles, but finally he withdrew deep into the forest near Nîmes, where in the greatest solitude he spent many years, his sole companion being a deer, or red deer, who in some stories sustained him on her milk. Giles ate a vegetarian diet. This retreat was finally discovered by the king's hunters, who had pursued the hind to its place of refuge. An arrow shot at the deer wounded the saint instead, who afterwards became a patron of cripples. The king, who by legend was Wamba, an anachronistic Visigoth, but who must have been (at least in the original story) a Frank due to the historical setting, conceived a high esteem for the hermit, whose humility rejected all honors save some disciples, and built him a monastery in his valley, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, which he placed under the Benedictine rule. Here Giles died in the early part of the 8th century, with the highest repute for sanctity and miracles.
A 10th century Vita sancti Aegidii recounts that, as Giles was celebrating Mass to pardon the Emperor Charlemagne's sins, an angel deposited upon the altar a letter outlining a sin so terrible Charlemagne had never dared confess it. Several Latin and French texts, including the Legenda Aurea refer to this hidden "sin of Charlemagne". This legend, however, would be contradicted by generally accepted later dates for the life of Charlemagne (approximately 742 – 28 January 814).
A later text, the Liber miraculorum sancti Aegidii ("The Book of Miracles of Saint Giles") served to reinforce the flow of pilgrims to the abbey.
Around the abbey allegedly founded by him in the 7th century, sprang up the town of St-Gilles-du-Gard. The abbey (which was re-dedicated to him in the 10th century) remained the center of his cult, which was particularly strong in Languedoc, even after a rival body of Saint Giles appeared at Toulouse. His cult spread rapidly far and wide throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, as is witnessed by the countless churches and monasteries dedicated to him in France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Great Britain; by the numerous manuscripts in prose and verse commemorating his virtues and miracles; and especially by the vast concourse of pilgrims who from all Europe flocked to his shrine.
In 1562, the relics of the saint were secretly transferred to Toulouse to save them from the Huguenots and the level of pilgrimages declined. With the restoration of a great part of the relics to the abbey of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard in 1862, and the publicized rediscovery of his former tomb there in 1865, the pilgrimages recommenced.
Besides Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, nineteen other cities bear his name. Cities that possess relics of St. Giles include Saint-Gilles, Toulouse and a multitude of other French cities; Antwerp, Brugge and Tournai in Belgium; Cologne and Bamberg in Germany; Rome and Bologna in Italy; Prague in the Czech Republic; and Esztergom in Hungary. The lay Community of Sant'Egidio is named after his church in Rome, Sant'Egidio. Giles is also the patron saint of Edinburgh, Scotland, where St. Giles' Cathedral is a prominent landmark.
The centuries-long presence of Crusaders, many of them of French origin, left the name of Saint Giles in some locations in the Middle East. Raymond of St Gilles lent his name to St. Gilles Castle (Arabic: Qala’at Sanjil‎) in Tripoli, Lebanon.
In medieval art, he is depicted with his symbol, the hind. His emblem is also an arrow, and he is the patron saint of cripples. Giles is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and the only non-martyr, initially invoked as protection against the Black Death. His feast day is September 1.
The Master of Saint Gilles is an anonymous Late Gothic painter. The artist was given the title as the first work attributed to him were two works with Saint Giles as the subject now in the National Gallery, London.
Patron of cripples, is invoked against cancer, sterility in women and madness.
Saint Gilles is invoked as a saint for childhood fears, convulsions, depression, particularly in Normandy, for example in Eure Iville, Saint-Germain-Village or Bernay or in Calvados, Gilles Touques.Saint Catalonia is invoked against earache and headache. There is a very old song in Catalan San Gil: "San Gil n'ere un diumentge de l'any 1810 Fan festa a Garigueille per lo glorios San Gil ....Es ben apropriat Lo Gran San Gil Abat: Fa bé per mal d'orel.les, fa bé per mal de cap".
He is also the patron saint of Edinburgh, Graz, Nuremberg, Osnabrück, Sankt Gilgen, Brunswick, Wollaberg, Saint-Gilles (Brussels Capital Region) and Saint-Gillis-Waas. In 1630, a church in Trastevere in Rome dedicated to him, the church of Sant'Egidio, which since 1968 houses the Community of Sant'Egidio.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Giles

Just for a bit of context, this is the top of St Giles Hill today (not today, exactly, but from when it snowed a couple of years ago) looking at another of our hills, this one named after St Catherine.

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And this is looking out across the city. You can just about make out the Cathedral in the murk and gloom, roughly in the centre of the picture. This isn't visible from the cemetery itself, which is on the hill's other slope, but this would have been the view from the St Giles Fair, albeit without the snow.

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I've tried to find out some more about the cemetery and its history, but without much success. But it's an interesting if rather forgotten part of our city's heritage, and whilst it's a little sad to see the graves there so neglected, there's much beauty to be found there, with a very biodiverse habitat, and a number of animal residents and visitors.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 1:13 pm 
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Acolyte
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You are brilliant Richard Webster!
As always, I'm amazed at the things you capture and share...........just amazed.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 1:36 pm 
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Queen Bee
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Saint Giles was the hermit who lived at l'émbouchure du Rhône, that's where he said mass for the sinner...Charlemagne.
According to legend it was the Wisigoth King Wamba who shot at the hind.


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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2012 6:04 am 
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Hi Richard

a very lovely story. Thank you for sharing it to us.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2012 6:33 pm 
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Queen Bee
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I rather like the fact that the forest is overtaking and reclaiming sanctified ground, sort of lovely if you think about it.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2012 6:54 pm 
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Queen Bee
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richard.webster wrote:
There are a couple of other grave symbols that I noticed, but I don't know what they might signify.

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I'd read this one to be a stave sigil to keep the spirit of the deceased from roaming.

TCP


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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 20 Jan 2013 8:11 pm 
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High King
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I just wanted to add a few pictures of the St Giles Hill cemetery in the snow we've had this weekend, to the collection above.

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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 20 Jan 2013 9:13 pm 
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Queen Bee
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Thank you Richard, i love your photos, they bring peace to my heart.


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 Post subject: Re: A Neglected Cemetery
PostPosted: 25 Jan 2013 5:28 pm 
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Acolyte

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I love the photos.It reminds me of Highgate Cemetery. Around here, you only see neglected cemeteries like that out in the country. Know of a couple of them out by New Berlin-Sweethome area.They are down this paved but dead end road and right across from each other.Very overgrown and the stones are no where near as fancy.


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