Old St. Pancras Church
Hidden in a street behind St. Pancras Station is Old St. Pancras church, small in size and atop a kind of hill up some stone steps. Surrounding the church are the remnants of a churchyard. I say remnants because at first you don’t really see much of a graveyard as such. There’s a lofty memorial sundial surrounded by some grave stones and a few here or there where you can’t read any of the writing. I had wanted to come here for a while since I heard about a particular tree.
Burdett-Coutts Memorial Sundial
The Hardy Tree stands to the left and rear of the church. It’s surrounded by a hedge and you don’t notice what is special until you get quite close. Tightly packed all around the base of the tree are gravestones sat face to face so you can only read the writing on some. This is the spot where people’s remains were relocated when the next door railway line was built. It stands as a reminder that a final resting place is not always so final, and is often quoted as being a symbol of the moral and ethical problems that can arise. The sundial is also a memorial to these graves but the tree is far more emotive in my mind.
Tightly packed graves around the Hardy Tree
It is called the Hardy Tree named after the Victorian author and poet Thomas Hardy who worked in the graveyard clearing the graves as an apprentice architect. He wrote a poem titled The Levelled Churchyard about his not so pleasant experiences there moving coffins and remains away from the planned train line.
Not only is this an impressive and unusual sight to see, it does make us notice and question the fact that once we are gone there may not be anyone to stop our remains being interrupted. Space issues and new developments will often encounter human remains, and they will be moved to another spot, bringing to light all kinds of questions around what is happening.
The wall of the railway looms behind the tree.
Let me know what you think on this! Would you like to see the Hardy Tree? What does it make you think of? Thank you for reading as always and enjoy the nice weather if you have it where you are!
P.S. don’t forget the upcoming death cafe from my pervious post! If you are thinking of coming let me know.