You expect burial vaults to be locked.
And if they're not locked you expect them not to be burial vaults.
So, there I was in Chiddingstone churchyard looking at this...
And the door was a little ajar...
Maybe it's a fancy shed, full of gardening tools.
So I opened it.
I went down the very steep stairs, turned left at the bottom and there- on racks- receding into the dark- were all these 18th and 19th century coffins, covered in velvet- which must once have been blue but is now the colour of rust. Very M.R. James. I didn't take any pictures because it seemed disrespectful.
Lets return to that second picture. The bust is Henry Streatfeild (sic) who died in 1747. His epitaph reads
A lover of all lawful liberty,
Dependent on no man,
True to his trust,
Just in his dealings,
Charm'd with retirement,
Delighted in planting,
His passions always followed by repentance.
I love that "often". He wasn't always obliging, just often. The last line is wonderful too.
Chiddingstone, by the way, is very, very pretty. The whole village belongs to The National trust. Ah, Magnolia!