One by one churches came into being, their stones layered, supported, re-layered, lost and revealed again. Centuries by centuries cathedrals were built, new styles adding and adorning their accretive stone histories.
But it is not just churches and church monuments that record the lives of people throughout history.
One Thomas Peacock came into the minds and hearts of people’s consciousness in his home street with a text on a tablet he inscribed in the wall. See the image in which he wrote, ‘One foot east of this wall is the property of Mr. Thomas Peacock’. An intriguing thing, for I ask why he did not put this inscription on his house, to mark the spot. His spot, his very own memorial. But what is interesting is that this is a memorial of a man who is still alive, rather than memorials on walls in churches we associate with those now deceased. I found this quite by chance, as I was wandering around the square where St. Peter’s Walworth is located.
For soon after, I discovered a plethora of other forms of ‘marking the spot’, in the form of numerous inscriptions on wall panels testifying to the deaths of so many, from one family and for whom it came to them so young.
To see so many deaths commemorated in one church at what would seem to us untimely and unseemly ages was as we know a commonplace then. These tablets we can assume related to people who lived in the parish of St. George and not far from the bells of Southwark Cathedral.
And yet ages of death could vary – see one tablet the oldest age at death was 34, the other a mere baby at seven weeks. There was no accounting for death then, just as there isn’t now.