Wednesday, 26 December 2012

St Georges Church & Graveyard - Beckenham

You will find the site on High Street, Bromley Road in Beckenham, Kent. The site is relatively easy to get to. Beckenham Junction rail and tram are right next to it. There are also plenty of buses going that way including the 54 and 367. There are 2 entrances; there is the main entrance, located at the front of the church and another which you can access through the park right next to it. The graveyard is in the London Borough of Bromley.

The building itself dates back to 1100. In 1885, the graveyard and the church began refurbishment and in 1887, it was completed.

William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland – A British statesman and diplomat. The Auckland Islands, New Zealand, were named after him.

The site has no other recorded previous names. Seeing as it was built in the 12th century however, it could have gone by another name them but we will never know.

The layout of the site, excluding the park right next to it, is roughly that of a square shape. The size of the site is about 0.6 hectares.

I came across this place as I was setting out to do a walkabout of another graveyard. I couldn’t believe that it was right there and I had never noticed it before. I only live about 10 minutes from the place! Straight off, I hate that it is stuck in the middle of quite a busy road. I always feel that these places need the quiet out of respect. At the main entrance, you are greeted by a 13th century lych gate. This is one of the oldest ones in England apparently. It’s a beautiful dark oak colour. The gate leads on to a stone path that takes you to the front door of the parish. It’s a beautiful Victorian structure with its famous stained glass windows. The building is built in ragstone with an ashlar dressing. It is extremely grand, there are no other ways to describe it.

There are actually quite a few graves around here. All of them from at least the 19th century, they are very well preserved and looked after. There are a great amount of trees and bushes to give it more of a naturist feel but not enough to destroy or hide the gravestones. There are quite a few monuments here too. Most of them seem to be that of past priests and their families. It is so hard to believe the amount of graves that are actually in here yet it does not seem cramped at all! What I loved most was the line of graves that were facing into the park right next to it. I can’t describe why I like it, I just do. Maybe for me, it was almost like looking into a different world.     

There is not much else I can really tell you about this place as it is quite small. It really is just one of those places where you have to come and see for yourself. If the graves aren’t your thing then the building itself will ce4rtainly take your breath away. They have maintained all of the trees and the bushes so that they can bring a bit of wildlife back to the place. It seems to have worked as there where squirrels everywhere.

Whilst I was there I noticed that even though the site is in the middle of a somewhat busy junction, when you are exploring the place it actually appears eerily quiet. I don’t know whether this is because I subconsciously shut out the noise or it just wasn’t that noisy at all. Due to this, I could get a real feeling of the place. I felt a few times that I could hear whispering but shrugged it off due to the background noise.

As I was going through my photos, I caught this weird image. Not so much a ghost but what appears like a strange creature. I am aware that there could be a great chance that it could be part of a gravestone or even a piece of rock on the floor but I am pretty sure that nothing was there when I took it.

I am usually quite skeptical with graveyards that are so close to a main road, only because I feel that it ruins the peace and serenity of the place, but this one is truly magnificent. Don’t let the size or the surroundings cloud your judgment, it really does hold its own. It is beautiful in all seasons, especially the autumn, and there is plenty of history to be explored. It is definitely one to check out if you are in the area.   

“Respect those who are not physically here, you can’t see them but they can see you, and disrespect is something they don’t want to see”

RATING: 5/5 – Despite the traffic right outside it, I absolutely love this place, utterly stunning.




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