Exhibited in Leicester

It was warm enough in the sun this morning but windy and decidedly cold standing in the shade, and as we were too early for our 10:30 slot, my friend Glenda a member of the ‘be there in good time’ brigade, we walked to the rear of the church to seek that sun. 

Which we did, alongside a small L-shaped churchyard grassed over, mostly, devoid of all but a few headstones, some set deep in the lower branches of buddleia bushes that had grown unchecked around them. 

Those gravestones that could be read were old – 1654 stated one of them – and part-obscured by spongy, browny-green grass, recently trimmed with council-workmen-style lack of care. 

I stepped over to one of them, an ornate tomb, sandstone corners smoothed with age though its granite plaque still clearly declared the good deeds of Alderman Newton, twenty-six of his own pounds donated to forever clothe and educate the children of this town, and three-and-a-quarter thousand granted to other charities in his will. 

The stones along the yard walls were obscured by blackberry bushes, their fruit thick and juicy in this hidden patch of land standing within sound of Leicester’s busy inner ring road. I picked one and winced. ‘Not as sweet as Henry Fearon’s,’ I said, swallowing the pips. ‘But fed by the bones of the dead, just the same.’

A gravestone in the churchyard of All Saints’ Church, High Cross Street, Leicester.

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