Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Winged Heads, Skulls, Crossbones

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

All photographs taken at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Cookham Berkshire.

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Tuesday 19 June 2012

Sir Stanley Spencer of Cookham

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Gravestone of Sir Stanley Spencer CBE RA, Holy Trinity Churchyard, Cookham Berkshire.

"To The Memory Of
Stanley Spencer
1891 - 1959
And his wife
Buried in Cookham Cemetery 1950

Everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love - 1 John 4:7"

Sir Stanley Spencer was born at Fernlea, High Street, Cookham on 30th June 1891 to William, a music teacher and Anne Caroline Spencer nee Slack.  On the that day a crow fell down the chimney and flapped about the living room until released. The family thought it a good omen and named Stanley after Stanley Spencer, a prominent balloonist of the era.


Much of Stanley's early education was at the village school run by his sisters, he eventually attended Maidenhead Technical School where his artistic training began, before enrolling at Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London.  Here he won the Composition Prize for ‘The Nativity’, and oil on canvas painted in 1912

The Nativity - 1912

In 1915 Stanley volunteered to serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps where he served as a orderly at The Beaufort War Hospital.  In 1916 he volunteered to serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Macedonia where he served with the 68th Field Ambulance Unit.  He later requested to be transferred to the Berkshire Regiment.  Stanley's experience of the horrors of war were to forever mark his attitude towards life and death, an influence that can be seen in many of his religious paintings.

Towards the end of the Great War Stanley was commissioned by the the War Artists Advisory Committee to paint visions of war from Macedonia.  Stanley painted what is now referred to as 'Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing Station at Smol.'  The painting is kept at the Imperial War Museum.

Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing Station at Smol

In 1925 Stanley married Hilda Carline, who at that time was a student of Slade School of Fine Art.  They had two daughters together, Shirin and Unity. 

Hilda, Unity and Dolls - 1937

However Hilda and Stanley were to divorce in 1937 when the girls were 7 and 11 due to Stanley's obsession with another woman, Patricia Preece.  A week after his divorce Stanley had married Patricia, but it was not to be a happy marriage.  Patricia was a con artist and a lesbian, whose interest in Stanley only extended as far as his money.  She somehow managed to persuade Stanley to sign over his house to her.  Patricia continued to live with her lover Dorothy Hepworth and the marriage was never consummated, yet when her 'relationship' with Stanley fell apart she refused to grant him a divorce. 

Hepworth, Preece, Spencer and guest
at Stanley's wedding to Patricia Preece in 1937

Stanley was to forever regret his decision to leave Hilda and his daughters for Patricia.  When Hilda's mental health began to fail, Stanley would visit her, but the damage to their relationship was already done.  In 1950 Hilda died of cancer.  Stanley continued to write love letters to Hilda long after her death.  In 1945 Stanley had moved to Cliveden View House in Cookham Rise, a house built by his builder grandfather Julius Spencer and previously lived in by his sister Annie.

Stanley was to become a familiar sight in Cookham, pushing a battered black pram that contained his canvas and easel.
Sir Stanley Spencer with his pram in Cookham Lane - 1958

In 1959 Stanley was knighted, later that year on 14th December he died of cancer at The Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital in Taplow Buckinghamshire.

1954 Portrait of Sir Stanley Spencer by Ida Kar
© National Portrait Gallery, London

For more Taphophile Tragics posts, please click here.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Dunkelsbuhler - Angels and Diamonds

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Angel monument to Kathleen Dunkles, Frances Dunkels and Ernest Dunkles.

"Kathleen Dunkles 15 August 1906
Frances Dunkles 16 December 1953
Ernest Dunkels 12 September 1956"

Ernest Dunkles was born Ernest Dunkelsbuhler in London, Middlesex in 1880 to German parents Anton and Minna Dunkelsbuhler.  Anton was a famous diamond dealer who owned Anton Dunkelsbuhler & Company.  Ernest became a barrister and assumed the surname Dunkles in 1895, perhaps he felt it would be easier for his clients and neighbours than Dunkelsbuhler.

In 1909 Ernest married Frances S Van Nostrand, who travelled to England from New York on the ship Germanic on 9th June 1897.  On the Incoming Passengers List her occupation is listed simply as 'Lady'.  The lived together in Woodhurst Maidenhead and in 1916 Ernest enlisted and served in The Great War.  Frances passed away in the December of 1953, but not before giving Ernest four children.  Ernest was to follow his wife three years later.

Kathleen Dunkles was born Fanny Dunklesbuhler in London, Middlesex in 1878.  She was Ernest's elder sister.  Sometime between 1891 and 1906 Fanny changed her name to Kathleen, possibly a middle name, and took to using it instead of Fanny.  Ernest was to name his first daughter born in 1910, Kathleen after his sister.

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Julie from Taphophile Tragics and Sydney Eye asked a question relating to last week's Manlove post.

But there was another daughter , if I interrpert 'elder & beloved daughter' correctly.  I wonder what happend to the younger daughter.

Joseph and Eleanor had three children during their marriage, two who survived them.  Joseph Swailes Manlove born in October 1881 in Islington Middlesex and Dorothy Mary Manlove born on 27th December 1901 in Maidenhead.

Joseph became a bank cashier and married Alice Gertrude Maunder on 7th October 1909 in Marylebone London.  Joseph died in 1937 Tonbridge Kent.

All that I can find out about Dorothy is that she didn't marry and died a spinster in 1988 in Maidenhead.  It is possible that she rests in the same cemetery as her parents and elder sister.  A challange for my next visit?

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Windows Into The Past - Ceramic Gravestone Memorials

(c) Headstones and History

Ceramic photograph memorials allow us a peek into the grave and a glimpse into the past.

Ceramic photographs started in 1854 when two french invented patented a method for fixing photographic images onto enamel or porcelain by firing in a kiln.  At first these enamels were used for home viewing before paper photos replaced them.  Soon after the custom of adding ceramic memorials to gravestones spread throughout southern and eastern Europe and into America.

Sadly due to weathering and sometimes vandalism, these wonderful windows into the past are disappearing. Laurel Mellien at Headstones and History has been taking photographs of these vanishing memorials, in the hopes of preserving what remains.

(c) Headstones and History

Showing signs of damamge.
(c) Headstones and History

(c) Headstones and History

(c) Headstones and History

Even pets were memoralised
(c) Headstones and History

For more information on the history of ceramic and enamel photograph memorials please click here.

To more fantastic ceramic memorial photographs and further information on gravestone symbolism, visit Laurel Mellien's Facebook page Headstones and History.

All photographs copyright of Headstones and History and reproduced with permission.

** Originally posted on Herding Cats

Tuesday 5 June 2012


Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Monument to Winifred Florence, Eleanor Amelia and Joseph Henry Manlove.  All Saints Cemetery, Maidenhead Berkshire.

"In Loving Memory of

Winifred Florence, elder & beloved daughter of J.H and E.A Manlove
Born May 2nd 1884 - Died 28th Nov 1909
Thanks be to God which Giveth us the victory
Through  our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Cor 15. 57


Eleanor Amelia Manlove
Bleoved wife of J.H Manlove
Born Feb 26th 1861 - Died May 15th 1928
"With Christ which is far better"

And of

Joseph Henry Manlove
Born June 8th 1856 - Died Oct 26th 1938

At Rest"

Joseph Henry Manlove was born in Maidenhead Berkshire in 1856 to Richard George Manlove, a coach builder and his wife Hannah Manlove nee Marks.

Joseph, now an Iron Foundary Manager, married Eleanor Amelia Wright in Hackney in 1880 and their second child Winifred Florence was born in the May of 1884.  Winifred was to die in the November of 1909 aged 25 years.

Eleanor Amelia was the daughter of John Wright a London Greengrocer and his wife Mary Ann born in London in 1861.

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