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Regeneration V: The Outcast Dead

Walking past a seemingly unremarkable street, bordered on one side by a concreted and overgrown vacant plot, I noticed a small group of people looking intently at something within. My curiosity piqued, I decided to investigate.

It turns out this abandoned bit of land was an unconsecrated graveyard called the ‘Cross Bones Graveyard‘, used during medieval times for the burial of ‘Winchester Geese’ – prostitutes. The iron gate has been turned into a memorial shrine by local residents and is decorated with a profusion of ribbon, plastic flowers, cards, notes and other paraphernalia. To one side, I found these figurines. They were, to me, the most poignant memorial to the buried souls: anonymous, ghostly figures providing a brief and tenuous connection to the harsh world they inhabited.

On the gate is a commemorative plaque, the words of which I’ve transcribed below. I’ve also included, at the foot of the post, an image that gives a better sense of the context of the site (click it to view larger). And, there is even a website dedicated to the graveyard.

Cross Bones Graveyard
In medieval times this was an unconsecrated graveyard for the prostitues or ‘Winchester Geese’. By the 18th century, it had become a paupers’ burial ground, which closed in 1853. Here, local people have created a memorial shrine.
The Outcast Dead R.I.P

Cross Bones Graveyard

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5 Comments

  1. Adrian Park says:

    I also thought that at first but, in reality, they seem a bit big to be teeth. That said, I also know molars – which they would be if they are teeth – can be deceptively large.

    I think the teeth theory is plausible and, if so, it appears someone has carved the tops to resemble heads.

  2. Doug Hickok says:

    They remind me of mummies, perhaps in this case mummified memorials to the lost souls of the forgotten. What a cool and unique shot and story line Adrian! Visually speaking, I love the fascinating details and textures… there is something captivating about this image that makes me continue to look at it :^)

  3. george says:

    An astonishing image, and an even more astonishing story, that really brings home the inequalities of life and death. Thanks too Adrian for the additional link.

  4. Cristian says:

    Quintessence of sadness. Bravo!

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