St James’s Cemetery, Liverpool

Last summer I visited Liverpool for the first time. I’m not sure what I expected, but I really rather liked the place. A little grimy perhaps, but with a lot of charm and some truly interesting buildings. In particular though, I was absolutely fascinated with St. James’s Cemetery.

St James Cemetery-7At first glance the place looks like any regular churchyard, sat in a hollow beneath the city’s cathedral. But the cemetery is in fact located below ground level, tucked away into an old stone quarry… and the cathedral itself wasn’t completed until 1970.

The cemetery is impressive from the get-go, as visitors enter through a carved stone tunnel lined in gravestones. From there the quarry opens up, stone walls studded with catacombs and wrapped around a grassy lawn where grave markers rise at crooked angles in red, black and white stone.

It was an incredibly peaceful place to explore, and I found myself stopping to read the inscriptions on many of the gravestones. They told some interesting stories – and I couldn’t help but notice the proliferation of occult and masonic symbolism scattered about the place.

Not that that’s necessarily strange for a cemetery, but here it was rampant. Skulls and bones, hammers and sickles, all seeing eyes… I’d love to do a little more research on the cemetery and the people buried there. I gathered that many of them were involved in shipping, and so perhaps there were local maritime lodges they belonged to.

I feel like there are some good stories to be dug up here, and the place was highly photogenic – both the cemetery, and inside the modern cathedral itself. As such, I think this one might deserve a feature on the front page of the blog one of these days. It’s been a while since I published a good cemetery post.

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