Monday, 25 July 2011

The Black Death without?

I featured The Church of St Lawrence the Martyr back in Dec 2008 and when Pam and I were wandering through the back lanes we paid it another visit.

Hougham, or as were informed by a neighbour of the church, Hougham Without, sits quite high on the downs between Dover and Folkestone. The significance of the full name is that the Parish of Hougham was outside the walls of Dover. Although I'd read James Antony Syms account of the Church he makes no mention of one of the surprises there.

We were informed by the same local mine of information. that there were some interesting grave stones in the church yard. Two of the grave stones have symbols of Skull and Cross Bones on them. The one above being particularly striking. There seem to be quite a lot of similar headstones around and many explanations for them. There may be an association with the Knights Templar or the Masons. This certainly has been suggested at other sites.

We were told that these are probably the graves of people who had died from the plague and had been buried here because it was "Without". I thought that most victims of the plague were buried in mass graves, but it does seem a feasible explanation.

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