Ophelia of the West Country

Interesting story.

texthistory

Here’s a story from one of my favourite local history books, ‘Rural Rides of the Bristol Churchgoer’ by local newspaper editor Joseph Leech. In 1843 & 4 Leech visited churches in the Bristol region anonymously, and published his  reviews, much to the terror of local vicars. the results are a wonderful insight into the art and architecture of the region, but also brilliantly observed social histories. This is one of the saddest stories I have ever come across, his visit to Stapleton, then on the bleak outskirts of the city where a Poor House had been built, to replace a prison for French prisoner of war.

“The churchyard seems to be almost wholly used as a Golgotha for the neighbouring poorhouse, as the long ranks of little red clay-mounds, with a small inscribed footstone to each, indicated. I seldom saw a more desolate and cheerless-looking resting-place for the dead in…

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