The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Northern England and Southern Scotland in 1841

Melrose Abbey Cemetery

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If the levelling down of the grave mounds were an objection, soil could be procured so as to raise the walk above their level, which would give it a terraced character, rather desirable than otherwise, by affording the spectator a more commanding view on each side. It is much to be regretted, that a regular system of laying out the burying-grounds of country churches is not adopted; and also a prearranged system, such as we have described in our Suburban Gardener, followed in making the interments. The walks of burying-grounds might have borders, and along each of these might be planted a row of low trees, alternately evergreen and cypress-like, and deciduous and round, or spreading-headed; and these borders might be let out in perpetuity, in portions, for erecting tombs; while the interior of the compartments might be exclusively devoted to graves having no tombs, or to persons who, or whose friends, preferred a tablet put up on the walls of the church, as a writer in the Quartely Review for September, 1842, judiciously recommends. Figs. 57. and 58., borrowed from our Suburban Gardener, will show what is meant without further explanation. We are advocates for the American mode, of allowing every man to bury on his own property, with or without a tombstone, or other mark of remembrance, as he might choose, but simply under such restrictions and regulations as public health and decency might require. We are persuaded that it will ultimately come to this, and that public grave-yards will only be resorted to by those who have no garden or field that they can call their own. Few will deny that the public health would incur less risk of being injured by such a change, and in many cases, we believe, the feeling of respect for the memory of parents and relations, and the good consequences of that feeling, would be kept more alive than is now the case under the churchyard system. The clergy alone would be the sufferers, and it would be but justice that the existing race should have a compensation.