The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 10 Burial Grounds

Stepney and St. Dunstans churchyards

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Stepney is the largest of all these disused churchyards, and covers 7 acres. It was opened as a public garden in 1887. The beautiful old Perpendicular church of St. Dunstan, with its carved gargoyles and fine old tower, which escaped the fire that destroyed the roof, stands on a low level, with the large square stone graves, of which there are a great quantity, on higher mounds round it. The central path, the old approach to the church, has trees on either side, and runs straight across the graveyard, and is as peaceful-looking as the walk in many a country churchyard. The way the laying out as a garden has been carried out is unfortunate in many respects. The number of the big, stone, box-like monuments made it difficult to carry intersecting paths across between them, so a plan hardly to be commended has been followed, of half burying a number of these, and planting bushes in the earth thus thrown about, and putting the necessary frames for raising plants in the centre. To place the frames against the wall, and make a raised path or terrace among the tombs, and not to have banked them up with a kind of rockery of broken pieces, might have been more fitting. The part of the ground which is less crowded is well planted. Birch and alder (Alnus cordifolia) are doing well, and a nice clump of gorse flourishes.