These are grave mistakes… or are they?

Matthew Chatfield
Latest posts by Matthew Chatfield (see all)

The Ranger spends a remarkable amount of his time strolling around graveyards – it’s a great way to enjoy wildlife in even the most urban environment. Cemeteries and graveyards are often oases of biodiversity, as well as peaceful and beautiful places to sit and contemplate, or simply watch the plants, birds and invertebrates. Another diverting past-time for the graveyard aficionado is to look at the headstones and read the stories therein. From tiny clues much can be deduced. The dates of a family group, the blank page waiting to be filled, the young life cut short, the florid tributes which praise the survivors rather more than the departed… all tell their tales. The Ranger was startled to notice two relatively recent memorials in a graveyard where he was observing grasshoppers. They have a common feature which one would hope is not too often seen – can you spot it?



Spotted it yet? Perhaps bit more detail on that last one…


Yes, you spotted it. These graveyard residents and, what’s worse, their poor families, seem to have been rather ill-served by the monumental masons who made these memorials – they’ve both got spelling mistakes in them. Oops. Or perhaps the last one has not. Notice the delightful gold butterflies carved into the granite. Very unusual, and fairly accurate too. Not the usual overstylised and rather twee butterflies that are often seen on wrapping paper and the like. Just maybe The Ranger was standing at the final resting-place of a fellow naturalist – one who loved butterflies enough to have them on his gravestone, and who was witty enough to appreciate a subtle pun or deliberate mistake in the wording. Perhaps even one who had once enjoyed wandering in graveyards in pursuit of his hobby. It’s nice to think so.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

One thought on “These are grave mistakes… or are they?

  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I have once visited Eastern European countries and there, In Romania to be specific, there was a happy cemetery, as they called it. On their head stones, in fact crosses, there was written all the bad things and the good ones the gone one did. And you know what? It was poetry. That’s a nice idea, isn’t it?


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