Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.IV | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Drumcoltran Tower [PT.II]


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IV | From the Parapet | 35mm | 720nm Infrared.

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V | From the Third ‘Floor’ | 21mm.

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VI | Without: Within | 21mm.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Postcards from the Recovery Position | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, rural, structures

Gelston Castle [PT.I] | 720nm Infrared.


To date, no ruin has ever taken my breath away on a first encounter as much as Gelston Castle did, on this day, one month ago.  As I understand, it is not under the umbrella of any protective organisation and, stands on land now being run as holiday accommodation, in the village of Gelston, between Castle Douglas and the Palnackie to Auchencairn road. Completed around 1805, designed by Richard Crichton (a pupil of Robert Adam) Gelston Castle was built by Sir William Douglas, of Castle Douglas.  During WWII, the house was requisitioned in order to care for handicapped boys evacuated from Glasgow and, once this use had ceased, it was de-roofed, never to be inhabited again. 

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I | Rear Elevation | 35mm | 720nm IR | X100-IR.

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Those of you who are regular readers of my pages will know that whenever the sun is out, if I am shooting beneath it, my IR cameras are the first tools I’d reach for. On this day however, conditions were unpredictable at best. This meant that I required around two to three hours to make enough images to cover my wish-list, at least, as frequent and prolonged cloud-cover tested my patience somewhat. With that said, I could have wandered around here for many more hours than I did. A beautiful monument, some of the most fabulous, fine architecture I have seen of late and, a lovely spot for just being what it is amidst stunning countryside views. 

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II | Front & Side Elevation | 35mm | 720nm | X100-IR.

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Shooting these old ruins is becoming a bit of a habit of late – one I am happy to continue to immerse myself in, I must say. When I am back on my feet, I’m going to go a-hunting again!  Though I must remain patient – another ten weeks or more, I can’t wait.

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III | Rear Elevation Between Tall Trees | 35mm | 720nm IR | X100-IR.

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Postcards from the Recovery Position [PT.I]
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Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

900 Year-Old Details.


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V | Entrance Gate -720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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VI | Fraction – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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VII | Fraction [II] – 720nm Infrared | 21mm.

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VIII | Fraction [III] – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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[Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm Infrared – PT.I]
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Dundrennan Abbey | 720nm IR | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, ruins, structures

On Days Like These.


I. | The Abbey – 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Okay, okay! I have a thing about old buildings and magnificent, ancient stonework. It could be worse. Instead of cameras, I could have a PS or an Xbox (whatever they are – but hear that they are also quite popular?) 

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II. | From an Outer Doorway – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Over the last almost twenty years, I have visited and revisited Dundrennan Abbey on more occasions than I can remember. Mary, Queen of Scots spent her last night in Scotland, here, before being escorted across the Solway Firth by the English, to Carlisle Castle where she would spend the next nineteen years as a prisoner before being executed, in 1587. Whether for the scenery, the history, or both – I have never tired of shooting here. Two days ago, I visited again and, with my IR converted GR in hand – spent around an hour making a few more frames. The groundsman (Pete) was also on site, fixing the ol’ place up a bit, ready for the spring and summer onslaught of visitors, but mostly, I had perfect ‘alone’-time to wander round and grab a few angles that I had missed over previous visits. Here, I wanted to simply show a few frames of some of Dundrennan’s beautiful arches – in a tad more detail, with each shot.

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III. | Through an Interior Arch – 720nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Shooting in IR under ideal conditions (bright sunshine and few clouds) really does bring out the contrast and utter magnificence of places like this – and I have no doubt that there are more just like this, waiting for me to capture. As spring and summer progress, I know already that I am going to have a very busy season indeed, not just for having so many places to shoot, but in the first instance – being able to visit them and soak up so much atmosphere, history and enjoying too, a complete change of pace. On days like these, there’s truly nothing better. 

R.

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IV. | Zenith – 720nm Infrared | 21mm.

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.III | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, photography, rural, structures

The Last of the First | Ricoh GR Infrared.


To say that I love shooting with an IR-converted GR is an understatement. As Drumlanrig has been its initial proving-ground, I know all too well that I will have to return when spring has worked its magic, and the leaves have returned to complete the effect. More than likely, I will also be looking to compare outputs between this wonderful conversion and, my converted X100 – I know already it’ll be a very close call. Furthermore, as the gardens to the house will soon be open again to the public (on my recent visit, the groundsmen were working furiously to prepare them) I feel extremely excited to know that I will have much more time here, to explore again – and yes, shoot to my heart’s content, should conditions be fair. Hopefully, photographically speaking- I will be able to do this place much more justice. I’m not there yet, but my shutter-finger is twitching already at the prospect; and my impatience is becoming increasingly apparent. Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy these two frames as much as I have. 

R.

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V | Drumlanrig Castle | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 250th – f8 – ISO:100

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VI | Lined | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 125th – f7.1 – ISO:100

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Drumlanrig Castle [720nm IR] | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography, structures

About Turn | Ricoh GR Infrared.


Each of us has the right to change our minds. (That’s my excuse and, I’m sticking to it!) Insosaying, last month, I wrote a post about my newly converted GR – to 450nm, internally. The idea was that I’d be able to choose my preferred wavelengths for split-spectrum or infrared photography, but, things have been simplified rather, thanks to a few unwelcome dust-spots on its sensor. (Every cloud, an’ all that?) I arranged for the sensor to be cleaned and, in the interests of keeping the camera compact (without having to use the filter adapter for mounting an IR filter over the lens) I opted to have the internal 450nm glass removed and replaced with my preferred 720nm glass, instead. This has turned out to be a monumentally productive decision. 

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I | Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill | 720nm IR | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 180th – f8 – ISO:100

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These two frames are the first that I’m publishing from this new conversion and, after what started out as an uncertain day for IR captures – I have to say that I am utterly blown away by what this GR-720nm can resolve. Compared to my X100 conversion, I definitely see more details in the GRs shadows, though the Fuji does have better overall dynamic range and, controls the highlights a little better. The GRs files do look more organic to me (which is why I have always loved them for black and white work) and, in such compact form, no longer having to use the filter adapter to capture frames like this, it’s ridiculous how little I have to carry in order to get results such as these. Happy? Pahhh… doesn’t even come close!

R.

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II | Drumlanrig Castle | 720nm IR + ND500 | 35mm Internal Crop / 4:3 – 8″ – f16 – ISO:100

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Morton Castle Ruins, Scotland | PT.III – Finale | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, landscape, photography, ruins, structures, waterscape

Its Place in Time.


At the risk of posting somewhat predictably of late, I can safely say that this is to be the last in my recent series of images taken at Morton. Since visiting, despite the awfulness of the weather and light-conditions at the time, it should be of no surprise that I fully intend to return to the ruins as soon as I possibly can; hopefully when conditions are far more conducive to my intentions, perhaps. Such a place is somewhat of a rarity – though local landscapes are abound with dilapidated historical and dare I say, romantic relics, however, Morton has a situation, a place-in-time so to speak, that can render one utterly speechless simply for the sight of it. Though I did try to capture the site from a number of angles and perspectives which might express just how romantic this place is, I know that I can do better. Finer weather would be a real treat, though. Yes, I shall certainly return – and, it won’t be a day too soon. 

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VII. | Morton Castle & Loch | 35mm.

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VIII. | East-Side D-Turret | 35mm.

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IX. | East-Nor-East [II] | 35mm.

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I very much hope that you’ll have enjoyed this series. 

R.


(For more images in this series, simple click on the ‘morton castle’ tag.)
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Morton Castle Ruins, Scotland | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, landscape, photography, ruins, structures, waterscape

Solitude.


Occasionally, words only serve to get in the way. 

R.

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IV. | Morton Castle | 35mm.

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V. | Morton, from the Dam [II] | 35mm.

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VI. | Westerly, over Morton Loch | 35mm.

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(For more images in this series, simple click on the ‘morton castle’ tag.)
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Morton Castle Ruins, Scotland | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, landscape, photography, ruins, structures, waterscape

For E.J. Dexter, et al.


Merely a name – painstakingly, thoughtfully carved into a door that is certainly nowhere near as old as the ruins themselves, still, looking at every carving – it is eery to almost feel the presence of so many visitors (perhaps even occupants) from the past. Morton Castle dates back to the 12th Century and, has been deconstructed, burned down, rebuilt and, has changed hands (and purpose) a good number of times in its long history. Much of that may have been well documented, however, there remains much mystery still about the place.

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I. |  Scores on the Doors | 35mm.

Morton Castle, Nr.Thornhill

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It will be all too apparent that I love old, ancient, historical buildings. Mostly though (in my laziness I suppose) it’s mainly a structural interest, a personal fascination owed to the immense ingenuity and graft (and time) that has been used or spent to create such unbelievable places, observing their spaces and  surroundings – even feeling their purpose. Yes, Morton has true presence. On arrival, the weather was probably of the worst kind for making photographs – I would not be capturing in infrared today. The sky, a heavy grey, the drizzle constant and, the clouds were getting lower over the nearby hills; but, my word – what an atmosphere. Like a child in a proverbial sweet-shop, I flipped constantly between excitement and fascination as I tried to take it all in. My brain couldn’t absorb it quickly enough; and the rain, though with small pockets of respite, was getting a tad heavier. 

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II. | Morton, from the Dam | 35mm.

Morton Castle, Nr.Thornhill

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On the east side of the ruin, at the base of the mound upon which it sits, is situated a dam that was built around the early 19th century, to purposely flood what was then marshland, in order that Morton Loch could be created and, it surrounds the site on three of its sides. Thus, in its elevated position, surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery and calm waters, even the dullness of the day could not spoil a single part of it. The only sounds to be heard were those of gentle breezes, the occasional oyster-catcher in the distance and, regular footfalls in the thick, sodden grasses. The fact that my camera was catching water from the persistent light rain did not deter me either. I honestly think that I would have sacrificed it just to get the shots that I did. With not another soul within miles, the isolation felt truly breath-taking and, on a finer day – I will (happily) spend many, many hours here. Nonetheless, the moodiness of the day lent its artistic hand to Morton’s space, a new beat in my chest that instils passions renewed and, a fierce anticipation of returning.

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III. | East-Nor-East | 35mm.

Morton Castle, Nr.Thornhill

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Perfectly ‘Scotland’? On a day such as this – yes, most certainly!

I do hope that you enjoy this, my first instalment of Morton Castle – it’s a very special place to which I am sure very few photographs can possibly do justice. (For more images in this series, simple click on the ‘morton castle’ tag.)

R. 

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Stone, Cold, Hazy | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, photography, ruins, structures

Sweetheart Abbey.


The ruins of Sweetheart Abbey stand on the edge of the village of New Abbey, not even a ten minute drive from Dumfries along the Solway coast-road. On this particular day, temperatures were freezing and, the fog was thick, still I made my way in the hope that I might make some frames of this lovely structure in the mists. As I suspected, there were no other visitors on this day which would have made composition and exclusion a lot simpler however,  sadly, on arrival, I discovered that around 40% of the site was clad high in scaffolding and, almost half of the grounds were cordoned-off with temporary fences covered with CCTV warnings and police signage. Bit of a mood-killer, to say the least. With a little careful framing, however, I was able to grab a few frames of this gorgeous structure – not quite what I intended when I set out, but – almost close. 

I hope you’ll enjoy these few, only slightly misty captures.

R.

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A Different Light | PT.II | 720nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, structures

Resolution.


For over an hour I have been sitting at my laptop, reviewing recently processed images that I was able to capture during a leisurely walk around Dumfries on what was a beautifully sunny day, under the clearest, bluest sky. As  my tummy rumbles, my choices become even more difficult as I now find myself distracted by the whiff of lunch emanating from the kitchen. But it can wait – I’ve decided, but it hasn’t been an easy choice. You see, I’ve lived here for almost twenty years now and, almost all of my photo-excursions (the landscapes, anyway) have had me concentrate heavily on rural scenes and views, making the most from infrared light wherever possible and insosaying, I have never, ever – in all of my time here, wandered through or around the town with my cameras. Though I had them with me, my only wish for such a beautiful day was that I might snag a few IR frames along the River Nith, after which, on approaching the town in search of at least one cafe with an ‘Open’ sign (which was more difficult than I thought it would be), I wasn’t thinking about making any more images at all, just… hot chocolate.

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I | The Venue Nightclub Building | 720nm IR | 24mm | 1/125th | f8 | ISO: 835.

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Nevertheless, leaving the riverside and heading into town, my ever scanning eye became increasingly keen as my recent fascination and enjoyment of strong structures again came to the fore and against such a deep blue backdrop, it was impossible to ignore these few frames-to-be. For colour enthusiasts I make no apology; I am delighted to share these captures of a place I know so well and yet, until now, have never seen quite like this. I take this as stark reminder to keep my eyes and, my mind open – especially to all that is right in front of me; that which I see almost every day – and don’t even notice. Of course, this applies to life just as it does to photography. A new resolution, perhaps?

To all of you who read, follow, click  or comment – I thank you and, wish you a very happy and prosperous 2019. I hope you’ll enjoy these few frames.

R.

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II | Spire of St. Theresa’s | 720nm IR | 35mm | 125th | f6.7 | ISO: 308.

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III | Greyfriars | 720nm IR | 24mm | 1/125th | f8 | ISO: 283.
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Inside a Mile | 720 & 850nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, nature, photography, trees

Ali: Did Not Float Like a Butterfly.


No, it packed real punches. A few shots from within just a one-mile radius of my home, taken during and after the storm hit. Sorry that this one is a little image-heavy (compared to my usual number) but I hope you will find them worth your perusal, (not least because it took me over two hours to upload, over a very dodgy mobile-phone hotspot connection to my laptop). The damage doesn’t look too ridiculous if these shots alone are to lend some kind of testament to Ali’s total severity, and, I am sure that there are many other far more devastating images out there. However, in my never-ending quest for the real – here are some captures from around me. I would say that I hope you enjoy, but, that would sound perverse; still, you know what I mean, right? 

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I. | During | 850nm IR.

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II. | After | 720nm IR.

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III. | After | 720nm IR.

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IV. | After | 720nm IR.

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V. | After | 720nm IR.

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VI. | After | 720nm IR.

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VIII. | Peace at Last | 8500nm IR.

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Show Me a Sign | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, landscape, photography, ruins

The Crossing.


My fascination with old ruins and cemeteries has nothing at all to do with religion (take that any way you will) – but has in truth, everything to do with the fact that such subjects, in the right light, can make beautiful topics for black and white photographs and what’s more, 35 is perfect for this kind of caper. That’s why, on my way home from work on Sunday morning, I stopped at The Cross to photograph this ol’ church (upon which, the local council, as well as boarding-up most of the gorgeous arched windows (sigh!) has thoughtfully mounted a bold blue & white sign reporting that “This Building is in Ruin…”, (as though it were not obvious) and words to the effect that “All Ye Who Enter, Beware of Death!”  Nonetheless, it get’s them off the hook I s’ppose and, seeing as how everything has to be so obviously safety-netted in this age, largely I presume for the terminally unaware hence, and more importantly, local authority backsides well and truly covered, it’s no surprise that it’s there. But it is a shame that someone felt the need to point out the (bleedin’) obvious and in so doing deface this Gothic gem. Still, the sign is on the north side and the sun was already rising in an almost cloudless sky in the east – I could navigate around it. The graveyard itself has three Georgian burial enclosures where are interred both civilian deceased and many, even more sobering war-graves.  

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The truth is, the fact that I only live up the road from this Gothic ruin means that I have driven past it more times that I could possibly imagine and, have always meant to stop and capture it when the light’s been suitable – and when it has been, my cameras have been at home. That said, I have taken to leaving them in the car when I’m out and about, I mean, what’s the point leaving the things anywhere else? As I drove home, I pulled up outside and took a wander around it, absorbed the morning’s early sunshine and grabbed a few frames of the old place before continuing on my way home for some much needed shut-eye.

This church (built in 1817) has been in this ruined state since a fire rendered it roofless in 1975, when-abouts the alter was removed (presumably by the Church or maybe persons unknown?) the grass though, is still maintained around the war-graves and the air of the place, especially when wandering around alone on a beautiful early Sunday morning, is one of the most peaceful imaginable. I only hope that this comes across even just a little, in these frames. 

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Thank you.

A Life & Death Contrast | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, photography, spring, sunset

Pirate Graves | Beneath, Between & Behind.


Whilst I love the coming of spring and, all of the wondrous new life that emerges with it, I seem also, conversely, perhaps even perversely, to have a little bit of a fascination for graveyards, church ruins, and dare I say it, possibly too, death. It’s not a consuming passion you must understand; perhaps more – they are simply notions of enquiry, empathy and a tinge of metaphysical intrigue. In a crude way, such intrigue was piqued a few evenings ago when I took a short after-dinner walk along the river, just before sunset, to the nearby site of a very old church, some three-hundred or so years past, the remains of which are now completely gone. What remains on the site, however, are around four or five dozen headstones and burial plots. With my camera in my pocket, I took a very leisurely but intent look at the stones and markers whilst enjoying the sound of the river and the golden, still warming shimmer from the setting sun behind me. On such an evening as this, my shutter-finger itches a little more than usual and it’s all I can do to keep my hand from reaching for my camera. Still, sometimes I prefer to take my time and just ponder, to look and take in – when the light is almost certain to not imminently disappear, that is. It was one of these kinds of evenings.

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I. Iron, Stone & Wood.

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II. In Memory.

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One of the general giveaways as to the potential wealth (or debt) of the departed and their immediate family, can often be perceived from the size, design and material and, wordage contained within their plot and, of their stone or marker. With this realisation in mind, you may be able to imagine my intrigue when, upon not too intense perusal, I discovered that the locally called ‘Pirate Graves’ actually existed – with no markings, barring the obvious emblem of the skull and crossed-bones and little to nothing else that might identify he or she below. They lay between areas filled with the stones of seemingly important people of their time (mostly from around the early 18th Century) and, this befuddled me somewhat. As I was unable to find any indications as to the years of burial on these so-called Pirate stones, I have no idea as to whether they are older than the stones marking the spots of the more affluent, or not.

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III. Skull-[un]-duggery?

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Some part of me cannot wholly accept that there were or are actual pirates buried here. Perhaps instead, there were stylistic and symbolistic changes after the Reformation and I would need to research this in much more depth. Their crudeness certainly seems to suggest a lack of patterning or stone-masonry skill. Perhaps too, they simply weren’t regarded all that highly and the skull and crossbones was their final judgement and the badge which they would wear for the rest of their eternities?

Nonetheless, all of these graves exist to intrigue, if no-one else, me – not only by their seemingly obvious socially contrasting proximity to one another but also for the fact that nothing (short of an exhumation), will ever be able to reveal anything about who the unnamed, were

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IV. Beneath, Between & Behind.

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Thank you.

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