Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cemetery in Danger

Grave of Mary Champion (1692-1721), Old English Cemetery, Livorno
“Besides the pillar to the memory of Smollett, and many others worthy of attention, I particularly paused on the tomb-stone of a mother, who died in bringing into the world two infants, who are buried with her in the same grave. The figure of the mother recumbent, and of the two babes, appeared to me beautiful and affecting, although somewhat impaired by time, and exposure to the open air.”
(Robert Semple, Observations on a Journey through Spain and Italy…, 1807, II, 16-18)

The grave is that of Mary Champion (1692-1721), of a well known Cornish merchant family. She married Thomas Mitchell (1687-1730), merchant in Livorno, secretary of the East India Company and nephew of Gilbert Heathcote (1651-1732), Fellow of the Royal Society, Lord Mayor of London, and Governor of the Bank of England. She was an aunt of the poet Anthony Champion (1725-1801) and niece of Francis Arundel (1659-1712), merchant in Livorno and Bath.

I am quoting this from the website of our friend Matteo Giunti, who is fighting another battle just now to protect this and other graves in the Old English Cemetery. In December 2011 the trunk of a tree fell on a tomb, smashing the gravestone to pieces. With the heavy winds of the last days the trunk of another tree has fallen, endangering more ancient graves, but nobody seems to care.
Old English Cemetery, Livorno
I wish to clarify that the cemetery has been perfectly kept for some years now, by Matteo and other volunteers: they routinely clean it up from weeds and make it available for the occasional visits. They only need some help in out-of-the-ordinary situations, like this one.

See also: Old English Cemetery
External links: Old English Cemetery, Livorno (Wikipedia)
The Old English Cemetery of Livorno in Quotes (Leghorn Merchant Networks)
Facebook Group: Salviamo l'Antico Cimitero degli Inglesi di Livorno (Save the Old English Cemetery of Livorno)

10 comments:

Merisi said...

How sad nobody seems to care about such beauty or want to keep a piece of history that concerns two peoples. I wonder why the British Heritage department is not involved in saving it.

Michelle said...

Sad that no one seems to care. I think a memorial like this is so artistic. Nothing like we have in my area of the U.S.

Jack said...

I am sorry to read a out the damage and the neglect. This seems to be a treasure well worth protecting and preserving.

Randy said...

Beautiful things like this should be preserved.

Dina said...

This is a very sorry situation you describe.
This tomb is so special. Even simpler ones should be treated as special.

Arianna said...

Anche il cimitero monumentale di Lucca è alquanto malridotto, lì vanno i lucchesi tutti o quasi, quindi è ancora peggio...buon anno, Arianna!

Luis Gomez said...

What a beautiful place VP. I hope they get some help clearing up the branches.

JM said...

Hats off to Matteo! The tomb on top is absolutely beautiful.

Karl Demetz said...

What a shame, really a sad situation...

Dina said...

Many thanks to Matteo and all the volunteers.
Doesn't the municipality have some responsibility for this cemetery?