Victorian Vault Mystery, Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve, Dover, Kent, UK

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Comments (8)

John Latter on April 15, 2007

An interior view of one of a line of family vaults running along the upper boundary of Cowgate Cemetery which is located just below the Black Death burial pits on the slopes of Dover's Western Heights.

Cowgate Cemetery, sometimes described as a 'Victorian' cemetery even though burials took place there before 1837, hasn't been used for its original purpose for a long time although a few exceptions were made in the early 1980s. It has now been redesignated as a Nature Reserve.

The image was taken with the camera lens pushed through a small opening into the total darkness of the vault beyond.

Like any mature adult, as soon as I noticed the open coffin on my camera's LCD monitor I double-checked the time to reassure myself it was well outside the vampire's normal office hours of sunset to sunrise (knowing my luck, however, this one was probably doing overtime so I'm keeping my fingers crossed about making it through to tomorrow...)

The overall state of the vault was very surprising: The plank resting against the far wall, the brick left lying on top of the lefthand 'tomb', the toppled slab of the righthand 'tomb' (if that's what they are), and the angled coffin-shaped plank in the left foreground.

Hmm, considering the vault's nearly 150 years-old, there's not a lot of dust about... (OMG - just realized the Vampire's probably in the middle of spring-cleaning!).

Even though its only 9 pm, I've suddenly got this strong urge to make sure all the doors and windows are locked and have an early night. So sleep tight and don't let the (deletes "vampires") bed-bugs bite!

PS Zoom into the inside of the coffin at your peril :)

Fairfield112 on April 15, 2007

uh oh I see no one inside!

John Latter on April 15, 2007

'zactly!

According to the vault inscription there's supposed to be nine bodies in there - where did they go??

I just knew I shoulda uploaded this image and posted the forum topic under someone else's name..

.. my boss's f'instance :)

John Latter on April 23, 2007

Standard Info

Abridged extracts from the plaque just inside the main (northern) entrance:

Dover's Cowgate Cemetery is named after the medieval gate which allowed townspeople to graze their animals on the lower slopes of the Western Heights.

The land, over two acres in extent, was donated by William Mowll and consecrated in 1835 by the Archbishop of Canterbury as an extension to the Parish churchyard.

The layout of the cemetery is attributed to Stephen Geary, the architect who designed London's Highgate Cemetery.

In 1990 the Wildlife Conservation Community Program (WCCP) discovered a small population of the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) living in the cemetery. The Garden Dormouse is not 'officially' recorded as living in Britain.

Click on the 'Cowgate' tag for more images/photos.

Lilypon on October 28, 2007

pURRfecT John! :)~

John Latter on September 17, 2009

Click to see a YouTube video of Cowgate Cemetery (part of which shows the exterior of the 'empty coffin' vault).

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John Latter on January 7, 2013

An interior view of one of a line of family vaults running along the upper boundary of Cowgate Cemetery which is located just below the Black Death burial pits on the slopes of Dover's Western Heights.

The burial pits are actually elsewhere on the Western Heights.

I've visited the location and hope to eventually make a video (perhaps in the summer!)

Also, the condition of the "mystery vault" in the above photo is apparently due to Grave Robbers operating in Dover area in late 1980s.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 15, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX Optio 33LF
    • Taken on 2007/04/15 08:05:56
    • Exposure: 0.017s (1/60)
    • Focal Length: 5.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/2.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • Flash fired

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