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Northern Traverse Pathway (Lower), Cowgate Cemetery, Dover, Kent, UK

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John Latter on October 3, 2009

After entering the Main Gate at the north-east corner of Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve and turning left (or right with respect to the interior view), this is the scene looking up the North Traverse Pathway from the Lower (East) Pathway.

The inscription on the larger of the two headstones in the bottom-left foreground begins, "Sacred to the Memory of Mary Gouldup who died 20th November 1826, aged 25 years". The other names inscribed are Sarah Wheeler (died 20th May,1837, aged 65), Sarah Couldup (died 10th April, 1838, aged 32), Ann Gouldup (died 4th June, 1854, aged 81), and Elizabeth Ann Ratcliff (died 20th April 1855, aged 96).

Bearing in mind Cowgate Cemetery wasn't consecrated until 1835 (see below), it seems likely that Mary was moved here upon the death of Sarah Wheeler.

To the left of the base of the large tree on the far right is a headstone to Richard Fagg (died 7th September, 1882, aged 83), Rhoda Sheppard (died 7th February 1888, aged 87), and two of their children who died in infancy.

Five images of the Victorian Cowgate Cemetery were uploaded in 2007. This latest batch were all taken on Friday, 18th of September, Monday, 21st of September, or Sunday, 27th of September, 2009 (see 'Extra Information' under Photo Details in the right-hand column for camera details).

Click on the Cowgate tag to see more photos (and/or watch the YouTube video linked to below).

Standard Info

The Victorian Cowgate Cemetery is an approximate rectangle whose maximum dimensions are 150 x 70 yards. It slopes uphill from east to west with the western boundary wall (the longest) set into the lower slopes of the Western Heights.

There are three long pathways running north to south: western, middle, and eastern. To reflect the fact the cemetery is on a slope, these will be correspondingly referred to as the upper, the middle, and lower.

From east to west there are the five shorter pathways: northern boundary, northern traverse, central traverse, southern traverse, and an irregular southern boundary pathway. For simplicity (although it might not seem so!), most positional references references will be given in terms of the three traversing pathways.

In other words, the burial areas of the cemetery are set out in a 4 v 2 grid pattern with a row of family vaults running along the upper boundary wall.

Abridged extracts from the plaque just inside the main (north) 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 (William Howley) as an extension to the Parish churchyard (St Mary`s).

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 to see a YouTube Video of Dover`s Victorian Cowgate Cemetery (part of which shows the exterior of the 'empty coffin' vault).

For more information see The Dover Society - Cowgate Cemetery Project and Cowgate Cemetery Volunteers.

John Latter / Jorolat

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 3, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/09/21 11:37:16
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/7.100
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash