South Cowgate Lane, Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve, Dover, Kent, UK

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John Latter on December 11, 2009

Cowgate Lane is 135 yards long and lies between the lower boundary wall of Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve on the left, and Gorely House Almshouses on the right. The far (northern) end meets Cowgate Hill at the Main Entrance to Cowgate Cemetery.

The vehicles on the right are parked in Albany Place carpark. Above the white van are the flint walls and red tiles of the Gorely House Almshouses, originally donated by Mrs Susan Gorely in 1877 (see the The Gorely House Almshouses, Cowgate Hill, Dover photo for more info).

The signpost pointing left indicates the start of the Western Heights Trail which also leads (via the "64 Steps") to the Drop Redoubt Moats South East Entrance. The Drop Redoubt (containing the replica Roman Bredenstone) is part of the extensive Napoleonic and Victorian defense system embedded into the Western Heights.

Standard Info for Cowgate Cemetery

Five images of Cowgate Cemetery Nature Reserve were uploaded in 2007. This latest batch were all taken in September and October, 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).

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, middle, and lower pathways.

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

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 23, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/09/27 12:05:37
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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