All Saints Parish Church in Bakewell is in the heart of the Peak District and it has so much to offer. Below is a collection of my favourite photographs taken inside the church as well as outside in the graveyard and hopefully, I will entice you to pay a visit.
Pidcock Weathered Skulls Headstone, Bakewell
The first headstone that caught my eye within the graveyard of Bakewell Parish Church, was this magnificent carving dating back to 1716. It must have looked amazing hundreds of years ago and I’m guessing that it had three skulls on the top section, with the lower skull being a classic Memento Mori, skull and crossbones.
Drapery Symbolises Mourning
The lower section is lavish in drapery, which usually depicts the veil between life and death and the crossing of that plane. To others it can symbolise God’s protection until Resurrection.
On the side of the headstone was the inscription below and it looks to read, ‘tho Pidcock Plumer was interred Aug 16, 1718‘. I’ve tried researching to see if I can find anything about the person buried here and all I can find reference to is a notable family of Pidcock’s from the Peak District, some of them being glaziers and plumbers. I also believe that there is more to the inscription below that has been lost in time.
Get underneath the weathered skulls on this headstone for a totally different look.
Ancient Stone Coffins
Walk around the outside of the church and you will come across 5 ancient stone coffins that probably date back to the Anglo Saxon period. Stone coffins always look creepy due to the shape of the body and head that can be seen. The stone coffins of Bakewell are good examples, but my favourite stone coffins can be found up on the Barrows at Heysham.
Bakewell Memento Mori Headstone
Leading up to the Bakewell Parish Church, there are a number of headstones that line the path. Below is a very pretty Memento Mori headstone that features a damaged cemetery death head at the top. If you want to learn more about cemetery deathheads, please click the link.
Headstone Symbols and Meanings
Surrounding what looks like initials in the middle of this headstone is some foliage and my guess is that this is wheat. Wheat represents harvest and celebrates a long life lived in abundance. Connecting the wheat is a clam or scallop shell. The meaning of shells on headstones are symbols of a person’s Christian pilgrimage or journey through life and of baptism in the church.
Memento Mori Headstone Symbol
The hourglass can be seen that shows us that time is passing by. On classic Memento Mori headstones, you would also see a skull that would show us that no matter what our status was in life, we will all die and become dust and bone. This headstone is later and dated 1735 and attitudes had softened and therefore the skull and crossbones is replaced with a cherubs head and wings.
Snake Eating Tail on Headstone
On the bottom left of this headstone, we can see a snake eating it’s tail. This is known as Ouroborus and often symbolises introspection, the eternal return or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-recreating itself. It also represents the eternal cycle of nature’s endless creation and destruction, life and death and despair.
If you like Memento Mori headstones, please visit my Memento Mori Gallery page.
Inside All Saints Parish Church, Bakewell
Enter the doorway to the All Saints Parish Church in Bakewell and you will see a selection of old stonework and these wonderful grotesques sitting high upon a shelf. The sunlight captured them beautifully when I visited. Further inside the church, you will find some splendid monuments that date back to the fourteenth century.
Making my way out through the graveyard, my partner pointed out this wonderful headstone with the snakes on. My challenge was set as I had to find out what type of person was buried here from reading the headstone symbols. Please read A Tyler’s Grave by clicking here.