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Recommended reading for Taphophiles



London's Crypts and Catacombs
by Robert Bard & Adrian Miles
Have you ever wondered what lies beneath your feet when you walk into an ancient church or through a graveyard? The mystery of what lies beneath. Did you know that some of London’s most famous cemeteries have catacombs? This book explores some of the most intriguing vaults, crypts and catacombs of London and where you can still find some of them. Some are even open to public view. Crypts were often built by rich and powerful families to lay to rest their family remains. Many of London’s church crypts have been converted into cafés and restaurants to meet London’s twentieth- and twenty-first-century needs, but others still retain their occupants. Authors Dr Robert Bard and Adrian Miles, an expert in the field of post-medieval burials and funerary archaeology, take the reader on an intriguing journey of discovery through London’s vaults, crypts and catacombs. London’s Crypts & Catacombs contains many unique photographs and is a haunting insight into the process and burial of our ancestors.

A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards
by Peter Ross

Enter a grave new world of fascination and delight as award-winning writer Peter Ross uncovers the stories and glories of graveyards. Who are London's outcast dead and why is David Bowie their guardian angel? What is the remarkable truth about Phoebe Hessel, who disguised herself as a man to fight alongside her sweetheart, and went on to live in the reigns of five monarchs? Why is a Bristol cemetery the perfect wedding venue for goths?

All of these sorrowful mysteries - and many more - are answered in A Tomb With A View, a book for anyone who has ever wandered through a field of crooked headstones and wondered about the lives and deaths of those who lie beneath.

These Silent Mansions: A life in graveyards
by Jean Sprackland
Graveyards are oases: places of escape, of peace and reflection. Each is a garden or nature reserve, but also a site of commemoration, where the past is close enough to touch: a liminal place, at the border of the living world.
Jean Sprackland’s These Silent Mansions is an uncovering of individual stories: vivid, touching and intimately told. Sprackland travels back through her own life, revisiting graveyards in the ordinary towns and cities she has called home, seeking out others who lived, died and are remembered or forgotten there. With her poet’s eye, she makes chance discoveries among the stones and inscriptions: a notorious smuggler tucked up in a sleepy churchyard; ancient coins unearthed on a secret burial ground; a slow-worm basking in the sun.
These Silent Mansions is an elegant, exhilarating meditation on the relationship between the living and the dead, the nature of time and loss, and how – in this restless, accelerated world – we can connect the here with the elsewhere, the present with the past.

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die
More than 3.5 million tourists flock to Paris's Pere Lachaise cemetery each year.They are lured there, and to many cemeteries around the world, by a combination of natural beauty, ornate tombstones and crypts, notable residents, vivid history, and even wildlife. Many also visit Mount Koya cemetery in Japan, where 10,000 lanterns illuminate the forest setting, or graveside in Oaxaca, Mexico to witness Day of the Dead fiestas. Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery has gorgeous night tours of the Southern Gothic tombstones under moss-covered trees that is one of the most popular draws of the city.

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die features these unforgettable cemeteries, along with 196 more, seen in more than 300 photographs. In this bucket list of travel musts, author Loren Rhoads, who hosts the popular Cemetery Travel blog, details the history and features that make each destination unique. Throughout will be profiles of famous people buried there, striking memorials by noted artists, and unusual elements, such as the hand carved wood grave markers in the Merry Cemetery in Romania.

Death and the Afterlife: A Chronological Journey, from Cremation to Quantum Resurrection (Sterling Chronologies)
Throughout history, the nature and mystery of death has captivated artists, scientists, philosophers, physicians and theologians. This eerie chronology ventures right to the borderlines of science and sheds light into the darkness. Here, topics as wide ranging as the Maya death gods, golems and séances sit side by side with entries on zombies and quantum immortality. With the turn of every page, readers will encounter beautiful artwork, along with unexpected insights about death and what may lie beyond.


By Philpot, Terry ( AUTHOR ) Apr-2013[ Paperback ]

170 pages
Publisher: Step Beach Press (25 April 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908779039
ISBN-13: 978-1908779038
Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.5 x 21 cm

by  (Author), Adrian Miles (Author)

It is fascinating to think that many hundreds of generations of Londoners lie beneath the city without us knowing. Over many centuries burial grounds have been developed, built over and then forgotten, often beneath playgrounds, gardens or car parks. When modern development takes place, remains are disturbed and we are reminded of a London that has long since disappeared, particularly with recent archaeological discoveries across the city.

In London s Hidden Burial Grounds, authors Robert Bard and Adrian Miles seek to uncover many of the capital's lost graveyards, often in the unlikeliest of places.

Dead Famous London: Discovering the graves of the capital's most notable permanent residents
Jim Dyson
176 pages 23 x 1.5 x 23 cm
The Bluecoat Press
ISBN-10: 190845718X
ISBN-13: 978-1908457189

London is an ancient city built upon the bones of its ancestors, with a rich history founded on the fascinating people who have shaped its future, forgotten yet immortal. Dead Famous is a compelling photographic journey through the capital's cemeteries, churches, cathedrals, crypts and crematoria discovering the final resting places and celebrating the incredible lives and achievements of some of its most significant and infamous permanent residents. Written and photographed by Jim Dyson, picture editor and photographer for Getty Images, Dead Famous is his first book.

The Magnificent Seven: London's First Landscaped Cemeteries
John Turpin & Derrick Knight
160 pages 23.2 x 16.2 x 1.4 cm
Amberley Publishing
ISBN-10: 1445600382
ISBN-13: 978-1445600383

A ring of spectacular cemeteries, developed at the edges of London in the decade from 1832, have long been referred to as The Magnificent Seven. At the time, they set a new aesthetic for the burial of the dead, and remain rich in social history and beauty to this day. It was entrepreneurs, rather than the religious authorities, who responded to the squalor of the City's brimming churchyards by fi nancing seemly, hygienic concepts of burial in the rural outskirts, now embraced by inner London. The Seven became showcases for neoclassical and neo-Gothic architecture, matched by splendid - sometimes eccentric - memorials recording Victorian society, and the sweep of London's history to the present day. From grand Kensal Green in the west to modest Tower Hamlets in the east; from heady Highgate to charming Norwood and Nunhead; and from the military influences of Brompton to the Non-conformist woodland of Abney Park - a host of characters and stories are visited in this distinctive coverage of the subject.


Twenty-first-century Gothic
Hardcover: 180 pages
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing; New edition edition (1 Oct 2010)
ISBN-10: 1443823899 ISBN-13: 978-1443823890
Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.8 x 2.4 cm

The essays in this volume reinterpret and contest the Gothic cultural inheritance, each from a specifically twenty-first century perspective. Most are based on papers delivered at a conference held, appropriately, in Horace Walpole's Gothic mansion at Strawberry Hill in West London, which is usually seen as the geographical origin of the first, but not the last, of the many Gothic revivals of the past 300 years.

The Secret Cemetery
Doris Francis, Leonie Kellaher & Georgina Neophyte
224 pages 24.1 x 16.8 x 2 cm
Berg Publishers; English Ed edition
ISBN-10: 1859735975

As the first of its kind to be published in this country it is ground breaking and deeply fascinating. This is an elegantly written book with not a word wasted. As a pioneering study it should be required reading for those with responsibility for cemeteries. The Journal of the Institute of Cemetery Crematorium Management A pioneering study, The Secret Cemetery is essential to our understanding of modern burial culture Julie Rugg, Cemetery Research Group, University of York If Mediterranean cemeteries are little cities, and American ones parks, the English cemetery is a garden. This sensitive ethnography shows how Londoners construct, objectively and subjectively, the grave as a garden and a second home.


Graveyard London: Lost and Forgotten Burial Grounds
Robert Bard
[Hardcover] 144 pages
Publisher: Historical Publications Ltd (1 Oct 2008)
Language English
Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 18.4 x 1.8 cm


The Victorian Cemetery (Shire Library)
(Shire Library) [Paperback]
Sarah Rutherford
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Shire Publications Ltd; 1st ed edition (10 Nov 2008)
Language English
Dimensions: 20.6 x 14.4 x 0.4 cm


London's Necropolis: A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery (New Edition)
John M. Clarke
Hardcover: 344 pages
Publisher:Stenlake Publishing; 2nd New edition edition (30 May 2018)
Language English
Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 3 x 28 cm



FANCY COFFINS TO MAKE YOURSELF (Schiffer Book for Woodworkers) by Dale Power
Paperback: 64 pages 27.4 x 21.1 x 0.8 cm , Schiffer Publishing Ltd

ISBN-10: 0764312499 ISBN-13: 978-0764312496

While away those winter evenings!

  The Tombstone Tourist: Musicians
Scott Stanton / Paperback 480 pages Published 2003

The final resting places of over 200 of the 20th century's late musical greats, from Howlin' Wolf to Benny Goodman to Janis Joplin. From France's Gothic Pere Lachaise Cemetery (where the remains of Chopin and Jim Morrison lie) to Hollywood's Forest Lawn (home to the bones of Karen Carpenter, Andy Gibb, and Liberace),
Profiled alphabetically, the life, music, death, shrines, archives, and burial site of each musician is interesting and insightful, and the black-and-white photographs are a nice touch.
This is a NEW Edition, with extra entries & new photos, some supplied by The Adams Residence


Who's Buried Where [new edn]:
Douglas Greenwood, 2006 Edition, (New edition) Publisher: Constable [Hardcover]

 The final resting places of illustrious men and women exercise a mysterious attraction to the traveller, and in this book the burial sites of over 350 prominent figures in English history are listed with a wealth of interesting detail.




London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer
by Hugh Meller (Author), Brian Parsons (Author) Hardcover: 416 pages    2008

The book is divided in two. Part one records the origins of London's cemeteries and includes introductory chapters on cemetery history, planning, architecture, epitaphs and natural history. Part Two is a gazetteer with descriptions of all the cemeteries in Greater London, together with short biographies of the celebrated people buried in them. There are two indexes, one listing the names of those in the gazetteer, and a second naming the architects, landscapers and sculptors whose work is represented in the cemeteries. The text is illustrated throughout with contemporary photographs and a wide range of rarely seen archive images."London Cemeteries" is an important source for biographical and genealogical research, and a compendium of material for the architectural historian. Social and local historians will also find much of interest here.

This fourth edition of a classic work incorporates much new research, as well as twelve more cemeteries - making it the most comprehensive survey of the subject ever published. This is the fourth edition of a classic book published in 1981. It is completely revised text and brand new illustrations. It is only work of reference that includes all London cemeteries: twelve more added in this new edition

London's Cemeteries



London's Cemeteries by Darren Beach
Paperback: 231 pages

Offering information you will need to explore over fifty cemeteries to be found in the capital, this pocket guide includes information on where notable people are buried from Sid James to Karl Marx.

Necropolis: London and Its Dead


Necropolis: London and Its Dead by Catharine Arnold
Paperback: 304 pages

a fascinating study of London's status as centuries-old burial ground, and how the city's relationship to death and its dead has played a pivotal role in its history. It begins with the Neolithic tribal settlements in the area which became the capital, moving onto Roman ritual and burial and then,in the post-Pagan centuries, the vast differences in the treatment of death via Christian belief. Medieval death, plague and the notion of ars moriendi (the art of dying well) are explored, as is the Great Fire of 1665, the population boom of the following two centuries. The crystalisation of Victorian attitudes to grief and mourning naturally take up a great deal of the book, as do the completions of the vast (then) out-of-town cemeteries such as Kensall Green and of course Highgate, after the massive scandals of the Resurrection-Men, mass burials, cholera and the public health horrors of the mid-1800s. Moving on from the nineteenth century, Arnold argues that the intricate and established cult of grief long-held in Victorian London necessarily had to alter after the mass deaths of WWI made intimate mourning and, indeed, graveside reveries, impossible and contrived in the face of rapidly advancing, agnostic modernity.


 Mausoleums  Lynn F. Pearson
0 7478 0518 0   40 pp, 62 b/w ills.
Mausoleums – magnificent, monumental tombs – are often haunting, powerful buildings in evocative sites. A substantial, well-illustrated gazetteer of over 150 examples in Britain completes the book, leading the reader on a journey from the remote Sinclair Mausoleum in the north of Caithness – a tiny castle known as Harold’s Tower – to the hugely ornate Royal Mausoleum at Windsor
   East Anglian Epitaphs
Raymond Lamont-Brown - Paperback - 48 pages (October 2000)

An exploration of the graveside witticisms and criticisms, puns and lampoons found in the churchyards of East Anglia. The epitaphs reveal facts about ancestry, emblems, symbols of life and death, and information about people who lived centuries ago.
 Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear
Jan Bondeson - Hardcover - 256 pages (March 2001)

In the 1800s the number of contorted skeletons found in coffins led to speculation that they were buried alive. This study brings to light the various ways people ensured they were really dead before burial. It also questions whether 21st-century criteria for determining death are reliable.
   Famous Graves
Lynn F. Pearson / Paperback / Published 1998 / 144 pp, 117 ills.

The graves of the famous are of abiding interest, both for their often unexpected and unusual locations, and for the light they throw on individual lives. This book gives fascinating details of nearly one thousand graves of famous Britons at home and abroad, and also a few foreigners buried on British soil. In highly readable form, it conveys not only the 'where' but the 'why' of graves, using crucial biographical information to provide an insight into famous lives and their endings. The text helps the reader to locate specific graves, it also features an easy-to-use index, an introduction to the history of burial and cremation practices, and a glossary explaining obscure funeral terms. Over a hundred B&W photographs of gravestones, mausolea, cemeteries and churches illustrate the amazing history of funeral art and the delightful craftsmanship of individual memorials.
   Discovering Epitaphs
Geoffrey N. Wright / Paperback / Published 1996/ 96 pp, 53 ills.

Inscriptions on gravestones yield fascinating information about the dead, their lives and occupations and the way they died. There may well be a verse epitaph of a philosophical or moralistic nature, but wit and humour, sometimes unintentional, creep in to enliven the sombre nature of the message. In this book, the late Geoffrey N. Wright first traces the background history of churchyard memorials and then describes many examples of inscriptions and epitaphs which somehow bring us much closer to the people they commemorate and the communities in which they lived.
   Victorian Undertaker
Trevor May / Paperback / Published 1996

The Undertaking, Tales from the Dismal Trade.

Thomas Lynch
The American poet, Thomas Lynch, is also hired to bury the dead, to cremate them and to tend to their families in a small Michigan town where he serves as the funeral director. In the conduct of these duties he has kept his eyes open and his ears tuned to the vernacular sound of love and grief.

also in paperback



The Permanent Series


Permanent Italians : An Illustrated Guide to the Cemeteries of Italy
Judi Culbertson, Tom Randall / Paperback / Published 1996



Permanent Londoners : Illustrated Guide to the Cemeteries of London
Judi Culbertson, Tom Randall / Paperback / Published 1991



Permanent Parisians : An Illustrated Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris
Judi Culbertson, Tom Randall / Paperback / Published 1991


 London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer
Hugh Meller

This work records the cemeteries of London, describing their rich variety of buildings, monuments, epitaphs and flora and fauna. It also deals with cemetery history, planning, architecture and natural history. Altogether, 103 cemeteries are covered, along with the famous people buried there.



Going Out in Style : The Architecture of Eternity
Douglas Keister, Xavier Cronin

Depicts the endless variety of mausoleum styles in cemeteries across the United States...the book features dozens of full-color photographs portraying the majesty and mystique of the private mausoleum



Saving Graces : Images of Women European Cemeteries
David Robinson
In many cemeteries, particularly in Europe, one can find 19th-century sculptures of idealized images of women, elaborately posed and sculpted with great care and artistic flair. David Robinson's photographs capture the sensual beauty and mystery of these lifelike sculptures. In her foreword, Joyce Carol Oates explores the many implications of the grief-stricken, extremely provocative female figures - the obsession with mortality, the rituals of mourning, the conflation of death and the erotic, and the perfect female form as a male fantasy and a symbol of status.

Beautiful Death : Art of the Cemetery
David Robinson, Dean R. Koontz / Hardcover / Published 1996
Intriguing look at death - and the way people attempt to come to terms with it in funerary monuments and graveside gestures. Robinson roamed the cemeteries of Europe, including Pere-Lachaise, Montparnasse and Montmartre in Paris, the cemete ries of London and village churchyards in England, the Jewish Cemetery in Prague, and cemeteries across France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy
now out of print Find "Beautiful Death : Art of the Cemetery" by David Robinson on BookFinder.com


Epitaphs and Images from Scottish Graveyards
Betty Willsher

This is an illustrated collection of epitaphs divided into sections, such as death, resurrection, the professions and trades, eulogies and epitaphs quaint and curious.


Highgate Cemetery, Victorian Valhalla
Photographs by John Gay, Text by Felix Barker.

Excellent B&W Photos, well reseached history of Highgate Cemetery.

now out of print
Find "Highgate Cemetery, Victorian Valhalla" by Felix Barker on BookFinder.com




 Journal of a Ghosthunter
Simon Marsden

During a year-long journey beginning in southern Ireland and progressing through the British Isles, France and Germany to the mountains of Transylvania, photographer Marsden sought out Europe's most haunted locations. His black and white images reveal the ruins where lost souls still roam.

The Haunted Realm
Simon Marsden

Photographer Simon Marsden's interest in the supernatural began in childhood as he played hide-and-seek in the attic of his family's ancient house, ever vigilant for the appearance of the "family ghost". It wasn't until later that he discovered the craft of photography and developed an enduring fascination with the magic of time and light, and the enigma of "reality" that these elements conjure up.


 Awful Ends
David M. Wilson

This anthology of funeral inscriptions, both real and fictional, is gathered from sources all over the British Isles and America.


The Art of Remembering
Harriet Frazer, Lucy Lambton (Introduction)

Published to coincide with an exhibition at Blickling Hall, this book celebrates the skills of independent memorial makers and lettering artists. It contains photographs of all 54 works in the exhibition, along with essays on life, death, spirituality, the English tradition of memorials and the controversy over churchyard rules and regulations.


 The Art of Death
Nigel Llewellyn
Paperback - 160 pages Reaktion Books

Visual culture in the English death ritual


Death in England
Peter Jupp (Editor), Clare Gittings (Editor)

A social history of death from the earliest times to Diana, Princess of Wales. As we discard the 20th century taboo about death, this book charts the story of the way in which our forebears coped with a fundamental aspects of their daily lives. The book reveals how attitudes, practices and beliefs about death have undergone constant change: how, why and at what ages people died; plagues and violence; wills and deathbeds; funerals and memorials; beliefs and bereavement. This wide-ranging analysis of death in England is illustrated throughout with photographs and images, their diversity reflecting and breadth of issues and periods covered.


 Bearing the Dead : The British Culture of Mourning from the Enlightenment to Victoria (Literature in History)
by Esther Schor

Mourning as a cultural phenomenon has become opaque to us in the twentieth century, Schor argues. This book is an effort to recover the culture of mourning that thrived in English society from the Enlightenment through the Romantic Age, and to recapture its meaning. Mourning appears here as the social diffusion of grief through sympathy, as a force that constitutes communities and helps us to conceptualize history.