Tablets of Stone

Sanders Keep Cemetery, Graincourt
Sanders Keep Cemetery, Somme

This is the intermittent journal of a part time Ph.D. project that is trying to understand people’s changing attitudes to religion through the inscriptions on the WW1 (and maybe WW2) war graves.

Why do it? Well, I’m retired, and I can indulge my interests. Also, a lot gets talked about the secular age we are living in, yet there is a vast amount of spirituality going on. Anything from the healing power of crystals to ecological and socially inclusive movements that emphasise the ‘coming together’ of human beings. It is easy to assume that 100 years ago, people all believed in God in the same way and went to church every Sunday (they didn’t), and that now everything is completely different. I’m not sure. The evidence is complex, and the traces left behind by ordinary people are slight and ephemeral. But something a lot of ordinary people have left behind is the inscriptions on gravestones. These may reveal something more about what was important to them.

Add to that an interest in WW1, and it all leads to Commonwealth War Cemeteries – in the UK, France, Belgium and anywhere else I happen to rock up.