Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Infidel's Cemetery

I first heard about this fascinatingly-named place in a crime novel set in the Peak District. (To my shame, I cannot now remember the title but the author was Stephen Booth). As a lot of local towns, villages & landmarks were either used or still recognisable from their literary counterparts, I was intrigued by the mention of an old disused graveyard on a road I frequently travelled between Wardlow and Ashford in the Water.
Research on the Ordnance Survey maps showed that, indeed, there was a plot of land marked as "burial ground", not far from the well-known beauty spot Monsal Head. Even knowing of its existence and approximate location it was very hard to spot, and on a narrow country road not easy to park up and explore on foot.
Today, however, many happy circumstances combined. I had time to spare, my camera with me, and a nice sunny day. I was able to find a field entrance to park in not too far away so I now have photographs of this forlorn and desolate last resting place.
The easy-to-miss entrance
Once through the hole in the wall, the sign reads "Thieves will be Prosecuted "

Inside the graveyard, the graves are very overgrown -- just now it is easy to see where stones and graves have been but once the brambles grow in a few weeks it will be difficult to walk around. Gravestones that are still standing lean at crazy angles and are covered in ivy.
Despite it's name, this small burial ground is not for infidels, but was used by local Baptists from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. When some of the epitaphs were recorded, it was noted that none were biblical or made any reference to God or Jesus Christ and so it was given its exotic name. According to some stories, the graveyard is haunted by a man dressed completely in black and a woman in grey who flits between the tombstones. Neither were in evidence in the bright sunshine, but I can well imagine that on a dark misty night it could be a very spooky place!


AMIdesigns said...

I'm one of these people that love old graveyards but would be terrified at night in one, especially one thats supposed to be haunted! Love the pics

Abi said...

very interesting! it's always good to find out more about the local area. Have you heard of the man on Buxton old road? the strange thing is steve someone walk in front of our car one morning (it was dark) i didn't though and i was driving! Apparently he was right in front of us, in the middle of our headlights!

artangel said...

What a great place - graveyards are fascinating. I always find them really peaceful and beautiful!

Anonymous said...

The Infidels Cemetry is in the book by Stephen Booth entitled "The Dead Place", which is book 6 in the 10 book series of the Detective Ben Cooper novels set in th dark peak area of the beatiful Peak District.

Marmalady said...

Thanks Paul!
I have read a couple of the books -- think i should go back and read them all in the right order!