Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Decorations on travellers’ graves, St Mary Cray

St Mary Cray in the London Borough of Bromley is said to have the largest settled group of travellers or gypsies in the United Kingdom.  As seasonal agricultural work became scarce due to mechanisation, and traditional camping sites were closed, the travellers were forced to move into housing. Simon Evans in his Stopping Places, 1999, gives an sympathetic account of the community’s history.

Not surprisingly St Mary Cray Cemetery contains many graves of people with traveller heritage.  Such graves can often be recognised by having model traditional caravans placed on them, or caravans and campfire scenes being depicted on the back of their headstones.  Most of the flowers on the graves are artificial.

Grave of Stephen Jones, died 19 December 1992.

Occupant of grave and date of death unknown.

Grave of Joseph William Rye, died 28 March 2021.

Photographs taken 19 September 2022.

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