Noonmark Antiques

The Cemetery at the King's Chapel in Boston

Charles HammellComment

One of the benefits to walking in Boston, as opposed to taking Uber, taxi, or mass transit, is the serendipitous encounter one might find along Tremont Street. As I began my journey on foot to return to the Back Bay region from Faneuil Hall, I noticed a young photographer who was snapping away at subjects mutually interesting to both of us. We were heading in the same direction on Tremont Street when we simultaneously turned and saw the cemetery at King's Chapel.

I was immediately intrigued. Here were a number of carved slate headstones not unlike the grave markers at the cemetery in Deerfield, Connecticut (see my Blog Post October 19, 2013) This is the oldest burying ground in Boston and remarkably, the cemetery originally was not affiliated with King's Chapel.

I stepped into this tiny cemetery and began to capture as many of the reliefs as I could without walking through the graveyard and over the graves. Puritan funerary art, dating here  from 1668 - 1815 is capricious and captivating. It is filled with mystical symbolism. Slate is the best medium for preserving this art form.

The first stone I noticed depicted Death & Father Time. The date listed was 1743 and the name, Rebekah Gerrish.

This relief is featured in the book "Graven Images" by Allan I. Ludwig on page 92.

Had I known that I would be passing this gem of a cemetery during this trip, I would have done my research beforehand. I attempted to capture as many images as was reasonable. Below are a few examples:

Since this cemetery is the oldest in Boston, a number of early luminaries are laid to rest here, mostly English born immigrants. Besides the grave markers, there are helpful placards which discuss Who's Who in the graveyard. Admittance was free to all who entered and the King's Chapel and cemetery are part of the Freedom Trail.