Just as Alan (News from Nowhere) collects old postcards and is fascinated by the lives glimpsed through them, so I am fascinated by old graves. This one, in the graveyard surrounding the old church of St Mary's in Stoke Newington, was almost unreadable but you can just make out "Elizabeth....died on 11 December 1781 aged 15 (?) years in consequence of her cloaths taking fire the preceeding evening." Her surname is unclear - it could be Baratt. How sad though. I suppose long dresses and open fires weren't a good mix.
Near the old church is Abney Park Cemetery, an arboretum, nature reserve and garden cemetery that was opened in 1840 and is the resting place of many famous non-conformists, including several involved with the abolition of the slave trade. It also holds the graves of William Booth and his wife Catherine, founders of the Salvation Army, their son Branwell and several other notable Salvationists. The inscription says: William Booth, Founder and 1st General of the Salvation Army, Born 1829, Born again in the Spirit 1845, Founded the Salvation Army 1865, Went to Heaven 29th August 1912. Also Catherine Booth, the Mother of the Salvation Army, Born 1829, Went to Heaven 4th October 1890.
Do you ever ponder upon what you'd like on your gravestone? (Even though not that many people actually have one any more). There's a lot of comfort in the thought that God loves us all equally - young Elizabeth who hardly had time to make her mark on life, as much as the Booths whose good works live on, a century and a half later.