Friday, July 6, 2012

To Clean or Not to Clean...

I have recently seen a few 'debates' on cleaning versus not cleaning old headstones. I can see both sides, when the cons side says it changes the 'old feel' the antiqueness of the stones, the tone of the cemetery changes, apparently someone in a northern town went beyond pulling weeds, dusting off headstones, but basically "power washed" headstones and brought them back to as close to pristine as they could be.

Now, some might argue messing with the integrity of the already weathered and aging headstones, while others would say that being able to read the information and enjoy them for many more years is better. Some believe that these aged cemeteries gain a character in the aging of the stones and changing that 'look' changes the character of the cemetery. I am still out on that whole line of thinking, maybe because I can see it both ways.

What I do is allow my experiences and photos maybe show you the side of one way of thinking and let you decide if 'harm' has come from what was done here in the following photos. I have to think that families would be happy they can see the stones once again, find them, and know that someone who didn't have to, did care enough to straighten them out a bit. Enjoy the before and afters, leave me a comment on what your thoughts on the subject are, help me see more your side to the thinking!

In this first set of pictures I walked upon the first photo and knew there must be a 'few' people resting here. Count the names and tell me how many I ended up with! I was even a bit surprised!

Did you end of counting 4 names? Just a bit of uncovering, weeding, troweling with a non-metal trowel as a few were covered in several inches of dirt, these beauties were resting underneath!

Now, these next two, I used a soft bristled brush to brush off some of the nasty mold growing about it, yes I have my mouth covered, being a nurse I definitely know not to breath in unknown mold and dust spores! ICK! SO let me know what you think of the before and after!

So, what do you think? Was the extra 20 minutes or so worth it? Would you if you saw either of these settings? Just a thought and an action can change so much! Let me know your opinions!

Happy Hunting,


  1. Well my dear bestie, i think if it wasnt for the fact you was trying to record and photograph all theses for families in years to come, see and have a photo, you would probably leave alone, but at the end of the day its a same to see these cemetries fall into disrepair and a spot of maintenance doesnt hurt so they last for years to come and the people who say leave alone probably havent seen what we have seen, and the crying shame no one is looking after them to preserve peoples memory, all for the sake of brushing off some mould and abit of weeding, does it really harm the cemetry no, and what people forget these old cemetries get into such bad repair that the county government probably will end up closing it down all together because they are unsafe, then that cemetry is lost forever, so im on the side of abit of cleaning up to preserve winks

    1. You, my dear friend, are absolutely right, it is a shame to see these fall into such disrepair. I think I would be heartsick if I saw the ones in the UK we have spoken of. The ones we have been to so far, have been one that are looked after. I seriously dread to see the ones that have been let go to ruin. We have our work and passion cut out for us on this journey!

  2. I also think that you did the right thing. To me it honors our ancestors to take care of their grave sites when they are in disrepair.

    1. Thank you!!!! Sometimes I fear touching them, but I feel more disrespectful leaving them in such disarray. I appreciate you stopping by and encouraging me on my journey!