Way, way back at the end of last year P and I went to Bournemouth where we visited the grave of Mary Shelley (and family, of course). When I posted my photographs of the trip here I mentioned that we’d visited another nearby(ish) grave the next day…. but I then I completely forgot to actually post those photographs. Until now.
The visit to Sir Arthur’s last resting place necessitated a drive from Bournemouth, through the beautiful New Forest, to the village of Minstead. Apparently he fell in love with this part of the world – it really is stunning – while researching his book The White Company and he later bought a holiday home here for his wife Jean. They were both originally buried in the grounds of their home in Crowborough, East Sussex but were moved in the 1950s when the house was sold. They now lie under a tree in the graveyard of All Saints Church in Minstead.
Arthur and Jean couldn’t really have picked a nicer spot in which to spend eternity if they’d picked it themselves. My enjoyment of the setting was probably helped by the fact that it was one of those beautifully clear but bitterly cold December afternoons and the sun was just starting to set as we arrived at the church. The church itself is unusually homey to look at, almost like someone has stuck a tower onto the side of someone’s red brick cottage.
The Doyle grave is at the far edge of the churchyard – apparently because his spiritualist beliefs were at odds with church doctrine – with the church on one side and the forest edge on the other. It’s marked with a simple cross and inscription but it was quite nice to note that a pipe had been left on the base stone. I’m not sure how long its been there or who left it but it gives you the strange feeling that Sherlock Holmes has been along to pay his respects to his creator.