“Fear no more the heat o’ the sun”
One baking day we went for a walk – and got lost. Having been to a tapas fair hosted in the Plaza de Torres (bull ring), we ended up in a residential area to the east of the city. A woman took pity on us, led us through her apartment and out the back.
A few a la izquierda’s and todo recto’s later we were on our way towards the Cementerio Inglés de Málaga – a quiet oasis and the oldest non-Roman Catholic Christian cemetery in mainland Spain. Think ‘secret garden’ – with bones.
There’s a small church (St George’s) and a track to the walled, and oldest, part of the cemetery. There are shell-covered graves of children who died of fever and consumption (see short clip below).
We were told by staff at the Visitors’ Centre there are over 1,000 graves. If you visit, be sure to donate a few euros.
The cemetery was founded by William Mark who was British Consul from 1824 to 1836. At the time, Protestants didn’t get a decent burial – instead they were buried at night, upright in the sand to their necks. If the dogs didn’t get them, the bodies were prone to escaping, like rotting sand-eels tossed in the waves. William Mark personally took them from the sea.
In 1830 he got permission to establish a cemetery for those previously denied a burial on consecrated – and Catholic – ground. He ended up here, along with writer Gerald Brenan (grave number 683) – see our post here – and Gamel Woolsey, the American poet and novelist.
There’s also a mausoleum containing the remains of 41 crew members of the German SMS Gneisenau which sank in a storm off Málaga in 1899.
Touching epitaphs, elaborate vaults and headstones abound – it’s also a botanical garden. A peaceful way to spend an hour before heading back to the city centre and its charms.
- John Arthur Corbett: Merchant, 18 February 1864, aged 32, grave number 172. Born London, UK
- Dorothy May Sanderson: Housewife, buried 19 February 1971, aged 75, grave 717. Born Sevastopol, Russia
- Gustav Zolling: Physician, buried 10 May 1856, aged 27, grave (unknown). Born Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany
- Cephaniah Lungley Prentice: Chemist, buried 28 December 1858, aged 27, grave 128. Born in Suffolk, UK
- Florence Roosevelt Le Vinsen: Baroness, buried 10 January 1922, aged 68, grave 440. Born Pittsburgh, USA
- Daniel Mowbray: Ship Chandler, buried 19 December 1870, aged 74, grave 240. Born Newcastle upon Tyne
- José Francisco Vegas: Consul for Brazil, buried 16 May 1893, aged 59, grave 313. Born Málaga
- Ihnke Taaks: Infant, 5 October 1849, aged 2, grave 53. Born Málaga
- Lucy Troughten Gambell: Infant, buried 2 September 1878, grave 268. Born Málaga
- Eliza McAndrew: Infant, buried 20 December 1836, grave 12. Born Liverpool, UK
© con jamón 2013