Loose Churchyard

ancient yew tree in loose chuchyard

Loose Churchyard is located around the church in the centre of Loose Village near Maidstone in Kent. The site itself is very old and has been used as a religious centre since at least the early middle ages around the time of Norman the Conqueror. A reference to the old yew tree in the graveyard can be found in the Domesday Book, written in 1086, which likely makes the tree at least 1000 years old. That’s pretty old even for a tree. And its still alive too of course – standing boldly and defiantly in the graveyard, its ancient limbs supported and crutches, its trunk protected by iron railings, surrounded by reminders of mortality maybe a tenth of its age. The churchyard has many old and interesting graves. As is often the case – due to age, erosion and poor quality stone – many of the oldest graves are unreadable. There is one grave that stands out as really mysterious and unique. Built very close to the church and as a post or pedestal about five feet high, there is a four-sided, round, stone head at its top with a face carved carefully into each side. The side facing the church is blank and cannot be easily viewed due to the grave’s proximity to the church. The three other faces show the face of a young man to the left, a middle aged man in the middle and finally a skull to the right. These faces appear to represent the individual’s life from early years through to middle age and finally death. Unfortunately the grave is not in the best conditions so its true meaning is now lost in the mists of time and space…

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