"If you are walking in Charleston, you are walking on someone's grave."--Sue Bennett, Charleston tour guide

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Beyond the Grave" Students Visit Two Old Charleston Graveyards

The threatening clouds and thunder to the west added a sense of urgency to our Sept. 19 visit to two old church graveyards just blocks from campus.

In our College of Charleston classroom, we've been studying the different types of cemeteries, grave markers and iconography, so this was the first chance to see all of this firsthand, as a group.

We traveled first to the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, located at 126 Coming Street. This beautiful and impressive Anglican (now Episcopal) church dates to 1816.

According to findagrave.com, there are nearly 600 interments in the small graveyard along the side and back of the large white church. Findagrave lists two "famous" burials here, men with the familiar Charleston last names of Drayton and Lowndes.
Who's missing? Nineteen of my 20 students are seen here at
the St. Luke's/St. Paul's graveyard

I really like this graveyard as a first visit destination for my students. It's close to campus, the graveyard is small and compact, and what's there is a rich array of the different types of markers, monuments and memorials that make these old burial grounds so interesting to study and visit.

The students were assigned to take photographs of at least five different types of grave markers, such as headstones, ledgers, pedestals, obelisks, mausoleums, and others.

Mysterious mausoleum at the Cathedral Church 

There is an interesting story surrounding the large mausoleum set behind the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul.

Last fall I researched it a bit and found out a few things of note. Scroll down on this post to find what I found.  

No family name adorns this mausoleum, which is unusual in itself. More research is in order. Students???

After about 30 minutes at the Cathedral Church, with threatening storm clouds in the distance, we quickly walked a couple blocks to St. Patrick's Catholic Church at 134 St. Philip St.

This is a much smaller graveyard than the one at Cathedral Church, but is also rich in history, especially social history. Reading the church's history link on its website finds that the church was first built in 1838 in Charleston's Neck Area and that its parishioners were both white and black. The church had separate sections for each race.

The church was rebuilt at its present location in 1886 and had its first service just a short time after the Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886.

 According to findagrave.com, St. Patrick's graveyard has 240 interments. The majority of the markers are headstones, but there are some other types and some excellent examples of grave marker iconography.

Tomb of Rev. D.J. Quigley
This impressive tomb near the entrance to St. Patrick's is the gravesite of Monsignor D.J. Quigley who oversaw the building of the church on St. Philip Street in 1886.

This would be considered a tomb or a die on cap type of grave sculpture.

Rev. Quigley was the pastor at St. Patrick's for 19 years. He died in 1903. "His grateful people have erected this monument" is inscribed on the side.

Interesting image on Rev. Quigley's tomb

An elaborate engraving decorates the front of the tomb. In the dark it was difficult to make out what it is, perhaps a bird image.

I will try to go back to St. Patrick's for a better look!

Thank you students for a good Monday night outing!

And I'm so glad we all didn't get soaked!

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