Victoria, here, picking up after our visit to Ben Franklin’s House. Since Hampstead was a neighborhood of London we had not sufficiently explored, Kristine and I found a B and B there for the remaining days of our stay in England.

Accordingly, we did a bit of wandering about, by no means covering all of the area’s treats.  We had already visited Kenwood House on the Heath prior to the Duke of Wellington Tour. And trekked through nearby Highgate Cemetery (for our posts on these adventures click here and here for Kenwood House. Click here and here for Highgate Cemetery).

High on our “must see” list was St. John’s Church, where we expected to find the grave of John Constable right after the wonderful exhibition we had just seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

 After exploring the interior of the Church, we consulted a map of the graveyard and, with the help of an attendant, went straight to Constable’s tomb.

We were surprised to find a local resident and volunteer cleaning the stone and trimming the ivy. She’d brought her equipment and told us she found it unacceptable that the gravesite should be so neglected.  We agreed, and the attendant quietly faded away, perhaps chagrined we’d found his duties equally neglected. We loved chatting with the volunteer, a immigrant to Britain in her earlier years. Brava to her!  If (when?) we moved to Britain, I would hope Kristine and I would be out there trimming and scrubbing anything that needed attention too.

Tomb of John Constable

Inscriptions on the tomb read :”Sacred to the Memory of Maria Elizabeth Constable, wife of John Constable, Esq. RA, daughter of Charles Bicknell, Esq. solicitor to His Majesty King George IV and to the Admiralty; born Jan. 15, 1787 died November 23, 1828, leaving seven infant children to lament her loss in common with their surviving parent. John Constable, Esq., RA, many years resident in this parish, he was born at East Bergholt in Suffolk June 11, 1776 and died in London March 31, 1837.  Also of John Charles Constable, Esq. of Jesus College, Cambridge, their eldest son, he died March 30, 1841, aged 23. His mortal remains are interred in the chapel of his college. Also of Charles Golding Constable, 1821-1878 of the British East India navy.”

Nearby we found another grave taken care of by an unknown benefactor: the stone marking the resting place of Jane Austen’s aunt, Philadelphia Hancock, as well as those of a cousin and the cousin’s young son.

A few of the graves near the church  itself were well tended, but the majority of the graveyard was decidedly unkempt – the paths swept, but the stones tilting and  leaning in every direction, overgrown with ivy and dead leaves. Certainly picturesque. Here are a few of the photos we took along the way. 

Apparently we were captivated by the foliage, stones and atmosphere of the area! Took a multitude of pictures, didn’t we?


  1. One consolation is that I suspect that the graveyard is a haven for wildlife, which will love the wildness of the undergrowth. I bet there are lots of birds making their nests there now!

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