Tuesday, 30 November 2021

The Mysterious Amos Grave; City of London Cemetery

This unusual grave is a complete mystery; I can find out nothing about it. It contains no names other than Amos which I presume is the occupant’s surname but could equally be a first name. There are no dates but the memorial is very recent I think, probably no more than five years old. I first saw it three years ago and the few photos of it on the web are all from the last couple of years. It is on a side path in a section of burials that have taken place since 2000, all of them with large memorials. The others however, expensive as they no doubt were, all look like Chinese headstones, grey granite jobs ordered from a catalogue. The Amos grave is a rare bespoke memorial clearly designed to reflect the tastes and interests of the deceased and produced by a local firm of monumental masons. A lurcher rests at the front of the grave, side panels feature a hare and a jaunting car and the large headstone a cockerel. On the reverse of the headstone are three poems (or excerpts from poems); the middle section is a quotation from ‘Hamlet’ but the other two (‘Lurchers and longdogs were my delight…’ and ‘In the quiet of the night he sits, to all intents asleep’ (about a hare)) seem to be unpublished. The deceased is likely to have lived locally, somewhere in East London or the Essex borders and died recently but even with just a surname to go on it is impossible to say who exactly they were.

I worked in the Royal Docks between 2009 and 2011 and I recall seeing a jaunting car being driven around the streets of Beckton. I wonder….   


  1. How neat is that? No idea of who they were, but we can guess what he loved, can't we? Wonderful post. Thank you.

  2. I'm gonna guess from the activities indicated (cock fighting, hare coursing and pony racing) he was Rom. Travelling people do like big monuments.

    The cockerel has no wattle or comb which is a bit odd. And the horse is actually pacing rather than trotting and you don't see a pacer very often in this country.

    1. Some of the neighbouring memorials in the cemetery are for travellers. It occur to me that Amos may be from the community. As for the lack of wattles and combs: "Breeders often pluck the birds' feathers and hack off the roosters' wattles and/or combs (the flesh at the top of their heads and under their beaks) to prevent other roosters from tearing them off in the ring." PETA website.

  3. Just wanted to agree with the Traveller guess.
    If I happened upon this grave that's definitely the conclusion I would come to.