This is what I've managed to find on-line:
The Grave of an Unknown African 'I.D.' in St John the Baptist Church, Bishops Castle
The headstone on this highly unusual grave has an inscription which reads: 'Here lieth the Body of I.D./A Native of Africa/who died in ths (sic) Town/Sept 9th 1801/God hath made of one Blood, all nations of Men. Act 17 ch. ver. 26'. Nothing is known for sure about who this 'native of Africa' could be, though there is a record in the burial register of the internment of a John Davies on 12th September.
The lack of information about this individual is an evocative reminder of the human impact of the slave trade. The likelihood is that he came to Bishop's Castle as a servant in one the local country houses. But the quality of the headstone, with its elegant decoration and inscription, indicates that the person had achieved some status but the time he died. The quote is also one that the abolitionists used, suggesting that it was erected by someone with sympathies to the movement. In addition, the position of the grave is very curious, turned away from the others in the area with the inscription hidden from general view.
Overall, the historic importance of the grave is as a rare contemporary reminder of the stories of the many millions of unidentified individuals who were taken from their indigenous lands during the slave trade.
But if anyone else has anything else to add, I'd be really interested.
Another grave had resonance because of a conversation we'd had at breakfast. I'd been talking about a discussion I'd been involved in about a grave inscription: 'She'd done her best'. Was that a good thing, or a bad thing to say? Our views were divided down the middle - half thinking it was condescending, and half considering it a compliment. So it was interesting to see this inscription - if you can't read them, the words at the bottom say, 'She hath done what she could' - which carried a similar sentiment.
That is until we looked at the date and saw it was Christmas Day - maybe she'd only managed to put the sprouts on before giving up!
And it is the lack of gravestones in this spot which is probably the most poignant. This was where the bodies of people from the old workhouse in the town were buried. It's kept clear now as a sign of respect, but Peter reckoned there were probably more bodies buried here than in the rest of the graveyard.
In fact, I could probably write something about every grave there - what's the significance of this cat, for instance?
It made me want to read all over again the manuscript for Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book which I've been lucky enough to have in my sticky hands before publication. It's a great book, and it has a real feel of a classic. Not least because I've been walking round every graveyard I've visited since reading it expecting to see little Bod, the book's hero who lives amongst graves and keeps one foot in the land of the living and one foot in the land of the dead. There's just the right mix of humour, and scariness, and the shiver you can't help but have that these are real people you're walking over. And they might just jump up and hold onto your ankle if you don't show enough respect. I can't wait for it to come out because I suspect, looking at Neil's record, that the hype is going to be lots and lots of fun.