The Hardy Tree, London

The rather macabre Hardy Tree stands tall in the St. Pancras Graveyard, as one of the stranger monuments of London’s history. The adjacent Church is thought to be one of Britain’s oldest places of worship, dating all the way back to 1708 and the Hardy Tree’s “arrangement” all the back to 1865.

Before becoming a Novelist, Thomas Hardy began his career working in construction. During this time, London’s underground was being built. As the the railway lines needed to run under the church, poor Thomas, being the youngest of the working group, was tasked with the grim job of supervising the dismantling and exhuming of the graves and tombs, and relocating the inhabitants.

Placing the gravestones where he knew they wouldn’t be disturbed, Thomas arranged the stones in a circular pattern around a nearby ash tree, giving the Hardy Tree its unique and infamous look. Over the many years, the tree’s roots have laced around the stones and adopted them as part of itself.

A figure of life and death entwined into one, the Hardy Tree is a must see for anyone who enjoys the strange and obscure.

13 Comments

  1. What an interesting tree. Great photos. It’s kind of sad though as the headstones are placed so closely together that you can’t read each one. That must be hard for those seeking to find their ancestors headstones. Where were the coffins moved to?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not clear if it was there at the time of the headstones being placed, or whether it grow later but its fair to say its at least 160 years old 🙂

      Like

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