Tuesday 28 September 2010

Ushaw College Photo Essay Number Nine (posted 18/06/2010)

The Cemetery at Ushaw is long established; it lies behind the swimming baths, beside the New Wing (the Old New Wing).  As you can see, the main burial ground has a cloister on two sides.  In the cloisters are buried bishops of the Northern Province (before 1850) and of the diocese of Hexham after it was formed in 1850 and also former Presidents of the College.  Buried in the main burial ground are students and professors of the College, and some of the former College servants.

The end of one cloister has a statue of Christ the King, the other of a Calvary.  In the first picture, the open patch of grass, in my time, had a series of wooden crosses; here were buried the bodies of a number of students who died during some epidemic, perhaps during the flu epidemic of 1918, or more likely, I think, of a cholera outbreak, sometime about 1850. You can just make out the 'lych gate' to the left of this photo - 'lych', Anglo-Saxon for 'body' - the body to be buried was brought from St Cuthbert's Chapel, through the North-West Passage, stopped for a moment at the lych gate , before moving to its final resting-place.
In a small section opposite the lych-gate, there is an area where the ashes of some of the College servants and professors are buried.
This is the plate over the ashes of Peter Seed; the inscription reads "Petrus Seed, Fidelis Operum Magister Obiit 15 Oct 1964" - "Peter Seed Faithful Clerk of Works died 15th October 1964".  If a job needed to be done, the answer was to send for Peter Seed - all during my time he kept the College going.  I remember Doctor Bob Gowland, professor of Philosophy and Procurator of the College, telling us once that Peter went into a hardware store in Durham to ask about nails; when the assistant said that he had the kind that Peter wanted, Peter then said, "I'll tak a ton!" The assistant had to be lifted off the floor!  The ashes of Peter's wife are buried beside him.


  1. Did a young woman get her hair caught in some washing machinery there once and have her scalp torn off? Apparently she was a maid/servant ?

  2. Yes there was indeed! She was a clothes cleaner whom worked in the laundry section of the college in the NE of the campus, and it was as she was ironing one of the vary many professors clothes, her hair was tugged into the machine and she was partly scalped. The workers at the time of the fatal accident knew this was an accident but was it? Was she purposely caught in that massive machine or was it a complete and utter accident?