Hungerford Arcade “The Grave of Dante Gabriel Rossetti”

William Holman Hunt: Porträtt av dante Gabriel Rosetti.

My daughter lives in Kent and whilst visiting her, I have taken the opportunity to explore some of the county especially on the Isle of Thanet.

 

It was whilst I was planning a walk along the coast that I found myself in Birchington, which is roughly halfway between Margate and Canterbury.

 

Birchington is an agreeable coastal town and is a good starting point if you want to visit Reculver Towers which are a few miles away.  I noticed, as I made my way to the coastal path, that one of the roads had the name Rossetti.  I knew that the artist and poet had retired to this part of Kent when he became seriously ill, but I did not know where he had died.

 

Enquiries revealed that the great man was indeed buried in the town and I found the grave with a degree of ease.

 

To find it, walk up the High Street away from the railway station, keep to your right and you will soon find a church.  If you follow the main path through the graveyard then you will come across a stone Celtic cross and this is where Dante rests in full view of the lovely church and the road to Canterbury. 

 

It seems odd that Birchington is the last resting place of such a well-known figure for as far as I can see, he had no real connection with this part of Kent apart from being there in his final days.

 

If you are ever in Birchington and have a few moments to spare then visit Dante and maybe leave a small bunch of flowers to thank him for the works he left to us when he died over a hundred and thirty years ago.

Stuart Miller-Osborne    

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