As two of our British-Chinese relatives are buried in Sutton Cemetery (both originally from Hong Kong), we tend to visit at least twice a year to clean the graves and have been doing so since at least 1994. This husband and wife pair chose their burial places (side by side) many years before – as is the old traditional Chinese custom:
As we visited yesterday to respectfully clean the graves of our ancestors (Qingming), we thought we would bring our two young children back to Sutton Cemetery today, and have a proper look around. We parked our car in Alcorn Close, and entered what is paradoxically this very pleasant place. Despite its function as a depository for the deceased, the air is fresh, the birds sing, and the trees and flowers smell beautiful – as did the freshly cut-grass today. We were looking for signs of the earliest graves from 1889, and we eventually found the oldest clusters situated immediately to the left of The Chapel as you walk into the Sutton Cemetery from the main entrance:
We moved counter-clockwise around Sutton Cemetery, and it was the oldest graves that we discovered last! We have presented this data first here, so that those who undertake similar explorations can do so with the efficiency of reliable information. What follows is a collection of photographs of mostly old graves, old graves too worn to read (some apparently not that old), Out of respect we have avoided recent or new burials, and have not purposely photographed flowers, gifts and messages recently left. Of course, with long-range photographs certain (unavoidable) impressions will be caught in passing. Sutton Cemetery is a place of historical importance as well as a functioning place of laying the deceased to rest, and for their surviving relatives to remember them. It is humbling to think that there are 93 military graves lying within Sutton Cemetery! My Surname of Wyles comes exclusively from a village in Northamptonshire called ‘Duddington’, with generations dating back around 400 years or more in the local Church graveyard. As a consequence, we have never found another ‘Wyles’ anywhere in the Sutton area, or indeed in anyother area.