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Gothic frontpageHatchford Mausoleum, Cobham

I decided this site needed an entire page to itself.

The Mausoleum lies on the edge of a wood near the well-known Chatley Semaphore Tower at Cobham, Surrey, just off the M25. It's a classical temple-like building - 'The Temple of Sleep', an inscription informs you - built by Sir Henry Samuelson in 1921 to commemorate his parents, Bernard and Caroline, and sister Adelaide, who had died young. Henry had been an MP, but resigned his seat due to ill-health and spent a while at Beaulieu-sur-Mer in the south of France, helping to build an Anglican church to serve the ex-pat community there. His residence in Britain was Hatchford Park. Why he decided to uproot his family from Torbay, which was where they were originally laid to rest, isn't very clear. Anyway, they, along with the one-ton copper table-tomb which topped the grave, were transported here to the Surrey hills, and they were reburied beneath this strange monument.

You come upon it now rather suddenly, sitting silently among the trees. It has an intensely sad, derelict feel to it. The copper tomb - notwithstanding its weight and the isolation of the site - was stolen some years ago, and the whole building is slowly being invaded by brambles and weeds. Despite the optimism of the Greek quotation from Mark's Gospel on the top -
To paidion ouk apathenen alla katheodei, 'the child is not dead, but asleep'- I can't recall visiting anywhere so lifeless. It's not a happy or peaceful place. There were recent tea-light candles on the ledge of the little chapel underneath, showing somebody's been up to something.
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