My favorite cemetery in Newport is the Clifton Burying Ground, at the meeting of Golden Hill and Thomas Streets, up the hill behind the Newport Public Library. It sits nestled in among the backyard gardens of the houses surrounding it. The graves start in the 17th Century (there are several in the 1670s and '80s) and go into the early decades of the 19th Century; there are several colonial governors buried there. It's a showpiece for the evolution of style and skill in Newport stone carving, especially that of the John Stevens Shop. But the real charm of the cemetery is how it fits into the neighborhood, with the backyard gardens seemingly spilling into it. It's a lovely little gem of a place!
There are several 17th Century stones by Boston carvers here; these two by William Mumford are for a husband and wife who died a year apart - John and Mary Hedley, who died in January in 1695 and 1696, respectively.
The neighborhood reflects the age of the cemetery; there are many restored 18th Century house around, as you can see from this shot looking across Golden Hill St. and down the hill from Clifton Burying Ground:
There are more such houses, but I chose the next three, all from around the corner on William St., because they were relatively free of automobiles parked in front of them. Just to keep the antique feel, you know! I couldn't keep the car out of the last one, but at least it wasn't parked in front of the house.
© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger