Ancestor Souls

The Library of Avalon, Glastonbury
All Hallows Eve, Halloween, Samhain
Doors open: 7.30pm.
NB the portal will close at 7.57pm when the show begins.
No late admissions. Please arrive in good time to relax and tune in.
Tickets £13. Places limited. Advance booking:…/ancestor-souls-tickets…
Subject to availability, paper tickets will soon be on sale at The Speaking Tree bookshop.
A ritual performance of astral music, spirit songs and incantations by Jenny Bliss Bennett, William Kraemer and John Crow Constable:
‘Here the veil between the worlds dissolves: the living, the dead,
share the brew, break the bread,
Ancestor souls, converse and commune,
this Samhain night, by the light of a bone-white moon.’
In August, Jenny and William recorded an improvised session with John in which he recited his magical verses as they sang and played. Together they wove an enchantment which sparked their creative relationship. This is their first full public performance.
Jenny Bliss Bennett is a singer and virtuoso multi-instrumentalist. William Kraemer is a versatile musician and synth-wizard. They regularly perform with their band Queen Space Baroque.
John Constable aka John Crow is a playwright, poet and performer, best known for The Southwark Mysteries (Oberon Books). His work has been performed in Shakespeare’s Globe, Southwark Cathedral, at international festivals and in many rituals performed at Cross Bones Graveyard. Tonight he’ll perform his Samhain incantations from The Halloween of Cross Bones and new work inspired by his first year living in Glastonbury.

Crossbones Garden workshops

from the Crossbones October 2021 bulletin by Hej at Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST)

Crossbones Vision detailed design and construction workshops: As explained in the August bulletin, we’re going to host a series of workshops, in collaboration with U+I (who will one day be our new landlord) which will explore how we create our Vision for Crossbones, and help to ensure that contractors working on site do so with sensitivity. 

Workshops will be held at Crossbones, Liberty of Southwark or a nearby location. Luke, the landscape architect who many of you will know from the previous workshops a couple of years ago, will be helping to lead them with me and Hen from U+I.  Other professionals such as the archaeologists from the MOLA team at the Liberty of Southwark, as well as contractors creating bespoke elements, will be attending for some workshops as well. Refreshments will be provided. An outline of the workshops (exact times in the day TBC) is below:

Friday 5th November, AM: Introduction to the Crossbones Graveyard technical design workshops: Recap on the Crossbones Graveyard Vision and planning documents submitted. Q and A session, especially for new Crossbones supporters. Look at workshop programme and suggest any issues/ topics people would also like to discuss.

Saturday 20th November, PM: Boundaries: new railings, new walls, repairs to the ribboned gates and how, working with Friends of Crossbones, we remove and store ribbons and then reattach them.

Friday 3rd December, AM: Water and electricity. Looking at the location of these new utilities and whether disturbance to the ground may be required. Possible visit next door to see Liberty of Southwark dig – tour with MOLA and Q and A session.

Friday 7th January, AM: Structures on site: new ramps, pergolas and shelters. Description of how they might be built e.g. using sustainable timber, metalwork, etc – artisans we’ll be working with will also be joining us – see below.

January/February TBC: Surfacing.  How will create the crack crosses? Possible field trip to see kinds of concrete used in different settings, in London if we can e.g. local walk to Tate.

February TBC: Summary of discussions. Q and A session. Next steps. Look at construction programme. 

Please let me know if you’d like to join any of the workshops….bear in mind that spaces are limited and I will be reserving spaces first for our regular Crossbones volunteers. If you are not able to join us, please let me know if there is anything you’d like asked on your behalf.  I’ll be sharing notes from the workshops via the bulletin.

Workshops will be topic specific and owing to time constraints, we will not have an opportunity to have broader discussions. If you’d like, for instance, to discuss the Liberty of Southwark development, please contact Hen at U+I directly (see note below).

To register to receive BOST’s free monthly Crossbones bulletins, please email:

Southwark Cathedral burial grounds talks

Saturday 23rd October 10am – 4pm
Southwark Cathedral are delighted to host a day of talks exploring burial grounds, cemeteries and funerals.
Speakers include: Lucy Coleman Talbot: St Saviour’s Black Flag: Crossbones Graveyard and The Church

The Church’s history with Crossbones Graveyard is usually confined to some distant past. The myth that this is the final resting place of the Winchester Geese, sex workers licensed by the Bishop of Winchester yet denied Christian burial, is just the beginning of a long and complex story. Lucy will bring this story to light, by presenting her PhD research. Which traces this contentious relationship through time to present day.

Lucy has just completed her PhD examining the Crossbones Graveyard in Southwark, London, where she also volunteers and advocates for it’s protection.

‘We Are Here’

21-30 October 2021 in Cross Bones Garden (Wed, Thur, Fri 12-2pm) FREE
‘We Are Here’ is a physical manifestation of Lucy Coleman Talbot’s PhD research efforts to locate documented information about those buried at Crossbones. A range of reconstructions of coffins will be installed on Crossbones Graveyard, bearing the names of people known to be buried at the ground.
The installations can be viewed during regular garden opening hours: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 12pm-2pm and also Sunday 24th October 3.30pm-5pm. The viewings are FREE.
On Sunday 31st October 2pm – 4pm, Lucy will talk about the installation and share some of the burial ground’s history. Autumnal refreshments (vegan and gluten free) will also be available. Please book via eventbrite here. Many thanks to Lucy and sculptor Adrian (who also created our beautiful skull donation box) for making this installation possible.

La Catrina


The Mexican Ambassador, Josefa González-Blanco Ortiz Mena, beside the staue of La Catrina.

The Ambassador recently kindly gifted the statue to Cross Bones Graveyard and will attend a private unveiling at Cross Bones.

La Catrina, , the elegant female skeleton who has become the emblem of La Dia de los Muertos, will have her own place in the Cross Bones garden of remembrance and will be on public display there from 30th October 2021.

Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration at Cross Bones Graveyard

Sunday 18th July 2021

Film of The Dean of Southwark performing the Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration on Cross Bones Graveyard. This special service, conducted for the past seven years on the Sunday closest to St Mary Magdalene’s Day, blesses the outcast dead and our holy ground of Cross Bones. And all abused women.

This SE1 youtube film (17 mins) is very moving – especially when The Dean scatters holy water and the incense is censed. It ends with Mark Juhan thanking ‘the guys from The Cathedral’ then giving a fine rendition of ‘I Am The Wind’ from The Southwark Mysteries. Well done to all concerned. Proud to see Cross Bones being honoured in diverse spiritual traditions. The Goose is (well and truly) loose!

Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration

Sunday 18th July at 12.30pm in Cross Bones Graveyard and Garden of Remembrance, Union Street, London SE1

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd. Andrew Nunn, conducts a special service at Crossbones, the unconsecrated outcasts’ burial ground.
His ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration’ expresses the church’s regret for the treatment of the ‘Winchester Geese’, the sex workers who worked in the Bankside brothels licensed by the Bishop of Winchester, yet were allegedly denied Christian burial. It’s also a powerful statement of the Cathedral’s support for the protection of Crossbones Garden.
The Dean and Southwark Cathedral Chapter will be welcomed by Mark Juhan and other friends of Cross Bones.
Because of the pandemic restrictions numbers are strictly limited. Please arrive in good time before 12.30pm and be gracious if you’re unable to get in.
Click on this link for the Order of Service: Cross Bones Act of Regret

Catch My Drift

A new short film by John Constable, author of The Southwark Mysteries, commissioned for ‘BOLD beginnings’, a season of seven short films set at the Elephant and Castle. The season begins on Monday 14th June 2021.

Book at – it’s pay what you can. The booking form fills in a suggested amount but you can change it before you need to pay anything – if you’re broke you can enter £0.00 and watch for free. If you book today (14th) you’ll get to see all 7 films, each of which is about 5 minutes long.

The producer and director is Sarah Davey, director of The Southwark Mysteries, productions in 2000 and 2010.

Sarah has just launched the new BOLD creative hub at Elephant and Castle.

The films will be released one at a time from Mon 14th through to the final film on Sunday 20th June. Bookers will receive a link to the different film in their inbox each day.

John’s film, CATCH MY DRIFT, is scheduled for Thursday 17th June, though the schedule could change at short notice.

Cross Bones Garden of Remembrance – opening hours from April 12th

We’ve had many enquiries as to when the Garden of Remembrance will reopen.

Here’s the most recent update from Laura at  Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), which manages the garden:

“We plan to re-open Crossbones the week beginning 12th April, in line with lockdown relaxation. We have a limited number of volunteer wardens available so opening times will be reduced. At the moment it looks like the garden will hopefully be open on Thursdays and Fridays between 12 and 2. However as we depend on volunteers to open these times cannot be guaranteed. Hopefully as the summer progresses the garden will be open more often.”

For the latest information please telephone BOST on 020 7403 3393 or email

Crossbones ‘saved for decades’ BBC News 23/03/2021

click here for full BBC report – Crossbones: Historical London burial ground ‘saved for decades’

The future of a historical cemetery in south London has been secured for decades following a deal reached by developers, Transport for London (TfL) and local campaigners.

A local group, Friends of Crossbones, worked to preserve the graveyard together with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), and in 2014, a public garden of remembrance was opened, dedicated to those on the margins of society.’

click here for Southwark News report – ‘Crossbones Saved: A Tribute To Our Pooer Ancestors’

‘… People also adorned the gates of the graveyard with ribbons, part of what archaeologist Don Henson called the “active commemoration” of the prostitutes who may or may not be buried at the site’.
“HMS Belfast and Southwark Cathedral have associations who support the work of those sites, but the heritage narrative is controlled by the owners of each site,” he wrote in the 2014 book Who Needs Experts?
“At Crossbones there is no site ownership or even management; there are merely acts of commemoration. As a result, Crossbones is the most affective [sic] heritage site in Southwark, even if it is the least recognised, least designated and least like a heritage asset.
“It is the one place in the area where purely local significance is really evoked, and where the lives of people in the past can be celebrated and remembered. Without physical structures to distract the mind, it can be a site of quiet contemplation and communion with past people.”


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