Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s Grave, St Pancras Churchyard

Mary Shelley, who wrote the book Frankenstein, regularly visited her mother’s grave in the St Pancras Churchyard in London. Mary never had a chance to know her mother as she died of septicaemia a few days after Mary was born in 1797. Although her father remarried, Mary despised her stepmother for favoring her own children over her, and the peacefulness of the graveyard provided a welcome escape from the tense atmosphere back home. Mary would often pack a lunch and spend an entire afternoon at the grave eating, napping and reading her mothers books.

On occasion, Percy Shelley, Mary’s future husband, secretly met her at the gravesite. As their affections grew for each other, it was here that the two confessed their love for each other. Percy was already married, with one child and another on the way.

While on a layover in London on my way to Greece, I had just enough time to visit Ms. Goodwin’s gravesite. While there, I wondered around the churchyard and imagined Mary’s peaceful afternoons. Sitting next to Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s grave as Mary had done so long ago, I created this drawing in my Moleskine sketchbook.

Although Mary Goodwin’s remains were later moved to Bournemouth, England in 1851, her original tombstone still remains.