Monday, January 23, 2017

Hidalgo Part 4/6. The English Cemetery

Mineral del Monte is at 2700 m (8900 ft) altitude. In the mid 1800's, English took over the mining companies from the Spanish. Several generations of English miners worked and died here and wanted their own cemetery (or Catholics didn't want Protestants or Methodists in their Catholic cemetery, who knows what the deal was). The thing is that Mineral del Monte has an English cemetery. The main gate dates the year 1862.

Carmen, our guide, assured us this is the first one in all the American continent. There are people buried here from different nationalities who came here in search of a better life. 

Prince Charles and his wife Camila came to visit this cemetery in 2005, a grave in particular. A soldier named John Vial was born here in the state of Hidalgo and served the English Air Force during the WWI. We died in action in France and was buried there. He was 22 years old. They set a symbolic grave in the English cemetery of Mineral del Monte. The top of the column in his grave has a diagonal cut which means he had an unfulfilled life. Oh, did I mention that this cemetery is full of Masonic graves?

Carmen is also the keeper of the cemetery. Her father was a keeper too. She told us her father was granted by the Queen Elizabeth a certificate and a medal as a member of the British Empire for his hard work for 40 plus years at this cemetery. I couldn't believe this extraordinary fact until she showed us the certificate and photos of her father with the English Ambassador to prove it. The certificate shows and I quote "Grant of the Dignity of an Honorary Member of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire to Mr. Inocencio Hernandez Lara". Shame on me for not believe her at first. 

Carmen told us everybody in town gossip about her salary paid in Euros or Dollars. She said she receives a humble salary from the Municipality in town. That meant we should give more than what she asked for her services as a tour guide, we did with pleasure. Later  she allowed me to stay longer, I returned and sketched more beautiful graves. Click here for Part 5

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