Shorne Church by E. W. Haslehust (1866-1949).. Watercolour on paper. Source: Haslehust and Nicklin, Dickens-land, facing page 53. Text and formatting by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Passage Illustrated

In winter, when it was possible to make a short cut across the stubble fields, [Dickens in later years] would visit Cooling churchyard not less seldom than in summer he would go to sit in the churchyard of Shorne. [Nicklin, 27]


A great walker from youth, Dickens loved to ramble beyond the fields around Gadshill Place, making the Leather Bottle Inn, Cobham, a favourite stop. Through nearby Cobham Wood Dickens made his last such walk on the eve of his death in June 1870. In the vicinity of Cobham Woods is the idyllic village of Shorne, dominated by the tower of a Saxon church. Dickens had pondered being buried here, in the peaceful churchyard, or in Cobham or Rochester, near the cathedral that he features so prominently in the action of his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.


Dickens, Charles. The Pickwick Papers. il. Robert Seymour and Hablot Knight Browne. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

Lynch, Tony. Dickens England: An A to Z Tour of the Real and Imagined Locations. A Traveller 's Companion. London: Batsford, 2012.

Nicklin, J. A. Dickens-land. Il. E. W. Haslehust. Beautiful England series. Glasgow & London: Blackie & Son, 1911.

Last modified 25 February 2014