Monday, February 7

By Coincidence We Find Spike Milligan's Grave

Rye 16th century cottages
Nothing too dramatic today as far as coincidences go but it's another small personal experience from one of our holidays.

We were staying in a 16th century cottage in Rye, East Sussex, England. That's the row of cottages at the front of the photo. The picture was taken from the church bell tower opposite.

One day my wife and I set off for a long walk heading in the direction of the sea. As we crossed some open fields I started talking about Spike Milligan, a British/Irish comedian, writer, actor, musician and poet who died back in 2002. Nothing specific, just general chat as we walked.

After crossing the fields I wasn't too sure which way to head but saw a sign saying Winchelsea, so I suggested we went in that direction. We approached the village which was highish on a hill and looked to be old and interesting.

We made our way through the old gatehouse and into the village. It was typically, old fashioned England with a big church at the center. Though I don't belong to any organised religion I like churches: the way they feel, the atmosphere inside and so on. They are usually full of history.

 Winchelsea church
We spent an age in the church and my wife even made a 'rainbow' woollen bracelet while there, which she attached to her rucksack. As we were leaving my wife noticed a photo of Spike Milligan in the church!

Spike Milligan's graveShe beckoned me over and, sure enough, it was Spike's picture - with directions of how find his grave in the churchyard. This was completely unbeknown to us. We had no idea where he lived when alive or where he was buried. We now know that prior to his death he was living in Rye.

We found his grave outside and paid our respects. In typical Milligan humour his stone bears the words "Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite". This is Irish and translates to "I told you I was ill." I have since read that the church would not allow this to be written in English.

Below is a very silly video showing Spike Milligan - he's the 'woman' in the horned helmet!

Further Reading:
Ghostly Rye: The Most Haunted Town In England
The Unexpected Meeting Coincidence
An Unlikely Coincidence Meeting

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  1. spike was one of the all time greats a funny and clever man. perhaps the video doesnt show this off to the best. i didn't know he had that phrase actually on his grave but have seen him credited to it previously

  2. I remember my dad used to curl up laughing at Spike Milligan on TV, he also had books of his poems and I think his life story as well.

  3. Wow! Almost as if his spirit led you there........

  4. Love it. So I wonder, is this a case of your attracting the right path to his grave or his spirit leading you or a combo!?

  5. Anonymous06:42

    I love these type of surprises when traveling. I also recognized Spike Mulligan as a favorite of my dad's so researched him. Yep, some of those quotes dad liked to use were Spikes.

    "A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."

  6. Thanks Tom, Suzie, Neva, Trish & Rob and Terri. I'm not sure how we arrived at Spike's grave - spirit led or what. Must admit to being a fan of his work, especially his writing so felt happy that we had paid him a visit. That's the great thing about travel, sometimes too much research in advance spoils the adventure. Loved the quote from Terri!

  7. Nice post. I agree with what Tom and Suzie Shine said |