Landscaped upon the lines of an Arcadian garden, Arno’s Vale was intended to relieve over-crowded graveyards, and provide a picturesque resting place for Bristol’s dead.1 Symonds’ mother, Harriet, was buried at Arnos Vale in 1844. Symonds was around three and a half:
“[My father] sometimes took me with him to her grave. This was in the Arno Vale Cemetery, high up upon a grassy hillside, where harebells and thyme blossomed in the short turf of a down. A plane tree spread its branches over the tomb; and the flat stone which marked her resting place was enclosed by iron railing. My father took jealous care that these railings should be over-rioted with ivy, roses, and clematis, growing in unpruned luxuriance. He wished to withdraw the sacred spot from vulgar eyes. I could not see in side it. It was our custom to pluck leaves from the plane tree and the creepers and to return in silence to the carriage which stood waiting by the gate. These leaves, gathered from my mother’s grave, were almost all I knew about her, all I had of her.”2
Symonds’ father, John Addington Symonds MD, was also buried here in 1871.