The curious story of the tombstone in a cemetery in Shrewsbury, England

The not-so-fake tomb of Ebenezer Scrooge, the character from Charles Dickens' story

The novel "A Christmas Carol", from 1843, is one of the most famous fictional stories by British writer Charles Dickens.

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The protagonist of that novel is called Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter old man who hates everyone and who is visited by several ghosts. I admit that it is a story that has always fascinated me, and that is why I was frankly impressed to learn that there is a grave with his name in the cemetery of St. Chad's Church, in Shrewsbury, England. This Saturday, Dead Good Walks published a video showing that grave:

The history of this tomb is quite curious. As I said at the beginning, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge is a fictional story, so how is it possible that its protagonist has a grave? The theory has been circulating for years, possibly invented by Ebenezer Scrooge himself. writer, that Dickens would have been inspired by a grave in the Canongate Kirkyard cemetery, in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie, a local flour merchant, would be buried there. According to this theory, the grave with Scroggie's name showed the expression "Meal man" (grain merchant), but Dickens thought it read "mean man". However, there is no evidence of the existence of that grave or of this Scroggie.

The aforementioned St. Chad's Church, in Shrewsbury, was moved to its present location in 1792. In Dickens's time there was no tomb with the name of Ebenezer Scrooge there. The IMDB website sheds some more light on that tomb, pointing out that the inscription with the name of the famous Dickens character dates back to the filming of the film version of "A Christmas Carol" starring George C. Scott and released in 1984: "The production team found the stone, apparently blank, and gained permission to have it inscribed. This was left in place at the end of the shoot." That is why there are people who know it as the false tomb of Ebenezer Scrooge.

However, that tomb is not as fake as some people believe. About the history of that tombstone I have found more information at The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Facebook page, which dedicated a post to that tombstone with the inscription "Ebenezer Scrooge" on December 14, 2017, noting the following:

The headstone is not a "prop" but an actual period headstone, on which the original inscription had deteriorated to the point that the movie production people asked the church if they could use it and inscribe the "Ebenezer Scrooge" words on it.

George C. Scott in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, in the 1984 film version of "A Christmas Carol" on which the tombstone of St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, was inscribed.

I confess that at the time of finding this information I was stunned. So, that tomb in the name of Ebenezer Scrooge is not empty: there is someone buried there, but it was called something else that, due to the passage of time, has been lost to oblivion. It's surprising that they allowed a tombstone to be renamed like that for a movie. In any case, if you go to that cemetery and see the name of Ebenezer Scrooge, don't think that an evil man is buried there. There is someone buried who has been named after a Dickens character. A most bizarre story.


Main image: Dead Good Walks.

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