In the 1860s, Thomas Hardy, the famous novelist, was learning the ropes as a young architect in London, and was given the unenviable task of digging up graves at Old St Pancras Church to make way for the railway about to power its way from St Pancras Station to the East Midlands and beyond.
He tried to give a decent burial to the human remains and stacked the gravestones around an ash tree, creating what became known as the Hardy Tree. Sadly, weakened by last year's storms, the tree has now fallen.
Two decades later, Hardy wrote a poem about another churchyard where remains had to be dug up and reburied, and included the lines:
We late-lamented, resting here,
Are mixed to human jam,
And each to each exclaims in fear,
'I know not which I am!'
You wonder how much that was inspired by his own experience of the daunting task at St Pancras.