Keats wrote of "a poor weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing", but the OED has it petering out around 1880. Buchan's 1915 instance should spur a revival - a change from the usual tag of dour for Robin Cook and Lee Evans.Reuse content
JOHN BUCHAN'S output yields 427 OED citations. Small beer beside 1,350 from Ulysses, but he, too, had a dextrous way with language, for which he has only recently won credit. This account of the valet to the ill-fated Scudder is worthy of Waugh: "he was a whining fellow with a churchyard face, and half-a-crown went far to console him". More than sullen, churchyard concisely suggests stubble, pockmarks and wrinkles, and was first used as a metaphorical adjective in the 17th century, as in the doom-laden churchyard cough.