News from St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Oxford
Celebrate Science in a Cemetery
St Sepulchre's Cemetery:
Sunday 12 March 2017, 1.30–2.30pm
The wide range of rock types used for gravestones means that cemeteries can be geological treasure-troves. Join geologists Nina Morgan and Philip Powell on guided geological walks through St Sepulchre's Cemetery. You'll never look at cemeteries in the same way again! Free: no need to book – just turn up.
- Poster (including details of similar walks in other Oxford cemeteries)
All are welcome. Come when you can, with gloves and secateurs if possible, but we do have some gloves and tools.
The following sessions will be held in 2017 from 10am to 12 noon:
- Tuesday March 14th
- Tuesday April 11th
- Wednesday April 26th
- Tuesday May 9th
- Wednesday May 24th
- Tuesday June 13th
- Wednesday June 28th
- Tuesday July 11th
- Wednesday July 26th
- Wednesday August 23rd
- Tuesday September 5th (preparation for Open Doors)
- Wednesday September 27th
- Tuesday October 10th
- Tuesday November 14th
- Tuesday December 12th
Ceremony at the grave of Frank Bellamy
To mark the 80th anniversary of the death of Frank Bellamy, the Oxford Philatelic Society organized a ceremony at his grave in St Sepulchre's Cemetery on 15 February 2016.
Bellamy paid a key role in the development of the Oxford Philatelic Society and also helped to establish the Oxford Photographic Society, and contributed significantly to astronomy in his post as an observational astronomer at the Radcliffe Observatory.
Oxford Preservation Trust Award
Oxford City Council Cemeteries Service and the Friends of St Sepulchre's Cemetery were awarded a Certificate by the Oxford Preservation Trust on 3 November 2015 for making the cemetery “a more welcoming destination in Oxford”.
The Geology of Oxford Gravestones
This new book by Nina Morgan and Philip Powellincludes 14 graves from St Sepulchre's Cemetery, made of crinoidal limestone, Pennant sandstone, Welsh slate, Carrara marble, Hornton stone, and Cornish, Peterhead, Shap, and pink granite.
Details of how to obtain it here
Oxford Mail, 25 August 2015:
“New book on city gravestone geology is a dead good read!”
Oxford Mail, 13 September 2014:
“Headstones clue to Oxford’s geology”
Whole cemetery now accessible
At their gardening session on Wednesday 25 February 2015, the Friends of St Sepulchre celebrated clearing all sight-lines to the boundary and making all memorials accessible after six years of work:
First World War and St Sepulchre’s
There are no War Graves in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery; but there are 16 inscriptions in remembrance of family members who died in the First World War and were buried overseas or whose bodies were never found. There is also one to a German violinist who married an Oxford girl and died of tuberculosis contracted while he was in an internment camp on the Isle of Man.
There is a plan attached to the cemetery gate under the arch showing where these graves are, and a piece of red wool has been tied around each of the relevant graves to make them easier to find.
Restoring a grave
If you are interested in getting the grave of your ancestors restored, please email email@example.com
Three graves have been recently restored:
- Professor & Mrs Morfill (2014)
- Thomas Hill Green and his wife Charlotte Byron Green (2014/15)
- Charles Boase (2015)
Photoshoot by Oxford Mail
Members of the gardening group joined Oxford City Council Cemeteries Manager Trevor Jackson and Councillor Susanna Pressel for an Oxford Mail photoshoot at the cemetery on 21 July 2014. This photograph was taken by Peter Strong at the garden seating area, which is looking particularly good this summer.
Gardening tools needed!
The group uncovering and tidying the graves in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery has no funding and is always in need of tools. If you have an ancestor buried here and would like to donate a tool by purchasing it online and arranging for it to be sent directly to us, please email. We particularly need long loppers, secateurs, and drag-mats.
The photograph shows two members of the gardening group admiring the secateurs donated by this method in memory of Mark Dugald Stark by his great-granddaughter.
The headstones in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery were inspected by Oxford City Council in the winter of 2013/14, and the following were laid down after failing the safety inspection:
- John & Harriet Axtell (Row 18, Grave E21)
- Henry, Thomas, and Louisa Deacon (Row 11, Grave A20)
- William Edwards (position uncertain)
- Cyril Eustace (position uncertain)
- Annie Bacon Hart (Row 31a, Grave J28½)
- Emma Jephson (Row 53, Grave P37)
- William & Mary Ann Lindsey (Row 15, Grave A4)
- Richard Mortimer (Row 34, Grave H14)
- John Frederick Smith: probably John Hardwick Smith (Row 46, Grave K42)
- Thomas & Martha Wilkins (Row 2, Grave A14)
Three others had no inscriptions left on them or were unreadable:
- One was totally unknown
- One was in a double plot with the name Allchin on the other stone
- One was a cross which appeared to have the name Albert and KIA.
This website was launched on Tuesday 12 February 2013, in freezing conditions, with snowdrops pushing up through the snow, and we were in the Oxford Mail on the 18 February: “Help is needed at oasis of tranquillity in city”
Above: the volunteers celebrate Christmas on 17 December 2013