Work being undertaken by volunteers in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Oxford

April 2012

Oxford Mail, 18 February 2013: “Help is needed at oasis of tranquillity in city

See News page for dates of next working parties
Come when you can, with gloves and secateurs if possible, but we do have some gloves and tools.

Origins of the Garden Group

St Sepulchre’s has always had its friends, but in 2005 with the development of the Lucy’s site, Peter Strong, who was very involved with the Jericho Living Heritage Trust, recognised that the friends needed to come forward and be counted once the development had been completed.

As the City Council no longer had the staff to maintain the green velvet lawns that Superintendent Fred Wort had cared for in the 1960s, parts were overgrown, giving cover for antisocial behaviour which made the cemetery unwelcoming. Peter contacted the City Council Cemeteries’ Office and with their encouragement and advice the work started.

So, an informal group started on Sunday 29 March 2009 cutting saplings, brambles and ivy and it has now met on almost 150 occasions, with six or seven volunteers a session. 45 people have helped at one time or another, on summer evenings for 1½ hours or winter mornings for two hours. 

The main request from the City Council was to clear sightlines to the boundaries of the cemetery to make the atmosphere less threatening and to discourage drug and alcohol abusers from creating dens.  This is being done by cutting down the self-sown saplings, brambles and overgrown shrubs and by raising the canopy on small trees. 


Above: Before and below after on 8 December 2009

As the thickets were being cleared it was obvious that many memorials had been hidden. The majority are clear but there are still more to do in the areas that have not yet been touched and the ones already cleared will need attention as the ivy carries on growing.  Recording the memorials for online use is under way.

October 2009

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