Tag: graveyard

Holywell Cemetery

Holywell Cemetery is the first cemetery that I visited in Oxford and is one of two that are within what I call “walking distance” of the town centre. There was no real compelling reason to visit it either, but from a curiosity standpoint it was certainly a drawcard. It is situated at Google Earth co-ordinates 51.755681°,  -1.247123° and entrance is through a gate set back from St Cross Road.

There is not a lot to say about it though, so this post is really more of a photo essay than a long winded exploration of the place. The pics speak for themselves. 

It really is a jungle in there and it is done deliberately to encourage small wild and bird life in it. I am always in two minds about leaving a cemetery wild like this, but there is a certain beauty about it that is breathtaking. There is a small information board in the cemetery, although there we no leaflets available. I have split off the key and map from the board so as to see them easier. 

The only name that I recognise is that of James Blish, a Science Fiction author. I did not hunt down the grave though, the cemetery is way too overgrown to find anything in. 

The Friends of Holywell Cemetery was founded in 1987 to raise funds for the maintenance of the cemetery on land that was gifted by Merton College in 1847. The lodge was erected in 1850 and to be honest I really thought the building was derelict but there is somebody living in it. It is however very hemmed in by foliage and getting a complete image of it was almost impossible.

University dons dominate the burials here , and  last count there were 160 of them, including 32 Heads of Houses, but there is no barrier here between town and gown. Shopkeepers and tradespeople abound, with names which will be recognised by many Oxonians. 

I am not sure whether it is still in use, or when the last burial did take place but there were a quite a few newish headstones to be seen. Unfortunately some were buried amongst the undergrowth so I could not really investigate them too closely.

Next to the cemetery is is the St Cross church and it has quite a nice churchyard too. What is interesting about it is how high the churchyard is compared to the actual church building, indicating that the churchyard is very full. I did not photograph the church though, as it was in a very awkward  position.

The churchyard is not as overgrown as the cemetery, although that could be because it is situated on the street whereas the cemetery is not street facing. Which came first? I think the churchyard was here long before the cemetery.  

That more or less sums up Holywell. I did not spend too much time there but enjoyed it immensely. Its not too often that you encounter a beaut like this one, and without the mad rush of looking for specific graves it is easy to just enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this small haven away from the frenetic rush of the city.

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DRW © 2019. Created 01/07/20101

Updated: 09/09/2019 — 10:32

The Friends Burial Ground in Tewkesbury

Ever since my discovery of the Society of Friends Burial Ground in Southampton in 2013, I have kept an eye open for other locations that may have been used by the Society of Friends. 

When I was in Basingstoke the Holy Ghost Cemetery had Quaker graves in it, but they were part of the general population of the cemetery as opposed to being in a separate graveyard.

Tewkesbury surprised me because there is a Society of Friends Burial ground in the city, and I briefly went into it when I first arrived in the city in 2015. I really stumbled onto the burial ground by accident, but never quite registered where it was. When it came to finding it once again I was stumped because I could not find it in the many alleys and passages that still exist in the city.
This weekend I decided to remedy that and go find the place! Strangely enough it did not feature on my mapping facility of my phone, so it was really a case of investigating every alley and passage until I found it. 
And finally I found it. The white cottage is one of two original meeting houses of the Society of Friends that exists at the site. 
The signs on the gate tells us nothing about the burial ground itself, apart from the date 1660.
When I had first seen this spot in June 2015 I had thought that it was strange that there were no headstones, but then I was looking at it in the same context as the burial ground in Southampton. This one has no surviving headstones, and was probably abandoned when the a new meeting house was erected in Barton Street. in 1804. 
There is not much to see in the burial grounds, it is now a pleasant garden space and is very pretty.
Personally I was hoping to find some sort of information board, but there is nothing. And naturally, the moment I was inside the space half of Tewkesbury decided that they too wanted to come in too, so I left. 
In researching this space I found a few answers, but I now need to investigate the hall in Barton Street (now called the George Watson Memorial Hall) to see whether there are answers there, and the possible continuation of this graveyard. 
The Quakers stopped using this space around about 1950 too as it was too large, which could indicate that the Quaker movement was in decline in the city. Hopefully I will find a few answers there, but somehow I doubt it.
The burial ground was not what I expected, but it is an interesting space in the city, one of many that existed a long time ago and which is now different from what it originally was.
© DRW. 2016-2018   Created 07/05/2016
Updated: 01/01/2018 — 15:56
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