Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Headington Cemetery

Headington Cemetery was built in 1885 after it was found that in 1880 there was a urgent need fro new a new burial ground due to the expansion of the village and the fact the churchyard was full. At first it was a long cemetery road but that was renamed Dunstan after St Dunstan who was Archbishop of Canterbury and crowned King Ethelred, who allegedly had his palace nearby.
The Cemetery closed for new burials in 2003

The emblem of Oxford City Council which you will see on the gates of the cemetery's they run

and the main entrance to Heddington cemetery

first thing you see coming through the gates is this wonderful little chapel

which no doubt still looks good today as it did when it was built
The Norman stile arch doorway is a nice feature

Not far away you can see the old mortuary where the dead were stored before burial. It's now used as  the groundsmen as a canteen where they can take a brake

 I had visited the cemetery before and on this occasion I was at the Hospital next door so came in the back way

the hospital can be seen in the distance. Most of the graves you see here are the newer ones of people buried in family graves

One of the first things I noticed this time was there are a number of Commonwealth War graves, about 20 in all. These three are from the First World War
M.Woodcock died a few days before Armistice day on the 11th November. You can read about her here

 Other graves are from the second war

from different regiments
and services

 I only noticed the name on this one when I wrote the blog, he is related to M Woodcock from the First war

Headington Cemetery covers two acres  but if you head over to the corner here you heart will break

Here you will find the graves of children who have died

 Follow the path you come to this section, the path is lined with the names of a child no longer with us
The Oxford SANDS memorial


The headstone on the left is huge and is one of the notable stones  but I also noticed the Regimental  motives a few of them as well

on the way back up the cemetery I noticed the back of the headstone to Bill Hebborn

Harry Pollitt was another I noticed with the winged Pegasus, the words of the back told the story, Both Bill & Harry fought in6th Airborne.

 Looking round the older part of the cemetery which is left overgrown

You can see some impressive crosses in the cemetery
 along with many smaller headstones

Quite a few ornate looking crosses

Some laid over


or becoming lost to time. The headstone is to the first Dean of Oxford Polytechnic now Brooks University 

  Some of the headstones from other nationalities and I wonder what they say

But I will leave you today with this inscription on a headstone which I think is Wonderful. 
Happy New Year


  1. What a collection of wonderful memorials, The military stones have such beautiful designs and the Bill Hebborn stone is a delight. It's sad that the older part of the cemetery is so poorly cared for, but I always enjoy the oldest stones when I visit cemeteries. Tom The Backroads Traveller

    1. The older part of the cemetery is maintained differently to encourage wildlife and wild flowers, graves that are still visited are kept clear and the long grass area is cut at the end of the year

    2. Not sure I agree on that Mark. I used to cut the grass at our local churchyard when I was young. The whole churchyard was kept neat & tidy, it was the same for all the ones I knew of. When they went over to contract grass cutting costs got greater so they look for ways to cut costs so keeping the grass long helps in two ways, saves the councils money on cutting and encourages wildlife. I still think they look untidy though

    3. I do agree Bill, i live in the lodge at the cemetery and work for the cemeteries team. It was a saving at first to not cut the grass in the older sections and we also went through with a lot of wild flower seeds. Some of our cemeteries also have insect lodges. We currently see Deer, Badgers, Foxes and all sorts of bird life, so the wildlife theme is working

  2. Walking around cemeteries like these is so interesting and sobering. Love the Celtic crosses!

  3. i love it all!! what a quaint little church. i'm impressed. ( :

  4. Interesting cemetery and tour, Bill. Headstones are usually poignant. I'm intrigued by the idea of authorities potentially realising there's an urgent need for more burial space! I guess that concentrates minds somewhat. And I often wonder about cemeteries located next to hospitals...

    1. Nothing sinister here, the hospital was built many many years after the cemetery was opened

  5. These old cemeteries are such a rich source of history, always interesting to stroll through and wonder about these past lives.

  6. That was a wonderful look around Bill. A very interesting bit of history too. Thanks for the tour and also thanks for commenting on my Widecome-in-the Moor post. If you wanted to use my photos at any time, I would be very happy for you to do so. I hope you get down there sometime. I would love to see your write-up on the place.