View Full Version : Bitterly Disappointed
27-02-2008, 11:07 PM
I must say I am bitterly disappointed to learn that my Great Great Grandfather's tombstone is being used in an open air tea room at Carfax.
William Henry Butler's tombstone is one of the few that remains in place and now lies in an outdoor eating area of the Carfax cafe.
I learn from other sources that beneath his tombstone still rest his bones. Has the person who dumped a table on top of it no resect for the dead? Good Grief Sir, where were you educated.
Please remove your table and treat my Great Great Grandfather's grave with a little more dignity.
28-02-2008, 12:40 AM
I sympathise And.... Martha Baker (google) agrees with you
"being judged as some one im not~the tomb behind carfax cafe (it has a person in it!)~ etc"
28-02-2008, 12:59 AM
Personally, I find this quite appalling Don. When I have transcribed headstones in my local churchyards, I always strive to avoid stepping on the actual graves or damaging the headstones in any way - even though some are overgrown with moss, lichen or brambles.
I thought the current practice of removing "dangerous" or loose headstones was bad enough, but to convert someones grave into a seating area for a cafe shows total disregard for the sanctity of a burial ground.
I hope you forwarded your comments to the cafe and local council in that area as well as the churches.
28-02-2008, 1:40 AM
I think this is disgraceful. Oxford is supposed to the centre of learning - obviously RESPECT has fallen short in certain areas. Yes I have written to Oxford City Council.
28-02-2008, 5:23 AM
I agree with you Don. Maybe we should start a petition from around the globe at this disgraceful and disrepectful attitude! You would think that the Council would have some common sense and not allow such a practice to continue or even exist.
28-02-2008, 5:49 AM
Hi Don. I would think that I am not the only one who is not totally suprised to read about the actions that you detail in your post. Whilst I do not for one minute condone what is being done, I know that the selfish ways of the modern world are too great a battle for me to fight and therefore I am guilty of complacency.
I was brought up to respect graves no matter where they are and even now, I am very aware that in many of the worlds great churches, the floors on which we walk are covered in gravestones. Whilst not always being able to avoid them, it does not come easy for me to walk over them.
You haven't detailed the exact location and perhaps this public forum may not be the place. I would however be pleased to receive a pm as the area is well known to me but I have been away from it for many years.
28-02-2008, 6:36 AM
That is disgusting |scold|. I would start a 'name and shame' campaign to get the cafe to move the table. Such an important man in Oxford should be revered, not have peoples' feet on him all day every day. Completely disrespectful.
28-02-2008, 9:34 AM
On the rare occasions when I now visit Oxford, I won't go into that place for that very reason. It isn't a religious thing with me, I'm not that way inclined, it is just that there are some places you do not use for commercial purposes.
Back in the eighties, when I was stationed in the area, I used to check around Bladon churchyard and had to point out to tourists - politely in some cases and not so politely in others - that standing astride, sitting on, or lying down next to Churchill's grave to have their photo taken was not allowed.
On a couple of occasions I was actually asked "Are you going to stop me?" Their next experience of English hospitality and assistance from the local constabulary was a gentle pressure beneath the left elbow as I escorted them off the church premises.
Why anyone would want such a photo is beyond me.........and getting back to Carfax, when there are so many (much better) places to have coffee in Oxford (I have to put in a plug for Hero's in Ship Street), why does there need to be one in what little remains of the church and yard? It was much better when they used to keep the gates shut and just allowed limited access up the tower.
29-02-2008, 12:11 AM
I have been uplifted by the response, not only here but also in other areas, from people who have expressed a disgust at the disrespect of the dead not only in Carfax but in other parts of Oxford(shire).
I know I am hooting over just one individual, Alderman Butler my Great Great Grandfather, but I hold the same outrage against any desecration of the remains of anyone.
It is true that this is not the place to hold this conversation so I will close the thread quickly before I am reprimanded. But I will include here an update.
Today I spoke by telephone to a Gentleman from Oxford City Council who has taken up my complaint. He advised me that he visited the Carfax site this afternoon and saw exactly the way WHB's tombstone and grave is being mistreated. He has also spoken to the Head of XXX who will be making investigations as to what and what not has been Let to the local businesses who use the site. Further, he was most sympathetic and emphasised that in his opinion whatever the findings of the Head of XXX ref the extent of the Let he feels arrangements must be made to protect WHB's remains. Not forgetting of course that WHB's first wife, Elizabeth Briggs and two of their infant children, Caroline and catherine Adelaide also rest beneath that Tombstone.
I cannot go further in this medium at this stage because the matter is now in hand and I await further developments. I thank the Gentleman of Oxford City Council for his very prompt action thus far and for his manner and approachability.
Finally, thank you all for your like mindedness in regard to holding our dearest departed's bones in such respect.
I have opened email communication should you wish to be updated.
29-02-2008, 12:15 AM
Good news Don - hopefully you will get a sensible resolution to this issue. Please keep me informed if possible.
29-02-2008, 12:54 AM
We will be thinking of you.
Well done Don, I really hope something is done about the situation.
Very best wishes
08-04-2008, 11:58 PM
To update you: I have now received another reply from a Gentleman (un-named here) of Oxford City Council who informs me that the part of Carfax Graveyard has been leased to a cafe and that the lease is silent regarding my Great Great Grandfather's grave. I include below my response to his reply.
Dear Mr XXX
Firstly: Thank you for you reply and your research. I am fully aware that these things must take a little time and accept your reason for delay.
Secondly: The lease being silent concerning my Great Great Grandfather's grave means that no right has been inferred or contracted to allow a grave to be used as a convenience to a table and chairs. Therefore may I draw attention to the Decency Laws. It is very indecent for any grave to be misused by anyone and the fact that the lease is silent does not mean that a tomb stone can be damaged.
May I leave this with you for a short time when I will await the responses of the leaseholder from you.
09-04-2008, 12:27 AM
Thanks for keeping us informed Don. I was only thinking about this yesterday afternoon and wondering how you were getting on.
I'm glad you are sticking with this Don, and I'll be very interested to hear what Mr XXX has to say.
09-04-2008, 9:14 AM
Thanks for the update Don. Let's hope decency prevails in this case.
09-04-2008, 9:46 AM
This is indeed really bad,I did a search on google and there it is the Stone with what looks like a chair leg on it ! Disgusting,Good luck in your Complaint,we will keep watching.
18-05-2008, 2:15 AM
With Oxford City Council dragging its heels I have started a Blog that I hope will add more pressure. I have not included a link here because I don't want to impose but if you would like it then please email or use the private message tool.
18-05-2008, 7:36 AM
I hope you get some resolution Don. It's a disgusting way to behave. I'm sure the owner of the Cafe wouldn't put a table and chairs there if it were there relative.
Best of luck!
21-05-2008, 8:38 PM
I too feel a sense of outrage, disbelief and disappointment that anyone's memorial is vandalised in this way. Lets hope there is a positive outcome to this. Sadly I don't think this will prevent it from happening again either in Oxford or elsewhere. Guess this is part of the price for living in a modern world - I much prefer an old fashioned one!
Good Luck with your attempts tto resolve this.
22-05-2008, 7:46 PM
The blog is now fully up and running and today I was interviewed by BBC Local Radio (Oxford) who will be running the interview at breakfast time Friday morning. The Url of the audio will be available to anyone interested.
Also Friday the BBC will be arriving with camera crew for a TV spot presumably to be broadcast in the Oxford area some time in the future.
For more information please send a private message or email.
22-05-2008, 8:48 PM
Good for you, Don!
I can't believe that any any place would want to do this or the town, councils or whatever would allow them to. Why would anyone eat there? The whole thing just baffles the mind.:confused::confused:
28-01-2009, 12:05 PM
I've only just picked up on this thread, and it's a few months now since it was last updated, but I wonder what happened? Do you have any more news Don, and was there a broadcast on the local BBC news programme, and is the headstone now free of table and chairs?
28-01-2009, 4:08 PM
Thanks Thumper. To get a fuller update go to my Blog at www.oxfordgraves.blogspot.com There you will find what has happened thus far. The battle is not yet won but..... The Blog might also help others with similar problems and show them some of the obstacles they will run into.
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