– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.


Under this stone lies Gabriel John
In the year of our Lord one thousand and one
Cover his head with turf or stone
‘Tis all one, ’tis all one, with turf or stone
’tis all one.

Q: The grave marker of [past member of Balliol] in [X cemetery] in [Y city/county/country] is in a shocking state of disrepair. Why on earth doesn’t Balliol College look after it properly??

A: Because Balliol College is not responsible for the maintenance of gravestones of its deceased members or employees, eminent or obscure. The college has been known to contribute to appeals for the restoration of individual gravestones or other memorials, but is not responsible for organising, funding or maintaining such upkeep. The college does, however, welcome information on the burial places of its past members and will add it to that member’s individual dossier in the College Archives, though some sort of corroborating evidence is required, e.g. images of the memorial and its surroundings. Memorials within the college precinct – which of course the college is responsible for and does look after – are listed online here. A few known burial places of e.g. former Masters of Balliol are listed here. 

This query comes up regularly, and is in the same category as the Blue Plaque Question. Some of the response to that question applies here as well.

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