A VICAR who hopes to extend a church building over old graves is appealing for relatives of those buried there to come forward.

There are up to 10 graves in the area of the churchyard where Littlemore’s St Mary and St Nicholas Church could be extended to provide a toilet, kitchen and meeting room for its congregation.

The Reverend Margreet Armitstead said that it would only be gravestones that are moved and the remains would not be disturbed.

She said: “There is a small number of graves. We want to know whether the graves are still tended to.

“The foundations of the extension will go on top of the ground so the graves will not be disturbed. We would put the gravestones somewhere else in the churchyard.”

The graves are mostly from the 19th century, but the most recent one is from the mid 20th century.

She added: “It’s up to 10 graves, very old graves that have not been tended for a long time.

“We had a look everywhere in the churchyard and it is the only place it can happen.”

The church was founded by John Henry Newman, whose mother Jemima Newman laid the first stone of the church’s foundation in 1835.

Newman consecrated the church, in Sandford Road, Littlemore, in 1836.

Because of its history, Ms Armitstead said the church was regularly visited.

Ms Armitstead said: “We really need the extension as we don’t have any water.

“It is for the church, but also for the wider community.

“We are very limited in what we can do because of lack of facilities.

“We also get a lot of pilgrims so we would like to have the basic toilets.”

She hopes the estimated £200,000 extension will benefit the children’s Sunday school and church groups.

If no one comes forward with any objections to the relocation of the gravestones, the church will move forward with the plans and begin fundraising.

Anyone with comments is asked to call Ms Armitstead on 01865 748003 or email margreetarmitstead@btinternet.com before Thursday, February 28.

For more information visit littlemorechurch.org


The names on the graves at St Mary and St Nicholas Church

Same grave:

Ellen Wicks, died October 1, 1931

Ada Ann Wicks, died April 25, 1948

Same grave:

Charles Evans, died 1881

Maurice Evans, died 1925

Same grave:

Charles Phipps, died 1841

Charlotte Phipps, died 1950

Same grave:

William Burgess, died October 1865

Ann Burgess, died January 1867

Same grave:

John Barnes, died 1844

Ruth Barnes, died 1870

Same grave:

Thomas Barnes, died 1860

Mary Barnes, died 1861

William, indistinguishable full name and date

Names indistinguishable, 1847 and 1852

Names indistinguishable, 1867

Names indistinguishable, died aged 39 or 59 years

Martha Belect, no date distinguishable