When is a grave not a lifestyle accessory?

Charles 3 Comments


A dead priest, buried in the grounds of the school he founded, is in danger of being dug up and moved so as not to be in the way of the school’s new owner.

Father Jarzebowski, a Pole, bought the school in 1953 for fifty quid. There, he educated the children of Polish émigrées until his death. He wanted to be buried in the grounds, right by the playing fields. So that was where they buried him. Later, a member of the Polish royal family, Prince Stanislaw Radziwill, had a church built nearby. He is buried in the crypt. 

It’s a nice old house, this school — the model for Toad Hall in Wind in the Willows. 

Spool on some fifty years and the school is now worth £16.5 million. It has been bought by an Iranian heiress who wants Father Jarzebowski and Prince Stanislaw out. Ken Clark grants an exhumation licence. The Polish community is up in arms — and that’s not all. So are John Bradfield of the Alice Barker Trust and Teresa Evans of EvansAboveOnline. Together they are a formidable force. They believe that the dead should be left to rest in peace. Teresa adds, “whether or not we agree with what the law says, the law is the law and must be respected.” 

Things come to a head in the Appeal Court this Wednesday. John and Teresa want everyone to know about it. Here’s their press release:



Because of incompetence on the part of civil servants since 1857, governments have long been colluding with the illegal destruction of graves, which have been created within living memory. 

The court hearing on Wednesday is the first opportunity in more than 150 years, to put a final stop to those illegal actions. 

Unless the judges are made aware of the true legal position, those illegal actions will in all probability be encouraged. 

The Ministry of Justice is the Defendant but it has not submitted evidence on case law. 

It is too late for the Alice Barker Trust to apply to become an intervening party. The best it can do at such a late stage, is secure publicity, to alert the judges to the case law mentioned on the website below. 

Please help protect the public interest with publicity on this crucial issue. 



Government in Court over a Priest & Wind in The Willows 

A charity is calling on the government not to mislead the Court of Appeal on the 28 March 2012, when it considers long established law, on the protection of graves. 

The Alice Barker Trust has warned that the courts have not been told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth by the government. The charity alleges that despite its objections over the last 20 years, the government has persisted in issuing unlawful and invalid exhumation licences, resulting in the illegal destruction of graves created within living memory. 

The charity claims that one of the country’s top judges, the Master of the Rolls, clarified the law in 1880 and that the first opportunity to have that clarification endorsed, will now be squandered. 

At Fawley Court, the house which inspired Toad Hall in the book The Wind in the Willows, the government has issued a licence, to remove the body of a priest from his grave and may later issue another licence to move the body of a prince. 

The charity insists that the licence is unlawful and is displaying the evidence on http://www.exhumationlaw.moonfruit.com/

More details available from

Alice Barker Trust, John Bradfield, Full Time Hon. Researcher 1990-2012 Tel. 01423 530 900


Note: John Bradfield is the author of Green Burial, the DIY Guide, a book which clarified many legal matters concerning natural burial in the early days of the movement. Teresa Evans is currently campaigning to stop all interference with the Cross Bones graveyard in London. 




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Teresa Evans
11 years ago

Your a sweetheart. Thanks for putting this information out there Charles!

11 years ago

At a personal and selfish level, I’m not too troubled by the idea of bones being moved aside, after a decent interval, though in the case of something like Cross Bones, I certainly feel history should be marked and preserved, as it clearly is being.

But this of Toad Hall is a deeply unpleasant and offensive piece of Philistinism. In my uncouth manner, I feel the heiress, wherever she’s from, should be told to go forth and multiply. (In polite legal language, of course.) It’s a shocker. Thanks Charles for drawing it to our attention.

Richard Rawlinson
Richard Rawlinson
11 years ago

Very interesting piece. I agree it’s an outrage against these noble Poles by the estate’s new owner – wherever she’s from! 😉