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Photo courtesy of Joe Dunckley
Rammohun Roy's statue outside Bristol Cathedral

Press Release - 19 November 2008

Free lecture: Is it a good idea to be buried in your garden?

Bodies in the garden are the focus of a free public lecture offering an historical perspective on present day garden burials, at the University of Bath on Thursday 20 November (5.20pm to 6.50pm).

Clare Gittings, Learning Manager at the National Portrait Gallery, will encourage people to consider their own thoughts and feelings on garden burials and present examples of unusual burials from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

“Exploring the aspirations, experiences and long term outcomes for these people can raise useful lessons for today,” said Ms Gittings.

“Do you expect your body to remain undisturbed in the future? Are you bothered about the idea of your body being moved? Would you buy a house if you knew a body was buried in your garden? It will be interesting to see whether the audience feel any differently about these questions after we’ve looked at the historical examples.”

The examples include Rammohun Roy, whose statue stands outside Bristol Cathedral. The Indian social reformer, writer and educational pioneer was buried in a garden in 1833.

Many of the case histories have portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, photos of which will be shown at the lecture, together with pictures of some of the burial sites.

The data is drawn from recent research carried out with Professor Tony Walter from the University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society.

Ms Gittings is on the editorial board of the journal Mortality and teaches on the University’s Death & Society MSc.

The free lecture will be held at the University of Bath at 3 East 2.20 and people need to email the Centre for Death and Society at if they would like to attend.

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