Letter: William Morris sadly neglected

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The Independent Online
Sir: Last week I attended a five-day study course organised by Birmingham University on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. I was sadly dismayed on my party's visit to Kelmscott churchyard to see the dilapidation of the great Victorian's memorial.

William Morris' request was for simplicity. Philip Webb, his friend, designed a very low slab (with inscription) elevated on a stone at each end, with a bay tree placed at one end. However, with the passing of time the slab is weatherworn, and there are very large yellow-green moss pockmarks all over it; a rough earth ditch is gullied all around the grave because of visitors walking here; the bay tree has been allowed to grow into a huge, thick bush, which hides the grave from view; part of its base overhangs one end.

There is a notice in the small church that William Morris's burial place is in the churchyard but if the church is closed there is no indication where it is positioned, under trees on the perimeter of the churchyard.

Exploitation of this William Morris centenary year has certainly occurred in connection with commercial sales throughout the summer months. Cannot someone or some organisation come forward and undertake a craft renovation of his simple burial place?

DOROTHY BILTCLIFFE

Broadway, Worcestershire

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