George Orwell


All Saints Church, Sutton Courtney, Oxfordshire

Eric Arthur Blair – aka George Orwell. Author of 6 novels, most famously ‘Keep The Aspidistra Flying’, ‘Animal Farm’ and the dystopian classic ‘1984’ in which he created the expressions: "Thought police", "Big Brother", "Room 101" and "Telescreen". A heavy roll-your-own smoker and passionate tea drinker. In 1946 he penned an article for the London Evening Standard ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ in which he argued that the tea should be first poured into the cup, then the milk added. 

On 18 January 1950, 3 days before he died in the private wing of University College Hospital, London – from a lung haemorrhage – Orwell wrote his will. He stipulated that his body ‘shall be buried (not cremated) according the rites of the Church of England in the nearest convenient cemetery’.  Unfortunately, all the London cemeteries were full, so his friend, newspaper publisher David Astor, arranged for Orwell to be buried in the graveyard of All Saints Church, Sutton Courtney in Oxfordshire, the village where Astor lived.  George Orwell was 47 when he died.

The avenue approaching George Orwell's grave, behind the church.

The setting for George Orwell’s grave – planted with red roses.

In accordance with the instructions Orwell set out in his will: ‘…that there shall be placed over my grave a plain brown stone bearing the inscription “Here lies Eric Arthur Blair born June 26th 1903, died ----"’

51 years after George Orwell died, David Astor was buried close by.

Visitors to the Orwell grave pay tribute by leaving coins and stones on top of the headstone.

Just inside the door of All Saints Church, a memorial plaque.

Also inside the church, a very nice steampunk-ish organ.

(Photos: Stephen Smith)
© Colin Edmonds 2021