Colonel Sir William Dupree, 1st Baronet, rich and powerful, had the tomb built in 1907 and it is described as a ‘whacking great mausoleum in the French style with battered sides and a stepped pyramidal roof. It is built of smooth Balmoral granite with polished granite memorial tablets on the walls‘
Technically it should be called a Mausoleum however, amongst those in the know ‘the Tomb’ is the correct name.
The Tomb was constructed before the first occupant required its shelter, and whilst there is nothing unusual about that, no local craftsmen were involved in its construction. The Colonel insisted ‘master masons’ were involved in its construction and indeed no architects name is listed against the edifice, even though every aspect of it was specifically designed, from the door to the exterior light fittings, an unusual thing at the time.
Lady Mary Dupree was the first to transition to the Tomb, and was followed by her husband in 1933. It continues to be in use and the last family member to utilise it was in 1995. Not all of the family were allowed to use the Tomb, and to those obituary chasers there would seem to be no obvious reason for those who were.
Those that were granted a place in the Tomb, were taken there and shown where they would rest when their time came, often at a very early age. It was, mistakenly thought, that the Colonel chose from his favourites, however the tradition continued long after his transition.
In 1940 the Tomb was vandalised and the exterior light fittings were destroyed. At the time it was thought an over zealous air raid warden was responsible.
As the years passed, more family members were interred, and always by the same undertaker, Mock & Son, the Tomb started to acquire a reputation. Those with family buried nearby complained that the flowers they would leave on the graves on their loved ones would be removed or trampled or would catch some sort of airborne blight.
This was explained away by statements such as the putrefying corpses were tainting the air around the Tomb. Some enterprising souls went so far as to sandbag the bottom of the door, however as with most things related to the Tomb, they were missing the following morning.
The trees surrounding the Tomb grew abnormally, shrouding over it, or as Tom Salford, the cemetery groundkeeper, put it ‘trying to smother the damn thing’
Salford retired in 1956 and the house he occupied in the cemetery grounds was renovated in 1961. A book, considered to be a poor attempt at an occult version of the Voynich Manuscript, was found wrapped in sack cloth under the floorboards. The book, donated to the local museum, was found to be partially written in Greek and was called the Book of the Stilled Tongue. This obscure tome will feature later on in this tale.
By 1978 the Tomb had acquired a terrible reputation, those that knew the tales insisted that their loved ones who had passed on be buried far away from its location.
However time prevails and the reputation gradually faded, not unexpectedly as the cemetery was full now and less people came to visit.
Until 1997 that is, when the stunted tree was scheduled to be cut down..