Eleanor Bone Memorial Fund

The Eleanor Bone Memorial Fund was established at Samhain 2014 to raise £2,000 and enable the purchase of a headstone for Eleanor Bone. The response from the Wicca community was overwhelming: £2,700 was raised in a very short time. It is wonderful to see how the community from all over the world contributed to honour Eleanor, who dedicated such a large part of her life to the Wicca community herself. A list of those who wished to be listed can be found here: contributors .  We wish to extend a big thank you to all who helped, both financially and with advice – this project could not have been realised without you.

Headstone Eleanor
Headstone chosen for Eleanor
Eleanor Text
Inscription on the headstone

Together with Eleanor Bone’s granddaughter, we have chosen a gravestone and an inscription that will also honour Eleanor’s husband Bill and her son John whose ashes were buried with her. The gravestone has been ordered and paid for, and is being prepared by the local stonemason for the unveiling ceremony on the 12th of September 2015 at the Garrigill cemetery.

The stonemason was very accommodating and helpful, fully aware of Eleanor Bone’s background. The costs for the headstone were considerably less than projected by the local council, even with the inscription for three people and a pentagram. At present, £1350 has been spent on the gravestone and £272 for the exclusive rights to Eleanor’s burial plot, which had to be bought before we were allowed to place a headstone. The remainder of donations will go towards gravestone insurance, creating a commemorative booklet, renting a hall for the unveiling event and upkeep and future costs of the grave.  If the committee projects that any funds will be left after that, these will be put towards an appropriate way to commemorate Eleanor.

Eleanor Bone at the Rollright Stones
Eleanor “Ray” Bone is a prominent figure in the history of Wicca. She was an initiate of Gerald B. Gardner and for many decades Eleanor was the High Priestess of a coven in London. She is often known as the Matriarch of European Wicca, because most Gardnerian initiates in Europe trace their roots to Ray Bone’s coven. Eleanor Bone was devoted to Gerald Gardner and in 1968, she travelled to north Africa to visit his grave in Tunis. There she learned that the cemetery was to be closed down, the graves removed, and the land turned into a public park. She raised funds within the Wicca community to ensure that Gerald Gardner’s grave was relocated to a cemetery close to the ancient city of Carthage, where it still can be visited today.

Grave Gerald Gardner
Grave of Gerald Gardner

In the early 1970s, Eleanor retired to Cumbria in to spend her remaining years in the part of north-west England that she loved so much. When she died on the 21st of September 2001, she had lost touch with most her initiates, many of whom were elderly or who had predeceased her. Eleanor had no funds of her own, nor did she have any family left to pay for her funeral costs. She was buried at the back of the community graveyard in Garrigill in a grave without a headstone.

Grave of Eleanor Bone in Garrigill

All funds raised will go directly to the costs for Eleanor Bone’s gravestone. The committee members are freely donating their time and effort. Any additional funding raised over the cost of the headstone will go towards supporting the memorial event and the upkeep of the grave in the future.