Tony Gulliver's ancestors came from Banbury and were buried in St Mary’s churchyard. In the early 18th century, Jonathan Swift would sometimes stay in the town when travelling between his native Dublin and London. Accommodation included the Whately Hall Hotel, right opposite the church. Swift refers to the Gulliver tombs in the preface of his great satire (1726):

Although Mr. Gulliver was born in Nottinghamshire, where his father dwelt, yet I have heard him say his family came from Oxfordshire; to confirm which, I have observed in the churchyard at Banbury in that county, several tombs and monuments of the Gullivers.

So the tombs in Banbury, commemorated today by a plaque, inspired Swift to the name of his protagonist. The church was rebuilt in 1790 and just one Gulliver tomb remains, that of Tony's great great great grandparents, Samuel and Mary.

LOGO DESIGN | Klaus Geisler

PHOTOGRAPHY | Tony Gulliver

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