LOTSW's Peter Sallis' Burial Place
Tea Time Tidbit for the week of January 22, 2018
Peter Sallis as Clegg
Just like their characters in Last of the Summer Wine, Bill Owen, who played the outgoing, saucy ruffian, Compo, and Peter Sallis, who played the subdued, somewhat cynical Cleggy, could not, in real life, have been more different. Despite their differences, however, they were best friends. So much so, that they now share a final resting place, having been buried next to each other at St. John’s Parish Church in Upperthong, near their beloved Holmfirth.
Owen expressed his desire to be buried at St John's long before his death, when, during a break from filming, he and Sallis were sitting on a hill that overlooked the Church. “That’s where I want to be buried”, said the London-born Owen.
St. John’s Parish Church
Owen passed away suddenly in 1999 at the age of 85. Local greengrocer Andrew Bray arranged the funeral. He had first met Owen over 45 years previously, when as a boy of just 11, Owen had asked him for directions to the hotel he was staying in while filming. The pair struck up a lasting friendship and it was Bray to whom Sallis called after Owen’s funeral expressing the desire that when he died, he would like to be buried next to his best friend of 26 years.
Bray conveyed Sallis’ wishes to the then vicar of St. Johns, but it would be another 18 years until the request was carried out. Sallis passed away at Danville Hall, a care home in London for retired theatre professionals, in June of 2017 at the age of 96.
“The plot has stood empty all these years,” Bray said in an interview with the Yorkshire Post. “The vicar who buried Bill has passed away and I never heard anything more about it. But I then learned that Peter’s son had carried out his father’s request.”
By all accounts, Sallis’s funeral, arranged by his son, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning Art Director, Crispian Sallis, was an extremely quiet affair. It was attended by just three mourners: Sallis’s son, a LOTSW producer and one other person.
“People knew it was Peter’s final wish to be buried here”, said the current Vicar of St John’s, the Rev. Keith Griffin “so we were able to carry that out for the family.”
LOTSW trio – Brian Wilde (Foggy),
According to Bray, Owen and Sallis were like brothers and – just like brothers - “they did not always see eye to eye but they were great friends”, said Bray. Adding, “It is a very nice end and touching tribute to Last of the Summer Wine that they are together again at last in the beautiful countryside they loved.”
For a glimpse into the camaraderie between Owen and Sallis, here’s a video clip of a ceremony the pair attended at a tribute to the show. Several other LOTSW actors who are no longer with us also appear in the video – be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy.
Last of the Summer Wine can be seen weekdays on Afternoon Tea at 1:30pm.
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