Your headstone stands among the rest,

neglected and alone.

The name and date are chisled out,

and details unknown.

It reaches out to all who care,

it is to late to mourn.

You did not know that I exist,

you died and I was born.

Yet each of us are cells of you,

in Flesh, in Blood, in Bone.

Our blood contracts and beats a pulse,

entirely not our own.

Dear Ancestor the place you filled,

one hundred years ago.

Spreads out among the ones you left,

who would have loved you so.

I wonder if you lived and loved,

I wonder if you know.

That someday, I would find this spot,

and come to visit you.





References by Dr DUNCAN to the Board of Health on the condition of the graveyards


39 burial grounds within the borough

4 in Everton and Kirkdale

3 in West Derby

2 in Toxteth Park

Two have been recently closed, St Mary's Cemetery, Cambridge St and that attached to the Baptist Chapel, Byrom St Interments take place in graves, vaults or pits

23 burial grounds graves only

7 graves and vaults only

4 graves and pits

2 graves, vaults and pits

1 pits only

Interments in ordinary years 10,000 to 11,000, two thirds in pits, one third in graves, only 20 bodies annually in vaults.

Sextons state the following graveyards to be crowded or fully occupied, St Nicholas, St Peters, St Paul, St James, Trinity, St Thomas, St Annes, All Saints, St Peters and St Nicholas Catholic chapels. Small cemetery Everton Rd. In all of these instances with the exception of two, complaints have been made of offensive emanations under certain circumstances. These grounds with exception to the last have been used for more than half a century, St Thomas and St Annes a century, St Peters a century and a half , St Nicholas five centuries. The average number of burials in 11 is 650 but in St Johns 500 burials take place a year

The minister of St Johns complains that in warm weather when windows and doors are open for ventilation the effuvia entering from the graveyard is frequently most offensive and overpowering. The objectionable practice of burying in vaults under chapels is confined to 9 places, St Nicholas, St Annes, Trinity, Christ Church, St Marks, St Marys Edge Hill , St Andrews, St Patricks and St Anthonys Catholic Chapels. In the 7 first mentioned interments have not exceeded 4 annually

The seven burial ground which bodies are disposed of in Pits are those attached to the Wesleyan Chapel Stanhope St, St Patricks Catholic Chapel Park Rd, St Anthonys Scotland Rd, St James, Necropolis, St Marys Kirkdale and the Parish cemetery Vauxhall Rd.

The pits vary in depth from 18 to 30 ft, being 7 to 12 ft long and 31/2 to 9 ft wide

The number of bodies deposited in such pits varies from 30 in St James and St Marys cemeteries to 120 in St Patricks.

In St James about 6 inches of earth are placed over the coffins after each days interments in others the coffins are covered with 21/2 feet of soil which is removed previous to the next interments, but with these exceptions pits are left open only covered with a framework of boards until filled with coffins, over a period of 10 days in the case of smaller to 10 weeks in large pits.

It has been estimated that an acre of ground can accommodate 136 bodies yearly, in 37 burial grounds in Liverpool this number is double.

In some places it is impossible to dig a new grave without disturbing previous bodies. In some the soil when opened up is composed of decomposing human remains in various stages rather than earth.

Graveyards impregnated with decaying animal matter must contaminate the atmosphere and injure health.

The grand evil calls most urgently for interference, the practice of burying in pits.

In summer more than 100 bodies are collected together in an open pit in all stages of decomposition, some lain there for 2mths. Only 2 feet are left between each pit so that the moisture saturated with the decomposed matter of the adjoining pit frequently percolates into the newly made pit. In no case does the soil covering the pit when filled exceed the legal minimum of 2 1/2 feet.

In conclusion the M.O.D REQUIRE THAT FURTHER INTERMENTS BE PROHIBITED IN THE FOLLOWING BURIAL GROUNDS, St Nicholas, St Peters, St Pauls and St Johns and that the practice of interment in pits be regulated to prevent it becoming a public nuisance.

W.H. DUNCAN. M.O.D, 20th, Sept 1849



Walton Cemetery

Liverpool Mercury, Aug 27th 1856

New parish burial ground

Vestry meeting yesterday

Yesterday a vestry meeting convened by the churchwardens, in pursuance of a requisition signed by more than 19 ratepayers was held in the parish church of St Nicholas to consider whether a burial ground would be provided, and if provided to appoint no fewer than 9 persons, being ratepayers to be the burial board of the parish. As the question had excited considerable interest there were a large number of persons present, Amongst whom were, Messers, S. THORNELY, J. R. JEFFERY, J. WOODRUFF, C. F. CARNE, SHAW, SIDNEY, BRISTOWE, I. O. JONES, S. B. JACKSON, HARVEY, DOVER, T. WYLIE, SATCHELL, S. STITT, BAXTER etc, the Rev Rector CAMPBELL presided.

The Vestry Clerk having read the requisite called the meeting, Mr WOODRUFF, stated the reasons and circumstances by which they had been called together. On the 9th August the churchwardens received a requisition calling them to convene a meeting of the parishioners to consider the resolution submitted to them. He supposed it would be in the recollection of those present that in the year 1847 it was determined by the late Archdeacon BROOKS to close St Marys cemetery in consequence of it being unfit for interments. The Town Council, through the Health Committee, requested that any change which might be made should have the effect of carrying the interments out of town, it being unwise to inter within the limits of the borough. The Vestry accordingly purchased a piece of land, which was now nearly paid for and known as Walton Cemetery. The plan required 2 or 3 years to carry out, and as they were no longer permitted to bury in the old cemetery of St Marys, they made one of St Martins for interments. In 1854 an order came from London to close the burial ground of St Martins, the order was not obeyed and burials have taken place there up until the present time. Sir George GREY has recently issued an order that no further interments take place at St Martins Cemetery and in consequence there was no alternative but to inform the vestry what had taken place in order that arrangements may be made for the burial of the dead.





St John's gardens formerly for 140yrs St John's churchyard and St John's church long since removed. The burial ground has been so much curtailed that no one would guess 80,000 Liverpudlians are interred there.

The gardens nicknamed the Stoneyard are now a local Valhalla of Liverpool worthies, Monument to the King's Regiment, memorials to Gladstone, William Rathbone, A B Forwood, Mr Balfour, Merchant, Monsignor Nugent and Canon Major Lester ---------




25th, Jan 1913


Little time has been spent in transforming the NECROPOLIS, 4 acres in extent. The space at present bears the appearance of a neatly tilled field. All the monuments have been removed and the smaller slabs lowered and covered. Now the surface has been levelled, all in readiness for the design of the gardens. Shrubs are to be planted and a series of walks flanked with green. When the high walls are demolished and low railings put in the view from the roadway will be improved.

May 3rd 1913

New public garden

No time is being lost in transforming the Necropolis into a public garden but the widening of Everton Rd has not yet been commenced.

Already the surface covering the remains of over 80,000 citizens has been reduced to its new level, while the entrance lodge, the gates, and part of the massive front wall of stone have vanished.

When the long side wall disappears the new street line will be visible. The access of light and air is daily becoming more perceptible.




Liverpool Mercury

Sat, May 31st 1913

Over 144,000 interments

On Wednesday the Burials Committee of the Liverpool Corporation inspected the Smithdown Rd cemetery and the Allerton Estate, the latter of which was recently acquired by the municipality for the purpose of a burial ground. Some interesting facts were gleaned during the tour.

Toxteth Cemetery - in which 144,464 persons have been interred since it was opened 57 yrs ago - will within a few months be closed so far as public interments are concerned, and the new enclosure will then be used by Garston, Wavertree and the South-end.

The Allerton Estate comprises of 233 acres, of which as yet only 40 acres have been laid out for the purpose for which it is intended. When developed it is stated that it will be one of the finest in Europe.



Society of Friends burial ground

Liverpool Mercury, August 29th 1908

During some excavations now going on for the building of an imbecile hospital in Smithdown Rd, by order of Toxteth Guardians, the workmen unearthed a leaden shell with a skeleton inside and a large quantity of human bones.

A member of the Society of Friends gives some interesting information relative to the discovery. It appears that originally the Society of Friends burial ground was in Quakers Alley, Hackins Hey. But as the corporation acquired the plot from the Society of Friends, the latter body purchased an new plot in Arundel Ave, and the bodies from Hackins Hey were re interred there.



Cholera and St Martin's cemetery

Northern Times, Oct 12th 1854

Meeting of the Health Committee

For the week ending Saturday last there were 144 deaths from Cholera in Liverpool a decrease of 93 from the previous week.

Deaths from all causes were 336, 115 less than the previous week.

Deaths in the parish, 250, out townships 86

Cholera 95, having been 171 the preceding week and the week preceding that 270.

Deaths distributed as follows:-

Scotland Ward 81, Vauxhall 21, Exchange 6, Great George 6, St Anne 6, Lime St 2, Castle St 2, Rodney St 2, Pitt St 1, Abercromby 1, not stated 7.

Out of townships, Everton 1, Kirkdale 4, West Derby 2, North Toxteth 1, South Toxteth 6, Diarrhoea 42, Typhus 16, Scarletina 12, Smallpox 3, measles 3, Syphilis 6.

St Martins Cemetery

Mr GODFREY asked if, in the district of Scotland Ward cholera was not most violent in the neighbourhood of St Martins cemetery, Dr DUNCAN confirmed this.

Mr GODFERY said, his attention had been called by people in the neighbourhood to the fact that a number of bodies were constantly left exposed at night, awaiting interment the next day by the parish authorities. Mr FRESH had given information three weeks ago for similar conduct.

Dr DUNCAN said, he had written the following letter to Mr HART on the subject but as yet , had, had no reply.

30th Sept 1854

Dear Sir,

The police report to me that on visiting St Martins cemetery at 1 am this morning, 15 coffins were found exposed in the open air, without any covering over them, and that on a previous occasion 6 coffins were found similarly deposited. May I request that you bring these facts under the notice of the proper authorities in the hope that some fitting place be provided for the reception of dead bodies previous to interment, I am, Sir Yours,




Why not be cremated?

Liverpool Mercury, Jan 12th 1907

Why not be cremated?

Cremation continues to make steady progress in Great Britain, the total number in 1906 was 742 an increase of 138 on the previous year. At Golders Green the average cost of cremation together with a niche in the columbarian and a memorial tablet is 3 guineas. Burial with memorial stone in ordinary ground in 6 London cemeteries is 18 guineas


Southport Visiter

June 22nd 1854

On the 20th of May 1746 the body of Samuel BALDWIN Esq, was in compliance with an injunction in his will, immersed sans ceremonie, in the sea at Lymington, Hants. His motive for this extraordinary mode of interment was to prevent his wife from "dancing over his grave," which this modern Xantippe had fequently threatened to do in case she survived him.


Liverpool Mercury, 21st Jan 1899

Discovery of burial vaults at Haslingden

A curious discovery has been made by labourers excavating the sands at Lower-Lane, Haslingden. They broke into a cave-like hollow, and found a number of human bones and skulls, and three iron shelves containing a coffin. Inquires showed that it was a brick vault, and was the private burial place in a garden for a family of BILSBORROWS the founders 100yrs ago of Congregationalism in Haslingden. A layman minister and family, who were curriers at Garstang. The first interred was Mary BILSBORROW in 1814, then her husband James in 1823 aged 89. Two adult and one infant daughters were then interred, the last in 1827. The house and garden then passed into other hands and the burial place was forgotten until this discovery. The remains have been removed.


Liverpool Mercury 8th Feb 1913

A grim epitaph

To be found in Debresein, Eastern Hungary.

Reads as follows :-

Here rest in the Lord, Joseph MORITZ senior, who died in his 52nd year. He was shot by his son. Frau Joseph MORITZ who died in her 47th year. She was shot by her daughter. Elizabeth MORITZ who died by her own hand in her 17th year, after shooting her mother. Joseph MORITZ who died in prison aged 27. He had shot his father. May eternal mercy have pity on their poor souls.

The last of this unfortunate family left a sum of 1,500 pounds for the purpose of setting up this memorial.




The opening of Liverpool graveyards:-

Necropolis in 1825, St. James Cemetery in 1829 and St Marys Cemetery, Kirkdale in 1837.

In the 1850s overcrowded parish graveyards were closed and large municipal cemeteries were opened on the outskirts of the town.

Toxteth Park in 1856, Kirkdale in 1881, Anfield in 1863, West Derby 1884, Everton in 1880, Allerton in 1909.

Until 1885 cremation was illegal in this country. The Liverpool Crematorium was opened at Anfield Cemetery in 1896.


Liverpool Mercury Feb 8th 1908

The prevention of premature Burial

A bill has been drafted and will be placed before parliament as soon as possible for the prevention of premature burial. Many members have promised to support it.

Figures to substantiate that many persons have been buried alive are available.

Cases ascertained from medical sources 384

Buried alive 149

Narrow escapes from being buried alive 219

Dissected alive 10

Narrow escapes from being dissected alive 3

Embalming alive 2

Burned alive 1


Liverpool Mercury, December 8, 1900

St George's Church site, the work of removing the remains of those who have been interred under St George's Church, is to be commenced on Monday, the new place of sepulchre being consecrated ground in Everton Cemetery, which has been acquired by the Corporation.


Buried alive 1821

Laying the foundation stone of Toxteth Park General cemetery, July 1855 and consecration 1856

Inquiry into the burials at St James cemetery and the Necropolis 1857

Anfield cemetery cemetery the peoples playground 1889

The future of Liverpool Crematorium, 1907

Toxteth Park cemetery WW1 Memorial

Desecration of St James churchyard, Toxteth Park

Interment of Blitz victims Anfield 1941

Merseyside graveyard inscriptions and burial information

Re-interment of bodies from St Peters churchyard.

Re-interment of bodies from St John's churchyard.1828


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