Cemetery Database

Outline History of Burials in Tewkesbury

Until the Municipal Cemetery opened in 1857, those who could chose and were members, were buried in the Church/Chapel where they worshipped. The amount of space was obviously limited and many local people who were poor were probably not buried officially – and certainly not with a headstone. Then two crises came in 1832 and 1849 with the Cholera Epidemics, which killed respectively 76 and 54 people.  In 1832 the first 22 were buried in the Abbey Church Yard [not marked] but space was running out so the decision was made to bury the other 54 – at night – in a pit dug in the grounds of the Union Workhouse on Gloucester Road. [Today that has been incorporated into the Cemetery Grounds and a memorial is located nearby]. They were joined by the 54 who died in 1849. Recently an information plaque has been added.

Cholera Epidemics posed a sufficiently serious national crisis to persuade parliament to pass the 1853 Burial Act, which allowed a local authority to raise a rate [local tax] to pay for the provision of a cemetery. Tewkesbury’s was opened in 1857. Arrangements were made for the different beliefs of Anglicans and Dissenters,who had their own chapels and could be buried according to their own rituals. From 1886 the Roman Catholics had a separate allocation for their burials. Gradually burial in church yards was prohibited even for families who had purchased the ground before 1853.
datedocumentdatesourceGraves
3 Dec 2016Abbey Burials Churchto 1857Mike English[1]In situ
3 Dec 2016Abbey Burials Graveyard1674-1862Mike EnglishIn situ
3 Dec 2016Abbey Church Yard Memorials17thc-1857Mike EnglishIn situ
10 Apr 2020Baptist I1680-1911Julian RawesIn situ
30 Dec 2016Baptist II1787-1911Rawes-Smartremoved
30 Nov 2016Cemetery Burials1857-2011Dave SmithIn situ
13 Apr 2020Cholera1832 & 1849Bennett NamesMemorial
no names
17 Dec 2016Congregational1706-1912LockwoodIn situ [private]
30 Nov 2016Holy TrinityMike EnglishIn situ
Methodist Chapel, Tolsey Lanerequestedunavailable
30 Nov 2016Quaker Burial Barton 1833-1847Mike EnglishGround; no stones
Quaker Burials St Mary's Lane[2]unavailableGround; no stones

Finding a grave today

Tewkesbury Municipal Cemetery 1882 Plan updated to 2012
Tewkesbury Municipal Cemetery 1882 Plan updated to 2012

Researchers need first of all to consult the Burials Database to find a record using the criteria there. If they are buried in the Municipal Cemetery the "Grave Section" will have a letter from A to H and the "Grave No" will have the number in that plot. Refer to the map for the general area.

Below are the recorded positions of each grave in the Municipal Cemetery

  1. Cemetery Grave Section B
  2. Cemetery Grave Section C
  3. Cemetery Grave Section D
  4. Cemetery Grave Section E
  5. Cemetery Grave Section F
  6. Cemetery Grave Section G
  7. Cemetery Grave Section Roman Catholic
  8. Cemetery Grave Section Childrens Corner
  9. Cemetery Grave Section H new
  10. Cemetery Grave Section J
  11. Cemetery Grave Section Military

For research inside the Abbey, check The Monumental Inscriptions in the Abbey Church

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
CemeterySections
1 Old Cemetery [OC] 1857-1881 (and beyond): graves in this area have been buried over if over 100 years old D,F G & J (reclaimed land) This includes The Chapels: Anglican & Non-Conformist RC Section 1886 Military Section of WWII & after The Garden of Remembrance [Rem] for ashes
2
1st Extension 1882
A, B, C & E including WWI Military Graves in C Childrens’ Corner At X the graves have been dug N-S unlike the usual E-W: click for explanation
3
2nd Extension, 1932
H (but no burials until 1982) David Smith remembers playing in this area as a child when it was still an orchard of the former nursery!
The part of the Gastons Fields number 335 was designated “Reserve Land” and has subsequently been built over with housing

History of the Database

The first edition of The History of Tewkesbury Municipal Cemetery proved it to be of great value to Local History and/or Genealogical researchers. However it was clear that we had only just commenced upon a long journey to enable families and researchers to find graves which they seek.

Before Mike English devoted himself to transcribing these records electronically, the only record was the flimsy and ancient paper record held by the Borough Council which was too precious to be allowed to be consulted by many people for fear of damaging it and, thus, losing valuable information.3

However, after publishing the first Edition, we realised that we could answer the ‘who?’ and ‘when?’ questions but not the ‘where?’ question.

Part of the problem was that there is more than one burial register available to use and Mike was able to use the Register which did not include the Section and Plot Number of each grave.

Consequently a team of volunteers – some living in Australia! - embarked upon an exhausting process of adding to Mike’s database information containing the Section and Plot Number of each grave.

Mike also mapped the Cemetery electronically. He was able to make a valiant start to mapping the Old Cemetery but it was clear that we needed to continue his work. We are very grateful that computer engineer, David Smith4, has accepted the baton and has completed the mapping of the whole cemetery.

We wish to learn from mistakes or omissions and, indeed, if you have a grave photograph that we have not been able to include then please email the Editor, John Dixon at president@tewkesburyhistory.org.

Mike English

Mike English
Mike English

Mike was not born a Tewkesburian but, having resided here for 30 years, he has a certain bond! 

He was born and bred in a small seaside resort in West Sussex, and his first encounter with Tewkesbury was the Vehicle Depot Ashchurch, where he was posted in 1979 as teenage soldier in the R.A.O.C..  Married to a Tewkesbury girl within 2 years, they saw a bit of the world, but they returned in 1985 as civilians.

Mike’s interest in history, and especially genealogy, stemmed from his very knowledgeable and wise father but he has found research even more stimulating because of the internet revolution.  He believes in providing free access to the internet and has transcribed information for the FREEBMD and FREECEN.  

Tewkesbury Historical Society has been a great help, offering much support for the Burial Register Project; his article, in Bulletin 14, highlights this. Two years have passed since Mike moved away from Tewkesbury but he still has family there so not all bridges are burnt.

References

David Smith
David Smith
  1. Names A-H included but no details of inscriptions; I-Z in progress; to check if you target has a memorial in the abbey click on Inscriptions In the Abbey and use [CTRL]+[f] to search
  2. Quaker beliefs do not approve of public displays of headstones, so it is possible these records do not exist.
  3. For a more detailed article about his pioneering work, please read Mike English, “Burials in the Borough Cemetery” in T.H.S. Bulletin, Vol. 14 (2005) p16.
  4. A native of Tewkesbury, David Smith is a former pupil and (later) governor of Tewkesbury School. He joined the RAF as an aircraft technician in 1977. After various postings around North West Europe, he and his family returned to Tewkesbury in 1996. He is currently employed as an I.T. consultant. David’s interests include genealogy, First World War studies, Tewkesbury’s history, and learning to play the saxophone and clarinet.
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