Bedford Cemetery 335

Bedford, England

Brief Description

The cemetery, which is laid out in picturesque style, is on a hillside site with views over Bedford and the Great Ouse Valley. Features include a red-brick Gothic entrance lodge, paired chapels and a range of specimen trees and shrubs, predominantly evergreens.

History

The cemetery was established by the Bedford Joint Burial Board and opened in 1855. The buildings were designed by Thomas Jobson Jackson of Bedford. He also designed the layout assisted by John Usher. The area covered by the cemetery was doubled in 1885. It now occupies about 14 hectares.

Visitor Facilities

This is a municipal site for general public use.

Terrain

Sloping hillside.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

A mid-C19 cemetery, laid out in picturesque style and opened in 1855.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Bedford Cemetery lies on the northern side of the town, occupying the sloping hillside of Foster's Hill, immediately above and to the north of Bedford Park (qv), with views over Bedford and the Great Ouse Valley. The 14ha cemetery is divided from the park by metal railings and a yew hedge. The boundary to the west is a wide footpath known as Cemetery Hill. To the north and east late-C20 housing is separated from the cemetery by a landscaped strip with footpath. The area was extended slightly at the north-east corner in the 1980s.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The main entrance to the cemetery lies at the south-west corner of the site, marked by a red-brick Gothic entrance lodge and carriage arch (c 1855).

OTHER LAND

A path winds north-east up from the entrance lodge and carriage arch to the paired, stone lancet chapels (c 1855), set end-to-end and linked by a porte-cochère with tower. These buildings, by Thomas Jobson Jackson of Bedford, form the focus of the design, the layout of the ground also being by Jackson, assisted by John Usher. A stone crematorium (1955) stands north of the chapels.

From the chapels, which stand to the south-west of the centre of the site, winding paths provide access through and round the ground.

The cemetery is well planted with a range of specimen trees and shrubs, predominantly evergreens. There are a number of monuments of quality to leading C19 Bedford citizens. North-east of the chapels the Wyatt family enclosure, railed and gated, contains a good selection of Victorian memorial types, including the tomb of James Wyatt (d 1878), the founder of the Bedford Times, who secured the land for the cemetery. There have been a few areas of clearance.

REFERENCES

Brooks C, Mortal Remains (1989), 123

Brooks C, English Historic Cemeteries (theme study for English Heritage 1994)

Maps

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1912 edition, revised 1924

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

Bedford Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* A good example of an early High Victorian (1855) public cemetery for a provincial town in informal Picturesque style by the local architect Thomas Jobson Jackson of Bedford, complimented by a late-C19 extension in similar style (1885).

* The Gothic structures, also by Jobson, form a notable ensemble and include offices, mortuary, lodge, gatehouse and chapels.

* Social interest is expressed in an artistic variety of C19 monuments including many Bedford worthies notably the Wyatt family enclosure, railed and gated, contains a good selection of Victorian memorial types, including the tomb of James Wyatt (d 1878), the founder of the Bedford Times, who secured the land for the cemetery.

* The cemetery layout and structures survive intact, with notable survival of C19 planting including evergreen trees and shrubs.

Description written: February 1999

Amended: April 1999

Edited: December 2009

Features
  • Railings
  • Description: The cemetery is divided from the park by railings and a hedge.
  • Hedge
  • Description: A yew hedge forms part of the boundary with the park.
  • Entrance
  • Description: The main entrance to the cemetery lies at the south-west corner of the site.
  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: A red-brick Gothic entrance lodge.
  • Arch
  • Description: A carriage arch at the entrance.
  • Chapel (featured building)
  • Description: The paired, stone lancet chapels are set end-to-end and linked by a porte-cochere with tower. These buildings, by Thomas Jobson Jackson of Bedford, form the focus of the design.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Religious, Ritual And Funerary Features
  • Description: A stone crematorium stands north of the chapels.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: A range of specimen trees and shrubs, predominantly evergreens.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is a municipal site for general public use.

Directions

North-east of Bedford, west of the A421
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Opened in 1855, the cemetery was established by Bedford Joint Burial Board. The original 8ha site was doubled in size in 1885.

Period

  • Mid 19th Century
Associated People

People associated to Bedford Cemetery

Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here

Other websites

Owners

  • Bedford Borough Council

    Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP
References

References