Burnley Cemetery 5369

Burnley, England, Lancashire, Burnley

Brief Description

Located about three miles to the south-west of Burnley town centre the cemetery is rectangular and sits above the Green Brook valley with views across the countryside to Hameldon Hill. The original cemetery retains its serpentine layout, trees and mid-19th century memorials. Later extensions have a rectilinear layout with fewer trees and plainer memorials. The original entrance lodge and arch remain, as do the 1923 entrance gates, chapel and lodge. The 1958 crematorium and its remembrance parkland adjoin the northern boundary of the original cemetery.

History

Created in 1856 on the outskirts of Burnley with a serpentine layout and three separate mortuary chapels and burial grounds for Anglican, Dissenter and Roman Catholic denominations. The cemetery was extended in 1880, 1890, 1913 and 1924 with a grid pattern of pathways. A crematorium with remembrance parkland was created in 1958 on adjoining land.

Visitor Facilities

Open every day of the year from 8.00am to 6.00pm.

Terrain

Undulating

Detailed Description

Located about three miles to the south-west of Burnley town centre, the cemetery is rectangular, widening out on its western edge where it sits above the Green Brook valley with views across the countryside to Hameldon Hill. From the entrance at Rossendale Road, the cemetery's eastern edge, the land is relatively flat but begins to slope down to the west beyond the chapel. It levels again, sloping uphill until it reaches the edge of the original 1856 cemetery where it slopes more steeply downhill to the west and south.

The original 1856 cemetery, in the western part of the site, was accessed from Cemetery Lane through an archway alongside a lodge. The original layout, of main serpentine drives leading to the three mortuary chapels and minor paths leading to burial areas within each denominational area, remains. The lodge and archway remain although the lodge is now a private house and the archway was repositioned further eastwards as part of the 1923 extension and alterations. All three mortuary chapels have been lost and have been replaced, on a site nearer the Rossendale Road entrance, by an inter-denominational chapel built in 1923.

The extensions to the original cemetery have a rectilinear layout and the 1923 extension saw the introduction of a new entrance off Rossendale Road, the creation of a new lodge (now Cemetery Offices), the inter-denominational chapel and a new road system within the cemetery. All the buildings are of stone, the traditional local building material.

Much of the original planting remains, complemented with additions over time. The planting is mainly deciduous and along the boundaries, drives and pathways. There are evergreen trees and shrubs dotted throughout the site and close to the Rossendale Road entrance, war memorial and chapel.

The cemetery site is enclosed by stone walls and metal railings. The southern boundary (now Billington Road) and the northern boundary (Cemetery Lane) of the original cemetery site have high stone walls and the western boundary is of stone walls of varying heights, some topped with metal railings. A newspaper report of a Committee visit to the cemetery under construction in January 1856 states 'fence walls so arranged that they do not conceal the contiguous scenery where it is superior'. The 1923 extension boundary to the north, south and east are of metal railings, in some places on top of a low stone wall.

Close to the 1923 entrance there is a World War 1 Memorial. It was created in 1924 and includes an Imperial War Graves Commission Cross of Sacrifice designed by the architect Reginald Blomfield with a screen behind it showing the names of 174 servicemen buried in the cemetery between 1914 and 1924. There are also memorials to remember local people killed in the Hapton Valley pit disaster in 1962 and in a Spanish air disaster close to Barcelona airport in 1970. The gravestone memorials throughout the cemetery reflect the style of their era. Architecturally the most interesting are within the original cemetery although many may be to standard designs of the period. The graves of many of the prominent people who helped to shape the development of Burnley in the 19th century can be found. One unique memorial is that to Thomas Healey (1783-1858), 'The Father of Burnley Music'. It is topped by a sculpture of musical instruments and was created in 1872, funded by the choirs and musical societies of the district. An article in the Burnley Advertiser of 1872 states that the monument 'is original and has been designed and executed by W. Hargreaves excepting the rail which was made by Mr. Ashworth of Burnley'.

The Crematorium site with its own parkland and entrance from Accrington Road was opened in 1958. It adjoins the northern boundary of the cemetery along its western end and slopes downhill relatively steeply to the north with the crematorium sitting on a plateau on the south east of the site. There is pedestrian and vehicular access between the cemetery and crematorium. The landscaping is mainly informal with pathways meandering through light woodland, including commemorative trees. The Crematorium building was designed by Taylor, Young and Partners of Manchester. Hilary J. Grainger in Death Redesigned: British Crematoria: History, architecture and landcape describes it as with '.... strong classical simplicity to the whole design. Four simple square pillars frame the cloister at the rear and there is certain purity in the pyramidal roofed entrance hall. The chapel is entered through a magnificent, monumental doorway with canopy supported by two square pillars with flat lintel with a Classical urn at each side'.

Features
  • Chapel
  • Description: Separate Anglican, Dissenter and Roman Catholic Mortuary Chapels within their own designated section of the cemetery. Of local stone in gothic style. These chapels are now lost.
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: Stone entrance lodge in gothic style.
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  • Arch
  • Description: Stone, gothic style entrance arch, originally attached to the entrance lodge but re-sited in 1923 to a new entrance approximately 100 metres eastwards along Cemetery Lane.
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  • War Memorial
  • Description: War Graves Commission Cross of Sacrifice surrounded by a wall of remembrance dedicated to those who lost their lives as a result of World War 1.
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  • Tomb
  • Description: A range of memorials, each reflecting the era in which they were erected.
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  • Chapel
  • Description: Inter-denominational stone chapel within the 1923 extension, close to the new cemetery entrance.
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: Stone registrar's house within the 1923 extension. Now used as cemetery offices.
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Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Open every day of the year from 8.00am to 6.00pm.

Directions

Off the A646 (Rossendale Road) approximately 400 metres south-east of the junction with the A679 (Accrington Road). 1 and 1B buses from Burnley Bus Station or Trafalgar Street from Manchester Road Train Station. For more information see www.lancashirebus.co.uk.
History

Detailed History

The decision to create a cemetery was made in April 1854 under the third Burnley Improvement Act and 18 acres (7.3 hectares) of land was acquired. In April 1855 an advertisement appeared in the Manchester Guardian inviting architects to submit designs and estimates. Thomas Worthington of Manchester was selected. The Anglican cemetery was consecrated at the end of May 1856 and the cemetery opened on the 1st June 1856, with the first burial taking place on the 4th June.

More land was acquired and the cemetery extended in 1880, 1890 and 1913. In 1924 a further extension took place which almost doubled the size of the cemetery and created a lodge, an inter-denominational chapel and a new entranceway from Rossendale Road.

Although previous discussions about creating a crematorium had taken place over several decades, land was not acquired until May 1956. The foundation stone for the new crematorium building, on a site adjoining the cemetery, was laid in 1957 and the crematorium opened in 1958. The firm of Mawson and Son of Lancaster had submitted plans and estimates for the crematorium and garden of remembrance and a copy of the plan is held at Cumbria Archives, Kendal. However, a report in the Burnley Express on the 9th February 1957 when the foundation stone was laid states that a scheme costing £207,260 had been turned down and plans estimated to cost £52,000 adopted for a modified scheme in 1955. The article says that 'the horticultural treatment of the site will be carried out by the Corporation Parks Department'. The present layout is not as shown in the Mawson plan.

Period

  • Victorian (1837-1901)
Associated People

Just one person associated to Burnley Cemetery

References

References

Contributors

  • Susan Barker

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