Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery (also known as Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery)3888

Gosport, England, Hampshire, Gosport

Brief Description

Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery has a chapel, lodge, boundary walls and iron gates. It is divided into plots for different ranks and denominations. There is a Turkish burial ground, an imposing monument to HMS Eurydice and many other memorials. There are mature trees, plants and hedges, with views across Stoke Lake.

History

The Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, also known as the Clayhall Cemetery, opened in 1859 to provide a new site for burials of patients from the Royal Naval Hospital. The cemetery was enlarged in 1904.

Visitor Facilities

Dawn to dusk.

Detailed Description

The old cemetery in Royal Hospital Haslar closed in 1859. Fourteen acres of land in Clayhall Road, on the edge of Stoke Lake, were developed as a new burial ground. Consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester, 1859, it was named 'Haslar Hospital Cemetery'.

The 1st Edition OS map of 1867 shows the chapel and main approach, Sexton's Lodge, reserved Turks' Burial Ground and two monuments. Tree-lined boundaries and paths dividing the burial plots are marked.

The 2nd Edition OS map of 1898 shows a name change to 'Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery' and monument to sinking of HMS Eurydice, 1878. The remains of Turkish sailors' tombstones and railings were removed from Haslar Hospital and reburied in the Turks' Burial Ground in 1900. In 1904 part of the wall along the eastern boundary was demolished and the cemetery extended by about one hectare (3 acres).

With the exception of two monuments, one area of graves was cleared in 1964 and grassed over. In 1988 the railings, gates and walls to the Turks' Burial Ground were restored and marble headstones added.

The chapel, Sexton's Lodge, boundary walls and gates remain; the original layout of the paths and burial plots is largely intact. Trees have been lost to disease and storm damage, but many replacement trees have been planted. The view across Stoke Lake has been maintained.

The cemetery is still used as a burial ground; a commemorative service takes place annually in the Turks' Burial Ground, attended by the Turkish ambassador, Turkish navy and Representatives from Royal Hospital Haslar. The cemetery contains many monuments, First and Second World War gravestones, and the Cross of Sacrifice.

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

Summary of Garden

Cemetery to the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, opened in 1859.

Details

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

The cemetery lies 300m west of the grounds to the Haslar Royal Naval Hospital and is a flat, irregularly shaped enclosure of c5.3 hectares. It is bounded by a hawthorn hedge on the edge of Stoke Lake to the north, by an inlet from the lake to the east, walls to the south and by C20 housing to the west.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The principal approach to the cemetery is from the east along Clayhall Road, which bounds the southern side of the site. On this side the cemetery has a brick wall, approximately 1.5m high, with regular buttresses and brick copings. The walls curve inwards to create a wide entranceway with substantial brick gate piers with stone dressings and caps, and iron gates. There is a pedestrian entrance at the western end of the wall, adjacent to the cottage which originally formed a sexton's lodge.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

A chapel of rest, 1859, listed at Grade II (NHLE 1427736), stands directly north of the main entrance. It is a compact, gothic building in red and blue brick, with a heavily-moulded Norman-style arched doorway on the southern side, facing the cemetery entrance. LANDSCAPED GROUNDS The cemetery has a series of straight, tree-lined paths aligned roughly north-south and east-west, dividing the site into a series of quadrangles; all are laid to grass. Most of these are open, with individual burial plots, typically with military or naval headstones of varying styles laid out in rows, varying in orientation in different sections of the cemetery.

The different sections of the cemetery group the headstones related to certain campaigns, and the eastern section contains c1,400 Commonwealth War Grave Commission memorials to lives lost in the First and Second World Wars. There is a large group of late-C19 graves with uniform headstones to the north-west of the chapel, including a group of unusual cruciform headstones with bronze plaques dating from the early C20. The south-eastern quadrangles contain individual monuments from the mid-C19 onwards.

In the north-west section of the cemetery there is an enclosure for the burial of Turkish sailors; it has low brick walls surmounted by iron railings, with an access gate on its southern side. In c1900 the remains of 26 sailors who died from cholera whilst anchored off the Hardway, Gosport in 1850 were re-interred at Clayhall Cemetery having been moved from their original graves in the hospital grounds. There is a sign on the overthrow of the gate stating ‘TÜRK DENIZ SEHITLIGI / TURKISH NAVAL CEMETERY / 1850', which may have been moved from the hospital grounds.

There are a number of large monuments dedicated to various conflicts and tragedies: that to HMS Eurydice is listed at Grade II* (NHLE ref 1428092) and commemorates the worst naval disaster in peacetime, when a sail training vessel foundered off the Isle of Wight in 1878 with the loss of 317 lives. Its memorial has the original ship's anchor set into the top of a moulded rock formation. The perils of submariners are recorded in two obelisks and a screen memorial (NHLE refs 1428094, 1428138 and 1428144), and there is an obelisk commemorating the campaign of the HMS Boadicea in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 (NHLE ref 1428142); all are listed at Grade II. To the west of the main entrance is the Cross of Sacrifice, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfeld, erected in 1926.

Behind a Cross of Sacrifice is a rectangular pit with evenly sloping sides, rumoured to relate to an early brick works or gravel extraction for the paths.

The cemetery has a number of mature trees, particularly to the east of the site. Within the Turkish Burial Ground topiary yews are maintained.

Reasons for Designation

Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery, 1859, is registered at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: for its place in the development of Haslar as the earliest facility for the health and welfare of naval personnel, and within the wider landscape of Gosport and Portsmouth, one of the most significant sites in English naval history;

* Landscape design interest: a restrained design focussing attention on the grave markers and memorials;

* Funerary monuments: a varied collection of individual graves and groups of uniform headstones, including an unusual group with bronze plaques, and a rare enclosed Turkish burial ground;

* Group value: with the listed cemetery chapel and commemorative monuments, and with the numerous highly-graded listed naval structures in the wider vicinity.

Selected Sources

Websites

Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, accessed 24/11/2015 from http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2044620/HASLAR%20ROYAL%20NAVAL%20CEMETERY

Gosport Heritage Open Days, The Royal Naval Cemetery, Clayhall Road, accessed 24/11/2015 from http://www.gosportheritage.co.uk/royal-naval-cemetery-clayhall-road/

Haslar Heritage Group, Clayhall Cemetery, accessed 24/11/2015 from http://www.haslarheritagegroup.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=109

Parks and Gardens UK, Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Gosport, England, accessed 24/11/2015 from https://www.parksandgardens.org/places-and-people/site/3888?preview=1

Features
  • Chapel (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
Avenue
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Dawn to dusk.
History

Detailed History

Chronology

1826 (W.1906.M.1867) North corner of paddock in R.N. Haslar Hospital enclosed for use as burial ground. Prior to this burials took place in the paddock and elsewhere in the grounds. Map also shows Turks' Burial Ground.

1841 (M.1841) tithe map shows that Robert Cruickshank, who built The Crescent, owned a brick field and brick kiln on land in Clayhall Road, later used for new cemetery.

1859 (W.1906) Old cemetery in Royal Hospital Haslar closed. Land in Clayhall Road enclosed on three sides by brick walls with northern boundary along Stoke Lake enclosed by trees. Ground laid out in plots for different ranks and denominations; approximately 14 acres (M1867. M2000). Consecrated by Bishop of Winchester April 1859. (W.1958) and called 'Haslar Hospital Cemetery'.

1867 (M.1867) shows tree-lined boundaries, and paths dividing burial plots and scattered groups of trees. Double gates lead to the chapel; wooden side gates, one to the Sexton's Lodge (P.2001). Enclosed Turks' Burial Ground was set aside for re-burial of Turkish sailors from grounds of Royal Hospital Haslar. (W.1934). Grassed dell near main gates possibly remains of brickworks, or gravel extraction. Monument at crossroads of C & D and G & H plots (M.2000), erected to memory of men who died on HMS Archer 1864 (P.2001). Cross shown is not dated (P.2001). Well shown to right of main gate.

1878 (W.1878) states ' the number of' internments up to 1876 was 2,000. Largest monument in the cemetery erected to HMS Eurydice; sank off the Isle of Wight 1878; loss of 328 men, two survivors. Large rock shape on stone and marble base inscribed with names of ship's crew and Bible verses; topped with large black iron anchor and chain. (M.1898. W.1980, P.2001).

1898 (M.1898). shows change of name to 'Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery', HMS Eurydice Monument and second well along eastern boundary. No change in layout of grounds.

1900 (W.1906) new building on the paddock at Royal Hospital Haslar necessitated the removal of the Turkish tombstones, remains and railings to the Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery. Turks' Burial Ground commemorates 26 sailors from two visiting ships, who died of natural causes between 1850 and 1852 (W.1993). A low stone wall topped by iron railings and double gates decorated with Turkish symbols, enclosed the formal burial ground. Railings inscribed, J MARTIN. IRONFOUNDER, SOUTHSEA 1864. Topiary yew 'tree shapes' shrubs, trees and grassed areas can be seen within the burial ground (P2000); graves marked by grassed mounds (P.1970).

1904 (M.1909. W.1906). Approx. two-thirds of the wall along eastern boundary was demolished, and the cemetery extended by three acres across the shoreline, on land owned by the War Department. The bricked up side gate may have been closed at this time. Postcards of about 1910 show a large hedge along the length of the southern wall and hedges round the chapel - now replaced by roses (W.1981). Other postcards of about 1908 to 1910 show hundreds of mourners attending funerals at the cemetery (P.1977-1981).1914-1919 (O.2001). First World War graves in Plot F; tended by War Graves Commission, about six times a year - plants also provided. Memorial to submariners on HMS L55 erected; large stone slab in front of enclosed area of grass, surrounded by pathway, in Plot H. (W.1994. P.2001).

1926 (W.2000. P.2000). Cross of Sacrifice erected, left of main gate - commissioned by Sir Edward Lorimer, 1925, designe.d by Frederick Kenyon 1926.

1944 (W2000). Bomb explosion in the cemetery - shrapnell damage to some graves and monuments.1946 (O.2001, P.2001). Cross of Sacrifice re-dedicated to include Second World War dead. 300 Second World War graves in Plot E, tended by War Graves Commission. Pathways on this plot may have been grassed over at this time. Indentations can still be seen.

1964 (W.1998. M.2001) graves and monuments cleared from Plot D, original pathway removed between Plots C and D; area grassed over; two monuments remain, HMS Eurydice and obelisk to the memory of men who died on HMS Thunderer at Spithead July 14th, 1876. A single stone memorial erected in 1964 to the memory of the men whose gravestones were removed.

1976 (O.2001) 100 Elm trees along northern shoreline lost to Dutch elm disease. Hawthorn hedge planted to mark boundary line.

1988 (O.2001) storms claimed about 15 large old trees. Turkish Burial Ground restored - grassed mounds replaced by white marble gravestones and headstones; stone boundary wall rebuilt with brick; railings and iron gates restored by Blacksmiths of Lymington. Turkish navy and the Ministry of Defence shared the costs. A Turkish commemoration ceremony takes places every year on 4 April 4th. Turkish ambassador, Turkish navy from visiting ships and R. H. Hospital representatives attend the ceremony. This may be the only Turkish burial ground in the country. (O.2000, P.2001).

1998 (W.1998). A wall safe in the entrance to the chapel contains a book listing all the burials in the cemetery; includes name, rank, ship or establishment, date of burial, plot and grave number; the list includes those buried at Royal Hospital Haslar. There is also a visitors book.

2000 (O.2001, P.2001). Individual marble name plaques placed on Turkish graves. Old wooden plaque over gates replaced by Iron plaque.

2002 (P.2002). Flag post erected in Turkish Burial Ground for April ceremony. The oldest tree in the cemetery is a large chestnut; altogether there are 24 varieties of trees. Apart from the pathways between C & D plot the original layout survives, and the cemetery is still in use.

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

History

The Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, also known as the Clayhall Cemetery, opened in 1859 to provide a new site for burials of patients from the Royal Naval Hospital. Although the need for a burial ground must have been foreseen, no provision was made when the hospital opened in the mid-C18 and burials were made indiscriminately on unconsecrated ground to the south-west of the hospital. Burials included not just patients from the hospital, estimated at approaching 1,000 a year in the late-C18, but also those brought ashore from ships, as well as other military personnel. Such burials continued until 1820, when a newly appointed superintendent reformed the system and a formal cemetery was laid out in the hospital grounds. This burial ground was used from 1826 until 1859, when the demand for space led to the purchase of additional land on a detached site further west, for the laying out of a new cemetery, as here described.

Period

  • Victorian (1837-1901)
Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here

Owners

  • Ministry of Defence

References

Contributors

  • Hampshire Gardens Trust