Overleigh Cemetery

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Original entrance to Overleigh Cemetery

Overleigh Cemetery is located in Grosvenor Road on the south side of the River Dee in Chester, Cheshire, England. The original part of the cemetery is listed by English Heritage at Grade II in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[1]

History[edit]

The cemetery was laid out between 1848 and 1850 by T. M. Penson. This part of the cemetery is described by the authors of the Buildings of England series as having been "highly romantic", and as still being "eminently picturesque".[2] It was opened in 1850 and was consecrated on 12 November by the Bishop of Chester. In 1875 the cemetery contained a lake with three islands, two chapels, two lodges, paths and trees, and a house for the chaplain. It was extended to the south in 1879 (this part is not included in the listing), and in 1904 a new chapel was built in this part of the cemetery. In 1930 the cemetery came into the ownership of Chester City Council, and it was further extended to the south during the 20th century.[1] Penson's lake, lodges and chapels are no longer present. The south part of the cemetery is described as being "prosaic".[2]

Notable structures[edit]

The gates and gate piers designed by Penson at the original entrance to the cemetery are still present, and are designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building.[3] Also listed at Grade II is a bridge over the drive in the north section of the cemetery, which was designed by Penson.[4] In the north part of the cemetery, and listed at Grade II, are the following monuments: to John Graham, Bishop of Chester who died in 1865,[5] to William Makepeace Thackeray (1769-1849), uncle of the novelist of same name,[6] to U Larsing, a missionary to Bengal, who died in 1863,[7] to Revd Richard Knill, who died in 1857, and his wife, who died in 1870,[8] to Samuel Venables, master of Chester Bluecoat School, who died in 1848,[9] to William Brown of Browns of Chester, who died in 1852,[10] and to Henry Raikes, Chancellor of the diocese of Chester (designed by Penson, with an effigy by Thomas Earp).[11] In the south part of the cemetery is a monument to Frederick Coplestone who died in 1932. It dates from 1934, was designed and carved by Eric Gill, and is listed at Grade II*.[2][12] Also in the south part of the cemetery, and listed at Grade II, are the west chapel,[13] and a cenotaph, in form of a Cross of Sacrifice, to those who died in the First World War.[14]

Another notable gravestone in the cemetery, although not listed, exists to Edward Langtry, (estranged first husband of actress Lily Langtry), who died in a local lunatic asylum in 1897.[15]

Another notable gravestone in the cemetery, with an epitaph "Far From The Bones Of His Ancestors" in both English and Japanese, is that of the Japanese actor Ishiao Ishimura, one of the acting team "The Mikado Family", who died on stage in December 1915 in the Royalty Theatre in Chester when he fell and broke his neck.[16]

War Graves[edit]

The cemetery contains the graves of 197 Commonwealth service personnel, 127 from World War I (about half of them burials from local hospitals,) and 69 from World War II. Apart from a small war graves plot containing 32 graves from both wars, the graves are dispersed throughout the cemetery.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b English Heritage, "Overleigh Road Cemetery, Chester (1001607)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  2. ^ a b c Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Hubbard, Edward; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2011) [1971], Cheshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 283, ISBN 978-0-300-17043-6 
  3. ^ English Heritage, "Gates and gate piers to old (north) part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375838)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  4. ^ English Heritage, "Bridge over Drive, in north part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375886)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  5. ^ English Heritage, "Monument to Bishop John Graham in north part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375888)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  6. ^ English Heritage, "W M Thackeray cenotaph & Thackeray & Jones Tombs in N part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375894)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  7. ^ English Heritage, "Monument to U Larsing SE of Thackeray Cenotaph in Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375891)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  8. ^ English Heritage, "Monument to Richard Knill, S of U Larsing Monument in Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375889)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  9. ^ English Heritage, "Monument to Samuel Venables in north part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375890)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  10. ^ English Heritage, "Monument to W Brown in north part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375892)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  11. ^ English Heritage, "Tomb and monument to Henry Raikes in north part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375893)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  12. ^ English Heritage, "Coplestone Memorial, Overleigh New Cemetery, Chester (1350324)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  13. ^ English Heritage, "West chapel in south part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375895)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  14. ^ English Heritage, "Cenotaph in south part of Overleigh Cemetery, Chester (1375887)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 28 July 2012 
  15. ^ [1] Picture with attached story.
  16. ^ "History of the Wood Green Empire, Wood Green, N22". www.arthurlloyd.co.uk. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  17. ^ CHESTER (OVERLEIGH) CEMETERY, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 2 September 2013 

Coordinates: 53°10′54″N 2°53′42″W / 53.1817°N 2.8951°W / 53.1817; -2.8951