Barnes Cemetery

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Barnes Old Cemetery
Barnes Cemetery decapitated angel.jpg
Decapitated statue of an angel at Barnes Cemetery
Established 1854 (1854)
Location Barnes, London
Country England
Coordinates 51°28′16″N 0°14′04″W / 51.4710119°N 0.2344787°W / 51.4710119; -0.2344787
Type Disused
Owned by London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Size 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Find a Grave Barnes Old Cemetery

Barnes Cemetery, also known as Barnes Old Cemetery, is a disused cemetery in Barnes, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is located off Rocks Lane on Barnes Common.


The cemetery was established in 1854 on two acres of sandy ground purchased by the Church of England for the sum of £10. A chapel, lodge and landscaping were provided at a further cost of £1,400. The cemetery functioned as an additional burial ground to the local parish churchyard.[1] It was well-used and a number of distinguished Victorians were buried there, with a variety of monuments and statues erected to their memory. At the centre of the cemetery is a large memorial to the Hedgman family, who were local benefactors in Barnes.[2] The cemetery was claimed to be haunted by a ghostly nun that would hover over the grave of Julia Martha Thomas, the victim of an infamous murder in 1879.[1]

In 1966 the cemetery was acquired by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames with the intention of turning it into a lawn cemetery, a grass-covered area where each grave is marked with a commemorative plaque rather than standing memorials. The council demolished the chapel and lodge and removed the boundary railings to prepare the cemetery for its new role. However, it then dropped the plans and effectively abandoned the cemetery.[2]

Ebenezer Cobb Morley's grave
Memorial to William Hedgman at Barnes Cemetery

Barnes Old Cemetery is today overgrown with trees and shrubs. Many of the monuments have been vandalised and most of the statues have been decapitated. Although efforts have been made to clear the paths, the cemetery has been in a state of acute neglect and disrepair for decades. A local councillor commented as long ago as 1971 that "I've seen burial grounds at Flanders marched over by scores of troops – but even they did not look as bad as the Barnes cemetery."[1] For its part, Richmond upon Thames Council describes the cemetery as an "atmospheric and romantic place" with "an evocative atmosphere of decay and seclusion".[3]

Notable interments[edit]

War graves[edit]

Eight Commonwealth service personnel, whose graves are registered and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, are buried at the cemetery, five from World War I and three from World War II.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Miller, Hugh; Parsons, Brian (2013). London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-9690-0. 
  2. ^ a b Beech, Darren; Gilmour, Lesley (2011). London's Cemeteries. Metro Publications. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-902910-40-6. 
  3. ^ Environment Directorate, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (May 2007). "Barnes Common and Mill Hill Conservation Area Study" (PDF). London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. p. 10. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Rudd, Alyson (7 April 2008). "The father of football deserves much more". The Times. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Francis Turner Palgrave". London Remembers. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Barnes Mystery". The Manchester Guardian. 30 March 1879. p. 6. 
  7. ^ "Barnes Old Cemetery". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 19 July 2016.