Southampton Old Cemetery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 50°55′13″N 1°24′47″W / 50.92025°N 1.4130°W / 50.92025; -1.4130

Tombs at the Southampton Old Cemetery

Southampton Old Cemetery is a cemetery located in Southampton, England.

The cemetery has had various titles including The Cemetery by the Common, Hill Lane Cemetery and is currently known as Southampton Old Cemetery. An Act of Parliament was required in 1843 to acquire the land from Southampton Common. It covers an area of 27 acres (110,000 m2) and the total number of burials is estimated at 116,800. Currently there are 6 to 8 burials a year to existing family plots.


On 9 November 1841, Southampton Town Council resolved "that the Town Clerk be directed to give notice of an application to parliament at the next session for establishing a cemetery or burial ground on part of Southampton Common".[1] The town council approached John Claudius Loudon. He was a well known landscaper, designer of arboretums and cemeteries including Histon Road Cemetery at Cambridge and Bath Abbey Cemetery. Loudon, normally based in London, had been staying on the Isle of Wight whilst his wife was writing a book. The damp sea air had a debilitating effect on his health and he moved to take temporary lodgings in Southampton. Southampton Town council had no previous experience of laying out a cemetery and was pleased that Loudon was conveniently available. They paid him £37 for his services, but decided not to use his proposed layout. The Bishop of Winchester was not willing to concede that the proposed Anglican chapel would adjoin a nonconformist chapel.


As was customary in the planning of early cemeteries, the council held a competition and asked for suggested lay outs to replace the one made by Loudon. The design of William Rogers a local nurseryman and councillor was accepted and he was awarded the contract. The cemetery opened in May 1846 as a 10 acres (40,000 m2) site, in the 1860s expanded by 5 acres (20,000 m2) and in the 1880s the third phase with a feature of an avenue of yew trees was added.


The cemetery was opened on 7 May 1846 when the Bishop of Winchester consecrated part of the grounds. A section was left unconsecrated for the "Dissenters" (non-conformists), while another part was provided for the Hebrew community. In 1856, the Roman Catholics were given ground within the cemetery for their use.

Famous incumbents[edit]

Rosas memorial in Southampton Old Cemetery.

The cemetery has 60 headstones associated with the Titanic although no bodies were returned to Southampton.

The exiled Argentine politician, General Rosas was initially buried in Southampton Old Cemetery until his body was exhumed in 1989 and repatriated to the La Recoleta Cemetery in Argentina. His tomb remains as a memorial.[2]

Edward Askew Sothern, Victorian comedy actor, famous as Lord Dundreary in the play Our American Cousin is buried here.

The headstone of the grave of the aviation pioneer, Squadron Leader Edwin Moon, was made from the propeller of the aircraft in which he was killed in 1920.[3]

Moon is one of 125 identified casualties in the cemetery whose graves are registered and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, all from World War I except 15 from World War II. A war graves plot contains the graves of 21 Belgian servicemen.[4]

Charles Rawden Maclean (1815–1880), alias "John Ross" friend of King Shaka and an opponent of slavery, died on board a ship bound for Southampton and was buried in a pauper's grave. On 2 May 2009, the grave was marked with a headstone in a ceremony attended by representatives of his home town, Fraserburgh, and of the Zulu nation.[5]

Charlie Barr (1864–1911), the three times winner of the America's Cup, is also buried in the Cemetery.[6]

There is also a memorial to the RMS Rhone, wrecked off the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands on 29 October 1867 during a hurricane with the loss of over 120 lives.[7] The memorial was badly damaged by vandals in October 2011.[8]

The Robert Pearce family grave is marked by a sculpture depicting the figures of Faith, Hope and Charity, surmounted by a draped urn. The memorial was sculpted by Richard Cockle Lucas from Chilworth and is English Heritage Listed, Grade II.[9]

Listed buildings[edit]

Most of the buildings and some memorials in the cemetery are Grade II listed structures:[10]

  • Former Jewish Mortuary Chapel (now part of a house) (c. 1850)
  • Church of England Mortuary Chapel (c. 1850)
  • Allen Memorial (neo-classical mausoleum dating to about 1900 built of Portland stone ashlar blocks)
  • Lodge (dated 1848 and 1882)
  • Gate piers to eastern gate (c. 1880)
  • Pearce Memorial (erected 1861)
  • Wall fronting Hill Lane (mid-19th century)
  • Gates and gate piers (c. 1880)
  • Nonconformist Mortuary Chapel (c. 1850)
  • Gate piers to north-western gate (mid-19th century)


The cemetery's ecology is managed by the wildlife team from Southampton City Council in conjunction with Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery, a voluntary group who also take guided tours and assist families to maintain graves.


The gravestone of "John Ross" 
Pearce family grave 
Edwin Moon's grave marker 
The grave of Edward Askew Sothern 
Chapel in Southampton Old Cemetery 


  1. ^ "Southampton Town Council meeting". Hampshire Telegraph. 15 November 1841 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ Johnson, Lyman (2004). Death, dismemberment, and memory: body politics in Latin America. United States: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 108–122. ISBN 0-8263-3200-5. 
  3. ^ "Edwin Rowland Moon 1886–1920". Centenary of Flight. Hampshire County Council. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Southampton Old Cemetery: Cemetery Details". CWGC. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "John Ross Memorial". Fraserburgh Heritage Centre. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Charles Barr". Some personalities associated with Southampton. City of Southampton Society. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Southampton: The Old Cemetery". Tripadvisor. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Memorial to Southampton's sailors killed in hurricane vandalised". BBC News. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Blake, Gillian (2008). "Southampton Old Cemetery, Pearce family grave". Parks and Gardens UK. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "Listed Buildings in Southampton" (PDF). Historic Environment Record. Southampton City Council. pp. 46–53. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 

External links[edit]