The cemetery was created in late 1510s to bury the victims of the plagueepidemic of 1517-18. To avoid spreading the disease, city authorities decided to build the cemetery at some distance from the city, so St. Rochus is located outside the old city wall. The cemetery was finally consecrated on 21 March 1519. St. Rochus Chapel (Rochuskapelle), a small chapel, was built in 1520–21. The architect was Hans Beheim the Elder, who also built a chapel for Johannisfriedhof, another old Nuremberg cemetery.