Cemetery, ©Kevin Brewer

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Friends of Malvern's Cemeteries

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The Malvern area has several graveyards and cemeteries still in use. Graveyards are attached to particular churches and are controlled by the ecclesiastical authorities. Public cemeteries are the responsibility of local parish councils. There are two cemeteries in the Malvern area - Malvern Wells in Green Lane and Great Malvern in Wilton Road. These, like hundreds of other municipal cemeteries, were established after government legislation in the 1850's made the process of burial cheaper and easier. 

 

Great Malvern cemetery was planned on a former clay pit. The Cheltenham architect W.H. Knight was employed to design the lay-out with chapels, driveways and fine trees. He provided two chapels, (Non-Conformist rather plain and Anglican more ornate,) in Gothic style, linked by an archway with an impressive tower and spire, and a neat lodge, recording on its date stone the year the cemetery was opened - 1861. Later a monumental gateway and small mortuary chapel were added. The cemetery is roughly divided into "old" (pre-1950) and "new" areas; and it now extends to the Madresfield Road. It provides a wonderful resource for studying the history of the town. Amongst over 15,000 burials which it contains, are memorials to many of the people who were responsible for the development of Malvern - builders, architects, water-cure doctors, clergymen, shopkeepers, businessmen, solicitors, policemen, railwaymen, artists, musicians, sportsmen, soldiers, sailors, schoolteachers and many more. 

 

It was to help record and safeguard this rich resource that the Friends of Malvern's Cemeteries group was established in 2011. Realistically, with limited resources, it has had to limit its effort to the older graves in Great Malvern Cemetery, but progress has been made in several ways: 

  • A recording group, led by Carleton Tarr and including Audrey James, Valerie Greenwood, Roger Sutton and assisted by Brian Iles with his encyclopaedic knowledge of Malvern, has copied the inscriptions of many of the stones and is now checking them against records at the cemetery and digital records held at the Hive in Worcester. 

  • Photographs have been taken by Christopher Turner and have been collated by James Gilmer. 

  • Noteworthy graves have been renovated. The Society supported Worcestershire Cricket Club and Malvern College in renovating the graves of the famous cricketing Foster family in 2014. The Jenny Lind Society of Stockholm has almost completed the renovation of the grave of the "Swedish Nightingale", probably the most important grave in the cemetery. Malvern Town council has organised a new stone for Henry Ward, the Indian Mutiny Victoria Cross holder. The renovation of other graves is planned. 

  • The Friends are trying to publicise the cemetery to the general public. A booklet has been produced and walks to visit the more interesting graves have been organised. 

There is still much to do. Further volunteers would be much appreciated, as would any information about people buried in the cemetery. Please contact Brian Iles for more information or if you would like to offer help or assistance with this project..

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Cemetery, ©Malvern Civic Society

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