|East Greenwich Pleasaunce||Greenwich|
East Greenwich Pleasaunce is the former walled burial ground of the old Royal Hospital at Greenwich. The land, a former orchard, was purchased when the Hospital's two burial grounds were becoming full and the new cemetery opened in 1857. In 1875 the bodies of 3000 pensioners were brought here from the old infirmary burial ground when a railway tunnel was cut through the site. In 1926 the burial ground was sold to Greenwich MBC. Railings around the tombstones were removed and part of the ground was landscaped as a park although the gravestones remain in the central area.
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This small park is the former walled burial ground of the Royal Naval pensioners from the old Royal Hospital at Greenwich (q.v.), which was founded in 1694. When its two cemeteries were full in the 1840s, one of which was near the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital and the other near Maze Hill, the Royal Hospital began to look for a site for a new burial ground. It eventually purchased an orchard here and the new cemetery opened in 1857. In 1875 the bodies of 3000 pensioners were brought here from the old infirmary burial ground when a railway tunnel was cut through the site; a plaque on the wall commemorates this and the land is marked with posts in the lawn. Further reburials took place here when the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital was built.
In 1926 the burial ground was sold to Greenwich Metropolitan Borough Council, the Admiralty reserving rights of further burials. The adoption of the name East Greenwich Pleasaunce dates from this time. Railings around the tombstones were removed and part of the ground was landscaped as a park. The gravestones remain in the central area, some hedged with laurel or privet, the west plot having lower orders and the east plot reserved for officers according to naval etiquette. Among those buried are Lieutenant James Berry (d.1930), Curator of the Royal Naval Museum for 17 years; James Shepherd (d.1907) for 18 years Queen Victoria's boatswain's mate on the Royal Yacht 'Victoria and Albert'; Anthony Sampayo, French Ambassador to England; there are also the graves of those who served in the Crimean War and in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The park has a number of fine trees, including holm oak, silver birch, ash, walnut, poplar, weeping birch and an espaliered lime walk around the C19th boundary walls. A tablet on the wall of Chevening Road approaching from Woolwich Road reads 'Greenwich Hospital 1857' and on Woolwich Road is the former gatehouse to the burial ground. A new playground was installed in 2001and in 2003 a new entrance with a short footpath link to Halstow Road was created. East Greenwich Pleasaunce has won a Green Flag Award in 2008-09 and 2010-11.
Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008)