|Old Barnes Cemetery||Richmond|
In 1854 a plot of land in the north-east corner of Barnes Common was enclosed to provide an additional burial ground for St Mary's Barnes, whose churchyard had become overcrowded. The cemetery was laid out with paths, a chapel was built and it was in use until the mid-1950s, with many artists and writers among those buried. After it closed to burials, it was taken over in 1966 by Richmond Borough Council who intended to turn it into a lawn cemetery. The chapel and lodge were demolished, and the boundary railings removed. It was badly vandalised over the ensuing years and many of the headstones broken. The Council has now declared it a nature reserve and it is effectively part of Barnes Common.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2009
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Old Barnes Cemetery, June 2009. Photo S Williams
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In the mid-C19th, the parish churchyard of St Mary's Barnes (q.v.) was overcrowded and in 1854 permission was granted by the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's, Lord of the Manor, for a 2-acre plot in the north-east corner of Barnes Common (q.v.) to be enclosed for a new parish cemetery. The land was bought for £10 with a further £1,400 spent on a chapel and landscaping. Around 3,000 burials took place here up until the mid 1950s, by which time the cemetery was full. Those buried here include a number of artists and writers such as Alexander Finberg (d.1939) an artist and art historian who was an authority on J M W Turner who had lived in the area; the architect Charles Innes (d.1907) who designed St Michael's Church in Barnes and rebuilt much of the parish church; Augustus Mayhew (d.1875) novelist and brother of Henry Mayhew best-known as the author of 'London Labour and the London Poor'; Francis Palgrave (d.1897) who compiled the 'Golden Treasury' of poetry; Henry Pickersgill (d.1875), portrait painter; Edward Williams (d.1855), landscape artist nicknamed 'Moonlight Williams' due to his use of moonlit effects, together with his son H J Williams also a landscape painter. The Hedgman monument commemorates a family of local benefactors.
Following the closure of the cemetery to burials, it was taken over from the church in 1966 by Richmond Borough Council who intended to turn it into a lawn cemetery. The chapel and lodge were demolished, and the boundary railings removed, but some of the fine trees survive. The Barnes and Mortlake History Society has a map of graves and a list of the tombstone inscriptions that were legible when the list was prepared in the 1960s. However the cemetery was badly vandalised over the ensuing years and many of the headstones were broken. Richmond Council has declared it a nature reserve but although some clearing up was carried out it remains neglected, and it is effectively part of Barnes Common. No boundaries appear to exist and the atmospheric cemetery is encountered through the woodland of the common, its graves and tombstones hidden away among the vegetation, although some paths have been recreated.
Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); John Archer, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Richmond upon Thames, Ecology Handbook 21', (London Ecology Unit) 1993 p60; Barnes Common 32 and Mill Hill 14 Conservation Area Study, LB Richmond, 2007