Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
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Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bedford (Unitary Authority)
Bedford (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 05004 51312


A mid-C19 cemetery, laid out in picturesque style and opened in 1855.


Opened in 1855, the cemetery was established by Bedford Joint Burial Board. The original 8ha site was doubled in size in 1885.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Bedford Cemetery lies on the northern side of the town, occupying the sloping hillside of Foster's Hill, immediately above and to the north of Bedford Park (qv), with views over Bedford and the Great Ouse Valley. The 14ha cemetery is divided from the park by metal railings and a yew hedge. The boundary to the west is a wide footpath known as Cemetery Hill. To the north and east late-C20 housing is separated from the cemetery by a landscaped strip with footpath. The area was extended slightly at the north-east corner in the 1980s.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main entrance to the cemetery lies at the south-west corner of the site, marked by a red-brick Gothic entrance lodge and carriage arch (c 1855).

OTHER LAND A path winds north-east up from the entrance lodge and carriage arch to the paired, stone lancet chapels (c 1855), set end-to-end and linked by a porte-cochère with tower. These buildings, by Thomas Jobson Jackson of Bedford, form the focus of the design, the layout of the ground also being by Jackson, assisted by John Usher. A stone crematorium (1955) stands north of the chapels.

From the chapels, which stand to the south-west of the centre of the site, winding paths provide access through and round the ground.

The cemetery is well planted with a range of specimen trees and shrubs, predominantly evergreens. There are a number of monuments of quality to leading C19 Bedford citizens. North-east of the chapels the Wyatt family enclosure, railed and gated, contains a good selection of Victorian memorial types, including the tomb of James Wyatt (d 1878), the founder of the Bedford Times, who secured the land for the cemetery. There have been a few areas of clearance.


Brooks C, Mortal Remains (1989), 123 Brooks C, English Historic Cemeteries (theme study for English Heritage 1994)

Maps OS 6" to 1 mile: 1912 edition, revised 1924

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Bedord Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * A good example of an early High Victorian (1855) public cemetery for a provincial town in informal Picturesque style by the local architect Thomas Jobson Jackson of Bedford, complimented by a late-C19 extension in similar style (1885). * The Gothic structures, also by Jobson, form a notable ensemble and include offices, mortuary, lodge, gatehouse and chapels. * Social interest is expressed in an artistic variety of C19 monuments including many Bedford worthies notably the Wyatt family enclosure, railed and gated, contains a good selection of Victorian memorial types, including the tomb of James Wyatt (d 1878), the founder of the Bedford Times, who secured the land for the cemetery. * The cemetery layout and structures survive intact, with notable survival of C19 planting including evergreen trees and shrubs.

Description written: February 1999 Amended: April 1999 Register Inspector: SR Edited: December 2009


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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