BEDWORTH CEMETERY (COVENTRY ROAD CEMETERY)
- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Nuneaton and Bedworth (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SP 35857 86770
A late-C19 cemetery laid out to the design of George Taylor of Coventry.
A portion of land on Bedworth Heath had been set aside for the formation of a new burial ground at the time of the Enclosure in 1769. This site remained unused and when a Burial Board for the town was established in May 1872 it was decided that a more convenient site should be sought. Several sites were inspected in June 1872, and finally, in early January 1873 it was agreed to purchase land comprising pasture and paddocks (Tithe map, 1841) belonging to James Darlington which lay immediately south of the existing churchyard and churchyard extension. The Board obtained a loan of £3650 from the Public Works Loan Commissioners, which, together with the proceeds of the sale of the 6 acre (c 2.5ha) allotment on Bedworth Heath, was applied to the purchase and laying out of the new cemetery (Burial Board Minutes, May 1872-January 1873).
On 29 September 1873 the Board invited George Taylor, architect and surveyor of 26 Trinity Churchyard, Coventry (Kelly's Directory) to provide plans and specifications for an entrance lodge and chapel, and the general laying out of the grounds. The plans produced the following month were accepted, with the amendment that the Nonconformist chapel should be built in brick rather than iron as first proposed. It was agreed that the proximity of the parish church removed the necessity for providing an Anglican chapel. A contract worth £1620 for the construction was awarded to Charles Hayward of Coventry. While this initial contract excluded planting and other works such as the provision of iron fencing which was to be obtained from Messrs Brookes & Co of Wolverhampton, a further £90 was paid to Hayward in November 1875 for planting trees and shrubs (Minutes). The cemetery was consecrated on 5 November 1874, with only half of the ground being brought into use to avoid a scatter of monuments throughout the site.
The first superintendent, appointed in October 1874, was Daniel Bosworth (1848-1903), who had previously served as gardener to Charles Trepplin at Green Hayes (later known as Wootton Court), near Warwick. In November 1874 Mr Croft and the Rev Howman were requested by the Board to obtain 'what further trees and shrubs are required to complete the planting' (Minutes), but in reality it seems that it was Bosworth who was responsible for the development of the cemetery. Thus in March 1876 Bosworth was authorised to spend twenty shillings per annum on seeds, while Messrs Perkins of Coventry were paid £9-10-6 for shrubs (Minutes). The Minutes reveal further horticultural work including ornamental planting around the entrance gates in 1876, and the construction of greenhouses in 1878. Bosworth was succeeded as superintendent by his son, Gilbert (d 1935), and his grandson, Ernest (d 1949), ensuring continuity of development for seventy-five years.
In the mid-C20 the Nonconformist chapel was demolished, while c 1980 the lodge, glasshouses, and service area were also cleared to make way for the construction of a police station which now adjoins the cemetery to the north-east. Today (2001) the cemetery is closed for new burials with the exception of cremated remains; it continues to be municipal property.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Bedworth Cemetery is situated c 250m south-west of the centre of the town of Bedworth, to the north-west of the B4113, Coventry Road. The c 3ha site is approximately triangular-shaped, and is bounded to the south-east by Coventry Road, from which its is separated by a late-C19 blue-brick wall which was formerly surmounted by late-C19 railings supplied by Messrs Brookes & Co of Wolverhampton; these were removed in the mid C20 but brick supporting piers surmounted by stone copings survive. The wall is now backed by a mixed hawthorn and privet hedge. To the north-east the cemetery is adjoined by a late C20 police station and health centre on the site of the late-C19 cemetery lodge, parish clerk's office, and parochial school (OS 1887). To the north the site is bounded by the graveyard associated with the parish church of All Saints, from which it is separated by late-C19 spiked metal railings set on a low blue-brick wall. The wall and railings continue west along the north-west boundary of the site, separating it from Church Walk, a footpath which leads east from Park Road to the parish church. The cemetery is bounded to the west by domestic properties on the east side of Park Road, from whose gardens it is separated by late-C19 spiked metal railings and a mature holly hedge. The site is generally level with views north-east to the tower of the parish church, and south-east to Coventry Road.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The principal entrance to the cemetery is from Coventry Road at a point c 130m south of the parish church. The entrance is flanked by blue-brick quadrant walls surmounted by late C20 low wrought-iron railings, and is marked by late-C20 blue-brick piers which support a pair of late C20 wrought-iron gates. A substantial late-C19 gabled brick lodge stood to the north-west of the entrance. Designed by George Taylor and built by Charles Hayward, the lodge was demolished in the late-C20 when the police station was constructed and the north-east boundary of the cemetery realigned slightly to the south-west of its original line.
A further entrance from Coventry Road is situated c 130m south-west of the principal entrance. A pair of mid-C20 metal gates are supported by two low blue-brick piers surmounted by stone saddle copings. At the north-east corner of the site a pair of C19 cast-iron gates with spiked rails are supported by late-C20 red-brick piers surmounted by ball finials; the Church Entrance leads directly from the cemetery to the graveyard associated with the parish church. From the graveyard a walk leads west to a gateway giving access to Church Walk. A late-C19 entrance at the north-west corner of the site giving access on to Church Walk has been blocked, the blue-brick dwarf wall and late-C19 iron railings being continued across the former entrance. This alteration to Taylor's original plan appears to have been made in the late C19, perhaps to increase security, as in August 1876 the Minutes record that shrubs had been broken and flower roots stolen as a result of this gate being left open.
OTHER LAND Bedworth Cemetery is laid out with a series of curvilinear drives and walks which enclose approximately triangular- and elliptical-shaped areas of burial ground planted with a wide range of mature specimen trees and conifers and ornamental shrubs. A broad promenade parallel to the western boundary of the site, and serpentine walks parallel to the northern boundary and linking the south-east entrance and the Church Entrance to the north-east, connect the curvilinear walks.
A wide tarmac drive leads west from the principal or north-east entrance. To the north the drive is flanked by ornamental shrubbery, while to the south it is bordered by an area of lawns and a geometric flower bed for seasonal planting. The lawn forms the setting for a war memorial in the form of a tall stepped spire ornamented with crocketted finials; the memorial was inaugurated in 1920 (inscription). To the west of the war memorial is an area of mixed specimen trees and conifers including cypresses, monkey-puzzle, beech, and limes; this area was planted by Bosworth in 1876 (Minutes, November 1876). Some 30m west-north-west of the entrance the drive divides to enclose a triangular-shaped area, the eastern apex of which forms a large triangular bed for seasonal planting. To the west is a group of late-C19 and early-C20 monuments including three pedestals surmounted by draped urns; the monuments are set among mature specimen trees and conifers.
One branch of the drive sweeps north-west for c 65m, passing to the west of a late-C20 service yard which replaces the late-C19 glasshouses and service areas lost when the police station was built. A late-C20 area for the interment of cremated remains has been developed to the north-east of this drive. The north-west drive joins the serpentine walk which leads north through the site linking the south-east entrance and the Church Entrance. A further serpentine walk leads c 120m west from the Church Entrance to the northern end of the promenade parallel to the western boundary of the cemetery, linking two curvilinear walks which pass south through the centre of the site. The serpentine walk forms the northern boundary of a triangular area of lawn c 65m south-west of the Church Entrance which is planted with mature specimen conifers and a specimen weeping ash; this tree was probably the one planted in 1884 (Order Book), and adjoins the Clark family grave with fine late-C19 wrought-iron kerb rails.
The western promenade comprises a wide tarmac walk flanked by grass verges planted with ornamental shrubs, and an informal avenue of mixed ornamental trees and conifers including copper beech, cypress, and Irish yew. To the north-west the promenade is bordered by a late-C20 area for the interment of cremated remains, while to the south-west and south-east of the walk early-C20 funerary monuments are set on the grass verges. There are views from the promenade east across the cemetery; these are framed by mature mixed specimen trees, conifers, and shrubs planted among the funerary monuments on the elliptical-shaped plots enclosed by the curvilinear walks. At its southern end the promenade sweeps north-east and extends c 70m to reach the south-east entrance from Coventry Road. From this entrance a serpentine walk extends c 225m north through the site to the Church Entrance. The walk is partly planted with mid-C20 specimen flowering cherries, and passes to the south-east of the site of the Nonconformist chapel. To the east of the walk late-C19 pines and mature oaks, some probably predating the construction of the cemetery, partly screen the site from Coventry Road. Some 20m north-east of the site of the chapel is a further group of late-C19 specimen trees including copper beech and silver limes. To the south-east of the junction of the serpentine walk with a walk leading north-east towards the principal entrance, a black granite headstone commemorates Daniel Bosworth, first superintendent of the cemetery, together with his son and grandson who succeeded him in that office.
The site of the Nonconformist chapel c 100m south-west of the principal or north-east entrance is today a level lawn surrounded to the east, south, and west by mixed evergreen shrubbery. The chapel was designed by George Taylor in 1873 and formed part of the initial scheme for the site; it was constructed in brick rather than iron as initially proposed by Taylor (Minutes, 28 September 1873). To the north of the site of the chapel is a group of significant late C19 monuments, including a black and red granite pedestal enclosed within chains supported on cast-iron bollards commemorating the Smith family (1878), an obelisk in memory of the Bunney family (1883), and the Garrett spire monument (1889).
Kelly's Directory for Warwickshire (1872) J Burton (ed), Bedworth in Old Photographs (1988), 119-20 Warwickshire Register Review Part II, (English Heritage 1997), 217-19
Maps Tithe map for Bedworth parish, 1841 (DR225/87), (Warwickshire County Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1886, published 1886 1938 edition OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1904 3rd edition published 1914 1925 edition 1938 edition
Archival items Minutes of the Bedworth Burial Board, 1872-98 (CR1566/257), (Warwickshire County Record Office) Bedworth Cemetery Order Book 1875-1902 (CR3208), (Warwickshire County Record Office)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Bedworth Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Bedworth Cemetery is a good example of a late Victorian garden cemetery (1873). * The cemetery was designed by the Coventry architect George Taylor. * The planting of the cemetery was largely undertaken by the first Superintendent, Daniel Bosworth, who was succeeded in that role by his son and grandson (d. 1949). * The curvilinear layout of the cemetery and the high standard of planting ensure that the level site is skilfully exploited to maximum effect. * The layout of the cemetery survives substantially intact apart from the loss of the Nonconformist Chapel and the lodge (Taylor, 1873). * The cemetery contains a good collection of funerary monuments which reflect the development of Bedworth as a mining town in the late-C19 and early-C20.
Description written: August 2001 Amended: October 2001 Register Inspector: JML Edited: December 2009
This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 25 July 2017.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
- Parks and Gardens
War Memorials Online, accessed 17 January 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/246775
War Memorials Register, accessed 25 July 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/72749
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