Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
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Carlisle (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 39045 54170


A cemetery laid out in 1855 with offices, chapels, and lodges designed J W H & J M Hay of Liverpool. A mixture of formal and informal mature planting contributes to the character of the site.


Carlisle Joint Burial Board purchased land on Spital Moor in 1854 and a plan was prepared by the City Surveyor, Hugh McKie in 1855 (Perriam, nd). Lodges and chapels were erected in 1855-6 to the designs of J W H & J M Hay. The cost was £14,000. The site was extended to the south of the Fairy Beck in 1885-7 (Brooks 1989) and again to the south in the mid to late-C20.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING The cemetery is situated c 1.5km south-west of the centre of Carlisle in a residential area bordering agricultural land. The c 29ha site is on an approximately rectangular plot of land on each side of the valley of the Fairy Beck which runs east/west across the site. The northern boundary is formed by a brick wall alongside Richardson Street, formerly with cast-iron railings. These have been reinstated beside the main entrance. The wall continues on the west side of the site along Dalston Road. The south-west side of the site is divided from the grounds of the mid-C20 crematorium (not included in the registered area) by a beech hedge. Iron railings divide the southern boundary from agricultural land, and a brick wall on the east side borders agricultural land and housing. Principal views are internal, along axial paths leading across the Fairy Beck, and to and from the entrances.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The principal entrance is at the centre of the north boundary off Richardson Street where the former curator's house and offices (listed grade II) are ranged on either side of an archway. Another entrance with a gate and gate piers (listed grade II) and a lodge (listed grade II) lies c 300m south-west of the main entrance on Dalston Road. A pedestrian entrance with stone gate piers lies c 250m south of this, also on Dalston Road, giving access to the late-C19 part of the site. The cemetery can also be entered from Carlisle Crematorium, which lies on the south-west side of the site and is not included in the registered area.

OTHER LAND The main entrance leads to the earlier, mid-C19 part of the cemetery laid out with a system of paths consisting of a central pattern of axial paths about the two chapels which is flanked by areas of less formal curving paths to the east and west linked together by a curving perimeter path. The entrance arch on the north boundary frames a view of the central axial path leading south flanked by an avenue of clipped yews with flower beds alongside it. On the east side of the entrance buildings there are greenhouses, shown on the 1901 OS map, presumably used to raise plants for the ornamental flower beds. The central path leads to a point where paths, also with avenues of clipped yews and flower beds, lead west to the Nonconformist chapel (listed grade II) and east to the Anglican chapel (listed grade II). These are in Early English style, of red brick with stone dressings, and have bellcotes. A path continues west from the Nonconformist chapel to the entrance on Dalston Road flanked by a lime avenue. On the south-west side of the Anglican chapel, two sweet chestnut trees, left in situ, were carved with figures of a squirrel and an owl by Linda Watson in 1996-7. A north/south route runs as a terrace immediately east of the Anglican chapel. This overlooks a lower area to the east, reached by steps down the slope, which has been developed as a wildflower area from the late-C20. A curving oval path around this area is shown on the C19 and C20 maps crossed by axial paths with circuses, but the paths have been partially obscured by long grass. This part of the cemetery includes a pauper burial area and has relatively few memorials.

The land falls to the south and the Fairy Beck from the platform occupied by the chapels and there are long views southwards down the axial paths to the Beck and rising land beyond. The Beck is crossed by three bridges, the central one of stone with a stone parapet and the other two with cast-iron railings. These lead into the later C19 part of the cemetery which lies on land rising to the south from the Beck. A curving perimeter path is linked to a central east/west spine by cross routes, some of which are flanked by avenues. The main spine path is broad with generous grass verges backed by informal planting of mature trees, mainly yews and other evergreens.

Both parts of the cemetery have a good range of Victorian memorials, the most striking of which was designed in 1855 by R W Billings, to commemorate the architect Peter Nicholson (listed grade II), which lies c 20m west of the Anglican chapel. The whole of the site is planted with informal groups of mature trees, mainly evergreens, with native broadleaf varieties and some exotics such as Wellingtonia and Araucaria. The 1901 OS map shows perimeter planting only, though the treatment on the map may be schematic as the maturity of the planting suggests that much of it could be mid or late-C19 in origin. There is an ongoing scheme of new planting.

The southernmost part of the site, immediately south of the later C19 section, occupies an area of c 3.25ha and was laid out on a grid in the mid to late-C20. It includes a woodland burial area planted with young oak trees on the south-west perimeter; this was established in the late-C20 and is divided from the main part of the cemetery by a bank and hedge.


Brooks C, Mortal Remains (1989), 129 Perriam D R, Carlisle: an illustrated history (1992), 58 Brooks C, English Historic Cemeteries, (English Heritage theme study 1994), 73 Carlisle Cemetery a Walker's Guide, guide leaflet, (Carlisle City Council 1998)

Maps OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1901 OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1901 3rd edition published 1925

Archival items Denis Perriam, handwritten notes (nd), (Carlisle Local History Library) List of newspaper references, typescript (nd), (Carlisle Local History Library)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Dalston Road Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Dalston Road Cemetery is a good example of an early High Victorian (1855) public cemetery for a provincial town in formal style by the City Surveyor, Hugh McKie, complimented by a late C19 extension in similar style (1880s). * The Gothic structures, designed by local architects J W H & J M Hay, form a notable ensemble and include offices, lodges and chapels. * The cemetery layout and structures survive intact, with notable survival of C19 planting including evergreen trees and shrubs. * Social interest is expressed in an artistically rich variety of C19 monuments including many Carlisle worthies and a pauper burial area with few monuments.

Description written: September 2001 Amended: November 2001 Register Inspector: CEH 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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